For as much as kids love long summer days at the pool, even the ones born with gills eventually tire of diving for pennies, debuting new dives and ducking from kids pretending to be blind Venetian explorers. So why not let them (and yourself) play a new-fangled version of cornhole that puts the hole on floats? Or control an R/C manta ray that twists, turns and dives through the chlorinated caverns? Or play catch with a neutrally buoyant watermelon ball? All of those options and more are listed here. Because summer days shouldn’t be spent searching for old pennies, here are the best pool toys and games for kids.
Much as soon-to-be backyard sensation Chippo Golf is cornhole with golf clubs, Chuck-O splash is cornhole for the pool. Same classic bean-bag backyard game, just with plastic/foam boards that float away as you toss the bag.
If you’ve ever played Kan Jam ⏤ or, well, even if you haven’t ⏤ you get the gist of this frisbee pool game. Th goal: toss three foam discs into the slots on the giant inflatable buoy. Or throw it close enough to let your partner slam it into the hole at the top. You can shoot from the yard, the pool deck, the water — it doesn’t matter. Just get it in the hole.
Swim Along Manta Ray
The cool thing about this submergible Manta Ray pool toy — other than that won’t sting anybody — is that the remote control is also waterproof (up to three feet) ⏤ so you can control it while swimming underwater. The Manta can dive up to eight feet deep and uses thrusters to glide, barrel roll, and perform underwater loops. It glows phosphorescent thanks to three LEDs and the battery gets about 30 minutes on a single charge.
Toypedo Bandits are five-inch, colored torpedos that kids throw underwater and then chase down. Simple as that. Sleek and lightweight, the pool toys reportedly glide up to 20 feet and are emblazoned with numbers so kids can keep score. They come four to a pack and cost $5.
SwimWays Flood Force Water Cannon
Hand splashing? Pffft. This cannon is the ultimate pool toy gun. With its butt submerged in the water and the hand crank spun, it unleashes a continuous — and very thick — stream of water. Enemies run away? No worries. The Force’s reservoir easily plugs up so you can take water on-the-go for some running and gunning. Just keep an eye on the pool in question’s chlorine levels — it’s all fun in games until a kid gets blasted in the eye with over-chlorinated water.
Essentially, it’s the pool game “Greased Watermelon” but without the grease, or the watermelon to eat after everyone’s out of the pool. The inflatable melon ball is made of a durable vinyl and, when filled with a combination of water and air, is neutrally buoyant ⏤ so it won’t sink or float. Which also means it can be passed 10 feet under water and dribbled like a basketball. The game itself combines elements of basketball, rugby, or football — just underwater.
Inflatable Battle Board Floats
The beauty of these Battle Board fighter rafts ⏤ each of which is mounted with automatically refilling water cannons ⏤ is that they keep two kids (four years and older) occupied at once. They can either battle one another for pool supremacy or join forces to attack unwitting poolstanders. The pool toys are made of heavy-duty vinyl, measure 4.5-feet long, and come two to a pack.