It doesn’t feel like summer until the kids play in the water in the backyard. Somehow, the cool refreshing water reminds us to slow down and enjoy the lazy summer days. And it doesn’t hurt that my kids love to play in the water for hours (which I love because it means they aren’t on an electronic device or getting into mischief).
For our family, nothing has been a better investment than water toys for kids. We apply sunscreen to everyone, inflate the plastic swimming pools for kids, and fill them with water. The kids have a great time splashing through the water, sliding into the water, and using the pools to fill up their water guns as part of their water play. This is a great way to keep kids active while having fun in your outdoor space.
Of course, you need to always supervise your child as they play in a pool, and make sure they know any safety guidelines you feel are appropriate. What can you do to find the best fit for your family? Let’s take a look.
How to Choose the Right Kiddie Pool for Your Family
- Pick the right size for your family and outdoor space. These pools come in a variety of dimensions, so make sure you’ll have enough room for the one you choose. Likewise, if you have a young child you may want to select a pool with a shallow capacity.
- Check the details. Does the pool you like require a pump to fill, and if so, what kind of pump? Are there repair patches or additional plugs included? Do you want a pool that can be packed up and taken to other locations easily? Do I have a hose to use with a pool’s sprinkler feature?
- Test it when it arrives. Many of these options are inflatable, and occasionally punctures can occur while in transport. Plan ahead if you hope to use your pool for an event, and check your pool for leaks or troublesome plugs when you first use it. If there’s an issue, report it the seller right away, and the seller is typically prompt in sending a replacement (or possibly refunding you).
Here are our fourteen top options for kiddie pools. Please note that none of these pools are of the thin plastic shell variety. While those are widely available at local stores and often a reliable option, they are difficult to ship to individual houses if ordering online, and they lack many of the features available in the section below.
|Intex Dinosaur Pool Center|
|Intex Pirate Pool|
|Candy Zone Play Center|
|Inflatable Unicorn Pool|
|Intex Sunset Glow Pool|
|Homech Inflatable Swimming Pool|
|Hamburger Kiddie Pool|
|Intex Crystal Blue Inflatable Pool|
|Step 2 Play and Shade Pool|
|Snorkel Buddies Snapset Pool|
|Pop-Up Frog Travel Pool|
|Peradix Pop Up Paddling Pool|
|Jasonwell Splash Pad Pool|
|SplashEZ Splash Pad|
Themed and Play Center Pools with Slides
If you are looking for cool pools for kids, these options are for you. They have fun colors and themes as well as great features including spraying water and slides.
1. Intex Dinosaur Inflatable Pool Center
For an absolutely “prehistoric” summer of fun, check out this Dinosaur pool! The tree sprayer and waterfall will keep kids, ages two and up, giggling and hurrying back for more. The features on this are so cute, with an open mouthed dinosaur, a palm tree and waterfall, and a slide.
Use an electric pump to blow up this water park for young kids and have it ready in just a few minutes. Connect your garden hose to the unit and water will come shooting out of the tree and waterfall.
This pool for toddlers has a 57 gallon capacity and comes with a drain plug to drain the water when your child is finished playing. At 98″ long x 75″ wide x 43″ tall, this unit does take up quite a bit of space, but it’s a favorite among kids ages 2-5. It also includes a repair patch.
2. Intex Pirate Pool
Ahoy, matey! Set sail with this fun pirate water pool for kids. Kids ages 2-6 will have a great time splashing and playing in this pirate themed option.
Made of heavy duty vinyl, this inflatable water play center can withstand even the harshest crew. It comes with a repair patch as well.
Set up is easy; inflate the air chambers using a manual pump. Then connect a hose to fill the pool and spray water. With a 58 gallon capacity, this pool is a good size for younger kids. It comes with a cannon that shoots 6 included balls. Kids also love the inflatable swords that are included as well.
When your kids are finished playing, simply pull on the drain plug to empty the water.
This is a great choice for outdoor water play. Kids love the pirate adventure with this one.
3. Intex Candy Zone Play Center
This pool goes above and beyond to invite hours of play for children. It features a slide with two inflatable and removable lollipops, bubble gum and candy cane-striped decorations, and six balls with rails to slide the balls along. The water sprayer will keep your child coasting merrily down the slide, and the additional padding at the bottom will ensure a safe landing.
Due to the many air chambers and separate pieces, it is much easier to inflate this play center with a pump. Designed for children ages 2 to 10 years old, your whole family will surely think this kiddie pool is “totally sweet”.
4. Intex Mystic Unicorn Inflatable Spray Pool
This magically fun pool offers some unique traits. Designed for children ages 2-6, the unicorn features are large and but are on the outside of the main pool ring, leaving plenty of room for the water play. It looks like it will most comfortably fit two to three children at the same time and has a sprinkler feature that works by attaching a hose. It’s sturdy and holds up well under lots of playtime.
This pool does come with a repair patch and requires a pump to inflate. If you want a kiddie pool with maximum impact without too many parts, this unicorn pool is a perfect fit! This can double well as a swim floatie in a regular pool, so it can be a multi-tasking member of the family!
Basic Pools for Kids
Sometimes you need just a basic inflatable water pool for kids. The options in this category are the typical kiddie pools with no frills.
5. Intex Summer Sunset Glow Pool
If you are looking for a basic kiddie pool at a good price, check out the Intex Summer Sunset Glow. This colorful option measures 58″ in diameter x 13″ tall. It’s a great size for young kids.
Made of a durable vinyl material, this pool for toddlers has a padded bottom, which makes it less slippery than other options. This means your child is safer playing in this pool.
You can pump up this pool either with your mouth or with a manual pump. Either way, pumping up this pool is fairly quick.
The water capacity of this unit is about 79 gallons. Like most basic backyard kiddie pools, the Summer Sunset Glow does not have a drain plug for the water. To empty the pool, simply put pressure on the side of the pool and the water will flow out.
6. Homech Inflatable Swimming Pool
If you are looking for something bigger that can accommodate an entire family, the Homech pool is a great choice. Fitting up to 2 adults and 4 kids, this pool measures 95″ long x 55″ wide x 22″ tall. It has a 162 gallon capacity.
Made of durable, BPA-free 0.4mm thick PVC, this great backyard toy for kids offers many hours of use. It has 3 separate air chambers and can easily be inflate with an electric pump within 3-4 minutes.
One of the best features of this outdoor water toy is that is has a 90 degree drain pipe to empty the water out. Just pull the plug and let the water drain out. No more baling out water or trying to tip the entire pool over!
Along with the pool comes 2 repair patches in case you need them. It also has a 1-year warranty.
This is a great large kiddie pool that will last the test of time.
7. BigMouth Inc. Inflatable Hamburger Kiddie Pool
Rather than a “kiddie” pool, I like to call this a “foodie” pool! This inflatable comes with hamburger, watermelon, or frosted donut designs. At five feet wide, there’s lots of room for kiddos and maybe even a parent or two to join in on cooling off!
This pool can be a hit for themed parties. It’s also about a foot and a half tall when inflated, which invites extra fun for older children comfortable with the depth. Bear in mind that the seller recommends an air mattress pump to inflate this pool!
This pool is similar in strength and design to other inflatable pools out there, but the design offers a touch of whimsy that sets it apart and will set your little ones giggling! It is also deep enough that your kids could practice swimming underwater with their swim goggles.
8. Intex Crystal Blue Inflatable Pool
Toddlers love the Intex Crystal Blue baby pool. This tot-size vessel can be used either for swimming or as a ball pit. At 45″ in diameter and 10″ tall, this is a good size for very young kids but probably not for older kids. It has a capacity of 62 gallons.
This inflatable swimming pool for kids is one of the least expensive choice on this list. However, it is also one of the lowest quality. It does come with a repair patch. The bottom of this pool is smooth and can become slippery.
To inflate, blow into the valve by mouth or use a hand pump.
There is no drain plug with this product. To empty out the water, either push in on the side of the pool or turn it over and dump the water.
While the Crystal Blue is a decent choice, the Summer Sunset Glow is a better bang for your buck.
9. Step 2 Play and Shade Pool
With the greatest longevity, this classic pool from Step 2 is a great option for young children! It’s constructed of sturdy hard plastic, comes with an umbrella to set up as a shade, and has two molded seats. Textured plastic at the bottom will help little ones to keep their footing.
Plus, some fun toys are included: funnel cups and a wheel that children will delight to set spinning over and over again. These can be attached to the umbrella pole too, for additional variety. Of course, this small swimming pool for kids will require a larger storage space because it doesn’t fold up, so take that into consideration if you are interested in this.
There’s also no plug to drain the water, so it will have to be tipped over to empty after play. This makes a great backyard gift for your kids.
10. Intex Snorkel Buddies Snapset Pool
This water pool for kids takes me back to my childhood. The Intex Snorkel Buddies Snapset Pool measures 60″ in diameter and 10″ high. Set up couldn’t be simpler. Just unroll the pool, spread it out, and fill it with water. When not in use, simply roll it up and store.
With a water capacity of 119 gallons, your kid will have plenty of water to play in. While the manufacturer recommends this product for kids ages 3 and older, we recommend it for 5 and older.
In order for the sides of this pool to stay up, it has to be filled nearly to the top. Otherwise water will be leaking out and kids won’t be happy. Such a full pool can be a safety risk for younger kids. As with all bodies of water, be sure to watch your kids carefully when using this pool.
Compared to others on the list, the Intex Snorkel Buddies is lower quality. It does come with a repair kit.
Pop Up Swimming Pools for Toddlers
If space or portability are concerns, consider a pop up pool. These products essentially set themselves up and fold up small for easy storage. They can also double as ball pits.
11. Pop-Up Frog Travel Pool
While this option is mostly practical, the playful frog shade turns it into a hilarious play place for your 1 or 2-year-old. Best of all, this kiddie pool is designed to be easily portable, and can be used as a secure water play area for infants who can sit independently.
This pool pop up comes with a storage bag to make your travels with it easier, and when filled can hold up to six inches of water. With the shade, your little one can be protected from harsh sun exposure while happily staying out of sandy waves. It can be tricky to figure out how to put it away in its storage bag, but there are youtube videos that will make it easier.
12. Peradix Pop Up Paddling Pool
For a toddler pool that’s easy to put together, consider the Peradix Pop Up Pool. Take it out of the package, undo the clasps, and the pool pops up ready to go. Attach the canopy and basketball hoop with clasps and velcro and your little one is ready for some fun in the water.
Made of 100% recyclable PVC, this pop up pool is safe as well for your child. You can fit up to 2 kids, ages 5 or under in this pool.
Not only is it easy to assemble, the Peradix Pop Up is easily disassembled and stored in the included carrying case. That makes it easy to take this pool with you to the beach, grandma’s house, or anywhere else. You could even use this indoors and remove the sunshade canopy.
The basketball hoop adds another fun option. This ball pool for kids can be used as a ball pit, a pool, or both at once. No balls come with this product; they have to be purchased separately.
This pool comes with a 1-year warranty.
Splash Pad Pools for Kids
Splash pads are a favorite among kids around the world. Add a pool to the splash pad and you have a huge parenting win. These splash pad/ pool combos are easy to set up and fold up small for storage.
13. Jasonwell Splash Pad Pool
The Splash Pad Pool from Jasonwell is a great option for younger kids. A combination of a splash pad and a shallow pool for kids, this option measures 60″ in diameter.
Set up is quick and easy. Just connect the pool to a hose and turn it on. The pool ring fills with water and the water jets spray, filling the center. To adjust the spray height, simply turn your faucet handle. If you decide you don’t want the jets spraying, turn off the water once the pool has filled.
Made of non-toxic PVC, this baby splash pad pool is safe for all kids. On the bottom are cute letters and animals to make your child’s playtime even more fun.
After you are finished using it, empty the water, allow it to dry, and roll up for easy storage.
14. SplashEZ Splash Pad and Pool
The SplashEZ Splash Pad is another good option for toddlers and preschoolers. Measuring 60″ in diameter, this pool can fit between 2-4 kids at a time. It is best for kids ages 2-6.
This pool is made of quality, safe PVC. To set it up, simply connect the pool to your hose or faucet. The water will fill up the chamber and start spraying out of the holes. This fills up the shallow pool. Either keep the water running to keep the sprayers going or turn off the water and enjoy just the pool.
The fun alphabet design makes this option even more enjoyable. Unlike some other comparable products, this one does not have a slippery floor.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
Once you’ve made your choice, be sure to safely store your pool when it’s not in use. You’ll want your family to enjoy your kiddie pool to the max, so lengthen its lifespan with careful storage!
There are so many options for kiddie pools available that it can be difficult to navigate the search for the best fit. These pools have withstood the splashing and jumping fun of other families the best, so you can turn to them as great options for your family, too!
Here are our favorites from each category:
Themed and Play Center Pools with Slides: Intex Candy Zone Play Center
Basic Pools: Step 2 Play and Shade Pool
Pop Up Pools: Frog Travel Pool
Splash Pad Pools: Jasonwell Splash Pad Pool
Take the time to determine what will work best for your needs, and get ready for an extra fun, extra splashy summer! Be sure to remember to practice pool safety for kids.