Pool Toys FAQs
Are inflatable pool toys recyclable?Unfortunately, most inflatables are non-recyclable, as they are often made of polyvinyl chloride, one of the most difficult plastics to recycle. That said, if you want to reuse an inflatable that has a hole in it, you can always patch it. If your community has a place that specializes in PVC recycling, you can also take your old swimming pool toys there. Other than that, the only way to get rid of old inflatables is to dump them in the trash.
What are inflatable pool toys made of?Most inflatable pool toys are made of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. Unfortunately, PVC is a harsh plastic that can contain toxins, lead and other chemicals. While there are dozens of pool toy alternatives that don’t use this plastic, almost every single inflatable toy does. That said, you can reduce your child’s exposure to harmful substances by buying inflatables used, which can also help with the whole recycling problem.
Where should I store pool toys?The worst thing you can do for your wallet and the environment is to keep your pool toys out in the pool all summer long. If you want to ensure that your toys last, store them in a space protected from the elements. That may mean putting them in a deck box during the summer and in a storage bin in the garage during the winter. The goal of storage is simply to keep them out of the sun, weather and elements as much as possible.
How should I store pool toys?There are no hard and fast rules for pool toy storage except, of course, the one mentioned above: Keep the toys out of the elements. Ideally, you should store your toys in a shed or the garage. You can organize them with hooks, bins, noodle caddies, storage benches or even nylon bags.
How do I inflate pool toys?
How do I deflate pool toys?You can deflate pool toys the old fashioned way, by squeezing the valve and pressing on the toy until all the air is out, or you can try something a little more innovative, such as using a straw or a binder clip. Place a straw into the valve to force the valve to stay open and let all the air out hands-free. You can also clip the valve open with a binder clip for hands-free deflation as well. For faster deflation, sit on the toy to apply pressure. You can do this while sipping your cocktail, which is a win for everyone.
How do I clean pool toys?To clean all the grime and buildup off of your kids’ toys, mix two cups of bleach with one gallon of water. Take a cloth or sponge and rub the solution across the surface of each toy. Rinse with water and let dry before storing.
At what age can my kids play with pool toys?
Are pool toys safe to play with?The safety of a pool toy is contingent on how it is used and who is using it. An inflatable raft is safe when used correctly by a kid who is old enough to play with one. However, that same raft becomes unsafe when used as a platform to jump off of, when used to float over people or when used by a child too small to sit safely on the surface. Pool toys for toddlers and kids are designed to be safe, but as a parent, it’s important that you know the risks so that you can help your child avoid them.
Different types of pool toys
Inflatable pool toys
ExamplesFloats, beach balls
FeaturesDesigns for all ages, colorful, easy to store
ProsLow maintenance, inexpensive, easy setup
ConsUsually made from PVC, non-recyclable, not very interactive
ExamplesBattery-operated fish, submarines, motorized wave cruisers, motorized bumper boats, fish and catch games
FeaturesInteractive, usually small, require batteries or a power source
ProsMentally and physically stimulating, fun
ConsSmall items easy to lose, larger items such as the motorized wave cruiser may be difficult to store
Plastic pool toys
ExamplesDive rings, dive and catch toys
FeaturesInteractive, usually small
ProsMentally and physically stimulating, encourage exercise
ConsSmall, often require children to swim to the bottom of the pool
Floating pool toys
ExamplesSwim boards, pool noodles
FeaturesSmall, easy to store, typically made of foam or polyethylene
ProsGreat tools for teaching kids to swim, durable, come in fun patterns
ConsSometimes cheaply made, not always “fun” for kids
Sporty pool toys
ExamplesVolleyball set, floating basketball hoop, water balls, hydro lacrosse, swim-through hoops, aquatic cornhole
FeaturesInteractive, easy to set up and break down, fun for the whole family
ProsEncourage competitive play, fun for everyone, mentally and physically stimulating, often breaks down into small and easily stored pieces
ConsNot great for younger kids, sometimes bulky
Benefits of playing with pool toysIt is no secret that playing with regular toys can benefit your child, but what about the benefits of pool play? Research suggests that those are plentiful as well. These are just some reasons to invest more in pool toys and less in pool accessories this year:
Develop Fine Motor SkillsOne of the greatest benefits of any type of play is its ability to help children refine their motor skills. If your kids have already mastered land-based play, challenge them by encouraging them to retrieve pool rings, play water catch with a neighbor, practice swimming on a pool board or even just climb up onto a floatie. No matter how insignificant of a task you think something is, if your children have never done it before, it will challenge their existing motor skills and help them develop new ones.
Encourage Kids To Think Creatively
Encourage Competitive PlayCompetition is good — to an extent. It can teach kids that it’s not always the best or the brightest who are successful, but rather those who persevere. Additionally, research shows that kids who engage in friendly competition learn how to interact with others in a sociable manner while also learning the value of hard work and developing their sense of self. Finally, group competition teaches kids to problem-solve as a team and helps them learn the value of working for the common good of the group.
Encourage Social InteractionPool toys encourage children to socialize with others in what might typically be a solo arena. Social interaction at a young age teaches children the value of teamwork, how to better communicate with others and how to understand emotions expressed through body language and facial expressions. Summer social interaction also encourages friendships that may otherwise not be forged during the school year.
Choosing the right pool toysConsider these factors when buying pool toys:
6 most popular pool toy brands
Oodles of Noodles
AquaAqua sells mostly floats for all ages, though it does offer a few interactive toys, such as water rings. The company even has a floating golf game for dads who want to get their practice in while watching the little ones.
Water SportsWater Sports sells swim-through rings, inflatable basketball hoops, water balls and more for the aspiring athlete.
BanzaiPool rings, motorized bumper boats, waterslides, and more — if you’re looking for a fun, over-the-top toy, Banzai’s got it.
Top 7 best pool toys on Amazon
Best Dive and Catch Pool Toy
- FINDING DORY THEMED: Fun for your little Disney fan, this kids pool toy features favorite characters from Finding Dory!
- FUN POOL GAME: Toss the dive characters into the pool then swim to retrieve them with the Mr. Ray net - each character...
- ENCOURAGE PRACTICE: Great for everyday play, pool parties, and to encourage the learn to swim process - kids won't even...
Best Diving Pool Toy
Best Physical Health Pool Toy
Best Swimming Aid Pool Toy
Best Slide Pool Toy
“Greenest” Pool Toy
Best Sporty Pool Toy
After reviewing dozens of pool toys, their features, prices and reviews, you may be shocked to hear that the best pool toy is an oldie but goodie: the Aqua Dive Rings Pool Toy. Not only do these small rings provide kids of all ages hours of fun, but they are also cheap and last forever. They encourage creative play and, unlike the smaller Dory dive and catch toys, they are easily visible from the pool’s edge. They’re also easy to store, kept in mesh bag on summer nights and put into a flat bin during the winter.The Best Pool Toy for This Summer
How the best pool toy was picked
As a mom myself, I spend countless hours scouring the internet for reviews and, if a product really catches my attention, I buy it. These rings provided my own kids hours’ of fun, and neighboring kids had a blast with them as well. Heck, I remember being a kid and racing my siblings to the bottom of the pool to nab a ring before they did. Any toy that’s a classic and that can still entertain my kids while I blog (or sneak in a few pages of my book) has got my vote.
Relevant accessories to buy
If you’re interested in purchasing any of the toys mentioned in this list, consider throwing these additional accessories into your cart as well. Each will make life a little easier when it comes time to set up, deflation and storage:
Water Tech Pool Blaster Pool Pouch Organizer – Lightweight, clear and 5′ x 2.5′ x 1′, this pool pouch is perfect for storing pool toys both large and small. Best of all, it’s discreet, so it won’t clash with any of your poolside décor.
Mesh Titan Giant Pool Storage Bag – Hang this pouch from the side of the pool for easy access to toys during the summer, and use it to store soccer balls, footballs and other sports gear in the garage during the fall and winter.
Intex Solar Cover for 12ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame Pools – This pool cover makes it easier than ever to keep the heat in and the bugs out after a long day of swimming.
Intex Quick-Fill DC Electric Air Pump, Max. Air Flow 21.2CFM – Save your breath on blowing up all those inflatables this summer with this compact and affordable electric pump.
Final review of pool toys
As a mom myself, I know just how difficult it can be to keep little ones entertained during the summer (or year-round, for that matter). While you may never be able to tan in peace again, you can catch your breath thanks to the geniuses in the pool toy industry. Also, thanks to brands like SwimWays and Intex, you can make sure that your children develop their motor skills and get the social interaction and competitive play they need to grow into the fine young adults all of us secretly strive to be.