Water toys are a fun way to cool off during the hot summer months. From pool floats to toys and other inflatables that liven up the backyard and keep you cool, there is surely something out there to please the whole family. Just remember to reapply that sunscreen because you'll be enjoying hours of fun outside.
Nothing says summer like playing in the water, whether it be poolside, lakeside, or at the beach. Take into account where you will be playing most, as these locales will play a large role in how you choose a water toy. There are a few important things to remember when you choose a pool float. Before we get started, check out these quick picks to get an idea of the variety available.
How to Choose Pool Floats
* '''Size Matters'''
** For the home pool, fit the toy to the body of water, not the other way around. If you have a 10' pool, a 7' float is not a good idea. Likewise, don't be a water hog in a public pool (where pool toys are often prohibited anyway). Get something small like a kickboard or noodle if you need extra flotation.
** For the ocean, pond, lake, or river, you are free to choose any size that you wish. However, don't forget that you have to transport the toy and be able to manipulate it in the water and possible in waves or current. This is especially important to remember when buying a toy for a small child.
** Remember that winter inevitably creeps up after the summer fun has come to an end. That means putting the floats away somewhere. Make sure you have the storage space for the float you wish to buy.
** Children, especially toddlers, need supervision and miniature-sized floats. Most have an inner tube-style float with a body pouch with leg holes in the center.
* '''Construction Counts'''
** A pool toy's construction material plays a large part in its durability.
** Chlorine, sun, and salt are major warm weather culprits for destroying a pool toy. If you want it to last, rinse it with fresh water after each use and invest in solidly built floats and toys.
** Plastic is fine for the pool but isn't great in oceans or shallow rivers. Be sure to get something heavy duty if you plan on any rough riding. Heavy gauge vinyl is best for those who like to put their floats to the test.
** Foam boogie boards and kickboards have a tendency to rot after too much exposure to chlorine. Opt for those that have a protective rubberized coating on them. It also feels better on the skin when you ride them.
** Learn more about boogie boards, also known as Bodyboards.
** The best of the best are floats that have been dipped in a PVC vinyl coating. They are unsinkable, heavy-duty, comfortable on the skin, and virtually indestructible. Great for kids who like to spend all day in the water playing king of the raft or other pool games.
* '''Usage and Style Affects its Versatility'''
** What do you plan on doing with it? Is it for lounging, playing in the surf, doing laps, or does it have to fit the needs of an entire family?
** Flat rafts and floats are good for sunbathing and playing, but not for luxurious pool time, sipping a margarita and reading a book.
** Inexpensive inner tubes are great fun for kids, comfortable for sitting but not best at allowing you to get an even tan or napping.
** Chair-style floats are great for sitting, relaxing, and reading, but they are not good for tanning or playing.
Small Pool Toys
These toys are great if you don't have a large pool or you can take some of them to the beach or a lake. They are also much less expensive but will still provide plenty of fun in the water. Just try not to beat up your siblings too much with the pool noodles! I know it's tempting.
Big Water Toys
If you've got the room, you might as well have some pretty awesome toys for your pool. However your friends might get jealous and you'll find them coming over a lot more. Just remember to always measure and make sure you have a place to store these when summer is over, unless you're lucky enough to live in Hawaii.
Lawn and Sprinkler Toys
There's nothing like being a kid during summer. You are off from school, the weather is sunny and warm, and the sprinkler entails myriad possibilities for fun. Why don't you transform the boring garden hose into a world of wet and wild adventure? Here are some of the latest sprinkler toys and games for the youngest of heart.