best sprinklers for kids

Staff

Parents want their kids’ summer to be about outside fun, but often, the heat gets in the way of enjoying the great outdoors. Backyard sprinklers are one of the few things both parents and kids get equally excited about: They guarantee hours of wholesome, screen-free fun, and they don’t cost an arm and a leg. They also—unlike pools, splash pads and waterparks—require minimal supervision, with maximum entertainment value. All caregivers need to do, is grab a chair and an umbrella, and watch your kids put on a show.

What to Consider

Sprinklers have come a long way since the days of basic spritzes emerging from a boring base. These days, they come in an array of shapes and sizes, with a range of bells and whistles. There is also a clear line between sprinklers designed for older kids and toddlers, so keep that in mind. Also, you will want to pick sprinklers specifically designed with children in mind, because they tend to have stricter safety measures in place. Before you buy any sprinkler, assess your space and make sure you know roughly how much running room there will be, and choose the size and style accordingly.

How We Selected

We spent hours reviewing the options, and found a range of fun—but safe—sprinklers that will appeal to kids ages 0-99. We also kept different play styles, design desires and budgets in mind. Finally, we only included highly rated items made by companies with excellent customer service.

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1

Best for Toddlers

Mega Melon Ball Sprinkler

This Mega Melon will appeal to safety-focused parents and kids. At 35.5 inches high, it’s a great height for babies and toddlers who are just getting the hang of outdoor fun. It is, simply put, a huge inflatable watermelon that you can park on your lawn and snake a sprinkler through. 

There are no tricky attachments that kiddos will slip on, and it’s made from nontoxic, weather-resistant, durable PVC material. Reviewers call it a “great choice” for summer fun, and easy to assemble.

2

Best Rainbow

Inflatable Rainbow Sprinkler

You’ll find your kids somewhere under the rainbow all summer if this witty sprinkler goes up in your yard. This rainbow features a six-foot tall rainbow arch set in two clouds. There are holes on either side of the purple stripe, allowing water to come out of both sides. The hose is easy to connect to the inflatable rainbow and clouds. Reviewers love it as a sprinkler, but say it does triple duty as a fabulous party prop, and a pool float.

3

Best 2-in-1

Dinosaur Water Sprinkler and Ring Toss

Prextex
amazon.com

$29.99

This friendly looking inflatable dinosaur doubles as a ring toss. The dinosaur’s modest size (22 x 42 inches) makes it perfect for toddlers and younger kids. Active customers will love that they can throw eight colorful rings on the dinosaur’s pointy horns. 

One reviewer dubbed it “one tough dino,” while another said they keep it inflated at all times for the kids to use as a ring toss.

4

Most Magical

Inflatable Unicorn Sprinkler

If there’s one guaranteed way to make outdoor water play even better, it’s by tossing a unicorn into the mix. This 5-foot, 3-inch unicorn is easy to inflate and connect to garden hoses, and is made from high-quality, extra durable material, the better to withstand all of the “love” sure to be headed its way. 

Reviewers gushed about the reaction the unicorn enthusiasts in their life met it with. One parent said “this unicorn has been a lifesaver for my kids during lockdown. It’s not as big as some of the others, but it is definitely more manageable … The horn really sprays the water far. Very durable reinforced plastic.”

5

Best for Older Kids

Light Show Spinning Sprinkler

Bigbolo
walmart.com

$49.84

If your kids feel like they’ve aged out of “babyish” sprinklers, now’s the time to whip out this bad boy. This can be attached to any standard hose. Once switched on, the dome lights up and six tubes wiggle and flail, spraying water everywhere. The dome spins and the spouts create an ever-shifting splash zone. 

This is definitely a “big kid” toy, ages 7 and up. Reviewers recommend it for dusk and early evening play to get the maximum benefit from the lights.  

6

Micro Powerhouse

Fido the Fire Dog Hydrant Water Sprinkler

Matty’s Toy Stop
amazon.com

This cute Fido fire hydrant only stands 10.75 inches in height, but it packs serious power, making it a great option for those who don’t want a giant inflatable beast drawing stares from neighbors. The hydrant attaches to any standard hose and sends up 10-foot-high, 16-foot-wide sprays. This sprinkler is also made of heavy-duty plastic and is not inflatable, making it more durable than some of its puffed-up compadres. Its squat size also means it can be brought along to friends’ houses.

7

Best Splash Pad

Splash Pad Sprinkler

Future Way
amazon.com

$21.99

This splash pad is a great option for larger families and water-loving dogs. The 68-inch-wide pad fits two or three kids and a pooch. The pad is made of thick, nonslip PVC, and is durable enough to withstand daily rough play. It’s easier to use and store than an inflatable pool, and hooks up to a garden hose, which then issues multiple streams of water through the pad’s bottom. 

Reviewers loved that the streams of water spray can be controlled by water pressure, which is great for dogs and younger kids, who may be frightened by more forceful blasts.

8

Best Sprinkler-Pool Combo

Inflatable Sprinkler Pool

Chomunce
amazon.com

$27.99

Your family gets the best of both worlds with a durable, inflatable sprinkler pool. Made from durable, nontoxic PVC without BPA or phthalates, this 67.5-inch-long, 43.5-inch-wide wading pool and sprinkler is great for babies and toddlers who are new to water play, while also appealing to kids who want to sit down and (literally) chill out on hot summer days. The pool becomes a splashpad when connected to a garden hose. Caregivers enthused about its “perfect” size and the fact that it keeps “the kids busy for hours!!!”

9

Best Party Sprinkler

Inflatable Giraffe Sprinkler

If you want to throw a sprinkler party, this seven-foot-tall giraffe will be the perfect host. The water-weighted inflatable rapid-valve on the giraffe blows up 10 times faster than other inflatables, and it has a universal hose connector allowing you to control water pressure. 

The sprinkler is made from premium UV-treated raft grade vinyl, which means it’s 25% thicker than most other inflatable sprinklers on the market. One reviewer recommends setting it up over a slip n’ slide for the ultimate summer afternoon of fun. Another raved, “this thing is AWESOME. It’s so impressive and the kids squeal with glee seeing what must feel like a life-sized giraffe.”

10

Best Mega-Splash

Cyclone Splash Park

This Cyclone is essentially a three-in-one water toy. There’s the sprinkler element, plus a pool and a slip n’ slide. All told, the splash park is 192 inches long and 84 inches wide. It features a 16-foot curved water slide, with a wading pool on the side and sprinklers throughout. 

While this play zone would certainly deliver all of the fun of a day at the splash park, it will also take up a lot of real estate, which isn’t for everyone. 

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