Summer

Photo of two children running through a sprinkler on a sunny day.
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The Best Inflatable Sprinklers For Kids (& Grownups)

Pump up one of these impressive sprinkler structures and watch the kids come running.

Who hasn’t attempted to run through a sprinkler without getting wet? That’s half the fun of turning on the hose. Even adults have to smile at the tinkling sounds and cold bursts of water the summer staple provides. But inventory has come a long way since the days of those old rusty lawn fixtures your parents — and your parents’ parents — likely had strewn about their yards. Huge sunny rainbows, mythical creatures, basketball hoops, and attached pads for splashing can all make inflatable sprinklers even more fun. Just try and set up one of these picks and see if your whole family isn’t delighted. And before you start sweating the work, consider starting your summer with the purchase of an automatic air pump. It’ll quicken the set-up of most of these sprinklers.

If you find yourself considering one of these sprinklers and watery fun zones, you’ll probably start to wonder when your toddler should learn how to swim. Some supervised babies can begin to learn and grow accustomed to a pool before their first birthday. But no matter how old or young your little one is, stay close by as they play in any pool, pad, or splashy situation. Now, on with the shopping!

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1

For The Wow Factor

Let the rain fall down from this wide, colorful, 63-inch-high arch, and listen to your kids giggle as they run underneath it. The sight of this puffy rainbow is so joyful, you’ll likely leave it on your lawn long after you shut off the water.

2

For Baby Fun

This whimsical take on the ancient reptile will thrill adventurous babies and toddlers. Equally thrilling to caregivers? You don’t need a pump to pump it up; the 74-inch-long play area springs to life once you twist in the hose. Little ones can wade ankle-deep in this puddle of fun.

3

For The Big Kids

Standing 65-inches tall, the impressive blow-up animal will excite your older toddlers and young kids. Water shoots out from its PVC horn, and four stakes allow you to anchor it to the ground to prevent sad sagging. At a relatively friendly price-point and perfect reviews, this summer surprise is sure to please the whole family.

4

For The Bigger Kids

Once inflated, this four-legged animal stretches its neck to stand over 7 feet tall, and spurts rivers of water from its mouth. A pump or hairdryer is recommended to fill up its vinyl body, which can be weighed in place with water. One happy reviewer calls the piece “even cuter in person.”

5

For Pool Splashing

Another unicorn? With an under $30 price and the majority of the 4.5-average reviews touting how much fun it provides, how can you resist? This pool-sprinkler combo shoots water from around its circumference and its singular unicorn head. An automatic pump takes the sweat out of inflation.

6

For Sports-Loving Kids

Aimed at 2-year-old toddlers and up to 12-year-old tweens, this splash pad comes equipped with an inflatable stand, hoop, and basketballs. All the extras mean your kiddos will be spending extra time outside playing. Water spraying from around the 68-inch mat creates a cool court, which might be better gripped and jumped on with water shoes.

7

For Some Sliding Fun

Belly-sliding down this three-lane water slide won’t be as painful as the activity might have been years ago, thanks to the trio of enclosed inflatable floats that slip right down the 16-foot stretch. Tucked under kiddos, they offer a buffer between bodies and the hard ground. Picking up speed is a cinch with the side sprinklers wetting the way down.

8

For Active Kids

Get active and break a sweat jumping in and out of this line up of inflated “tires.” A side-by-side stretch of four rounds, anchored in place with small stakes, each circle squirts up water for a refreshing take on the training exercise.

9

For Multiple Streams Of Fun

There are plenty of splash-pad mats that squirt water from around their circular perimeter. But this pick has a squishy inflatable center “dolphin” that also sprays up water from its head, meaning wherever your toddlers run around the 68-inch round, they’re pretty much guaranteed a fun splash. As with most of these types of pads, water pressure puffs up the sides, and the height of the sprinklers can be adjusted with the amount of water you release from the attached hose.

10

For Simple Sprinkler Fun

Perhaps the most traditional of the bunch, this singular spout sprays water into several wide-mist streams at a slight angle into the air. At around 47 inches tall, the adorable mermaid’s tail (with a stable base) doesn’t spin or do anything crazy, which means it might be a good introduction for toddlers feeling the summertime sprinkler sprays for the very first time.

11

For A City Feel

A fire hydrant going bananas in the city streets as children run and splash through them is a timeless part of children’s literature, cartoons, and pop culture. Recreate some of that magic with the BigMouth Fire Hydrant. Water shots out of the sides, and from the top, and it’s a bright, happy look in the backyard.