Heading to the beach in the summer promises the ultimate in cool pleasure. But millions of us don't live near the coast, which means traveling to the beach can easily turn into a multi-day, mega-bucks trip. A cheaper way to have fun in the water is to plan for summer blasts right in your backyard. These five inexpensive water toys can keep the family entertained for hours. (Just remember the sunscreen.)
Slip 'N Slide Triple Racer with Slide Boogies.
This outdoor water toy, with a starting price of about $25, features a 16-foot water slide, three lanes, and three inflatable boogie boards. The Slip ‘N Slide Triple Racer with Slide Boogies is easy to assemble and suits 5 to 12 year olds. This is a good choice for multiple children -- they can race and not wait too long for a turn. Reviewers are generally enthusiastic, and one post at Toys R Us says this cheap water toy was sturdy and durable enough for five rowdy boys. A few, however, report inadequate water pressure.
Sizzlin' Cool Slide and Splash Dolphin Play Pool.
Toddlers will get a kick out of this simple, $23 kiddie pool with a small dose of extra fun. This kiddie pool features an attached, inflatable slide and a spraying dolphin -- enough variety to keep a couple of youngsters occupied at once. There's no recommended age or maximum capacity, but a reviewer says it's large enough for a 16-month old to get comfortable with the act of learning to swim.
Wham-O Slip 'N Slide Splash Dunk Waterslide.
This $15 outdoor water toy is similar to the Slip ‘N Slide Triple Racer but accommodates only one person at a time. It comes with an inflatable basketball, backboard, and hoop and continuously sprays water on the player (ages 5 and up). Posts at Walmart say it's easy to set up and fun for the kids, although one claims it was too small for 6- and 8-year olds.
Intex Kids Rainbow Ring Play Center Pool.
A pool that accommodates multiple children can be pricey, but the Intex Kids Rainbow Ring Play Center Pool fits three youngsters and sells in the $60-$70 range. This brightly-colored outdoor water toy features two separate but connected pools, a slide, two ball-rolling slides, a ring toss area, and accessories (three inflatable balls and four inflatable rings). The entire pool area extends nearly 10 feet long and 6.5 feet across, and holds 77 gallons of water. Suitable for kids ages 3 and up, product reviews at Amazon rave about its spaciousness and activity options. A few report that the plastic doesn't hold up.
Nerf Super Soaker Scatter Blaster.
Water guns are simple, cheap, and exciting outdoor toys. Unlike most water slides and inflatable pools, this is a toy that adults can play with, too. A basic water gun costs as little as a couple of dollars or you can kick it up a notch and go for a jazzy model like the Nerf Super Soaker Scatter Blaster, sold in a two-pack for less than $18. Each toy holds up to 22.5 ounces of water and features a flip-up sight for better aim. A review at Toys R Us asserts that these water guns were a hit wedding gift. Nerf isn't the only maker of heavy-duty soakers, which are available for as little as $5.