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5 Fun water toys for outside play

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Wet and wild in the yard

Going stir crazy with the kids out of school? Try one of these five fun toys to get your kids outside. Water toys are perfect for beating the heat without breaking your budget.

In the heat of summer, going outside can feel like walking into a furnace, but you don’t need a swimming pool to get wet and wild. Motivate your kids to go out and stay cool with fun water toys. When looking for a water toy, shop for durability or a price point that won’t have you cringing if the toy doesn’t last until next summer.

Little Tikes Spray and Rescue Truck

What’s better than playing with a toy fire truck? Riding in a huge toy fire truck that really squirts water. Suitable for toddlers and preschoolers, this push car is the king of ride-on toys. On a hot day, your little one can water the plants, other kids or herself. When buying any big ticket item (this one clocks in at a little under $70), it pays to read online reviews. For the Little Tikes Spray and Rescue Truck, the overwhelming majority of reviews are very positive. Spray on.

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Melissa and Doug Blossom Bright Kids' Sprinkler

No summer is complete without a toy that attaches to your hose in the backyard. With watering restrictions and conservation in mind, make a sprinkler toy part of your summer agenda. The Melissa and Doug Blossom Bright Kids’ Sprinkler ($20) has the benefit of being from a sturdy, well-known brand. Unlike a bargain bin sprinkler, you probably won’t have to toss it out come September. The gentle spray works better for toddlers and preschoolers but may not be extreme enough for older backyard thrill seekers.

Max Liquidator Eliminator

Whether you let your kids play with toy guns or not, it’s hard to withstand the call of the water pistol. The Max Liquidator Eliminator ($7), with its bombastic and ridiculous name, is unmistakably a water gun, but it has a unique pump function that sets it apart from a traditional trigger gun. What does this amount to for you? A water gun that you might not be as creeped out by. For kids, it just means hours of squirting fun. If you’re not at the beach or pool, provide a bucket of water for filling up and stay well out of the line of fire. At this price point, you can afford to pick up a few for your kids and their friends.

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Step2 Play Up Adjustable Sand & Water Table

When little ones are out of school, boredom can turn sweet kids into raving mess-makers. Give them a place to get messy with an outdoors sand and water table. Perfect for light splashing and exploring, the Step2 Play Up Adjustable Sand & Water Table grows with your kids. The play table includes a few toys and latches to keep the toy closed tight against rain and bugs. Best of all, it features a small umbrella to help keep tender skin out of the sun.

Swim Center Ocean Reef Pool

Inflatable pools can be a huge life saver during the summer months. Who doesn’t remember sitting in one at some point during childhood? The only problem is that they’re a huge pain to deflate and store between uses. The Swim Center Ocean Reef Pool ($30) shares the issue of being tedious to inflate and deflate, but it’s a great deal, and unlike hard plastic pools, it’s less likely to hold standing water and mosquito larvae. The size is perfect for young school-aged kids and can even hold a parent. This is not a pool for infants, so don’t allow babies and toddlers to play in it unattended.

More summer fun

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