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The benefits of water play for babies & toddlers

Outside Play

The benefits of water play for babies & toddlers

With the summer holidays looming, it’s no surprise that our paddling pools and swimming pools are flying off the shelves! Everyone is preparing for a long, hot summer and if you have young children, you’ll know how excited they get about a day in the pool. But what about toddlers? As parents, we want to ensure that your little ones are safe and happy in the water, so is it wise to invest in a paddling pool so early? In a nutshell, yes! Water play is a fantastic way to keep little ones entertained and active.[/caption]

If you’re considering buying a paddling pool for your toddler, here are just some of the benefits you can enjoy.

  • Helps Physical Development

Being able to splash around in a paddling pool will work wonders on your little ones’ physical movement and coordination. Being in the water is a very different sensation for toddlers and as they get to grips with the new environment their movements will become slower and more purposeful. This is a great way to help them learn to think about their actions and reactions.

  • Increases Confidence

While a paddling pool may seem small to us grown-ups, for a toddler, even a small inflatable pool can seem like a challenge. It’s important that you let your little one take the lead when playing in the pool, some may enjoy putting their heads under the water, and others will do anything to avoid it! While some toddlers will enjoy splashing and throwing toys around, others may want to paddle and relax quietly. Every child is different so it’s vital that you watch for their cues when playing and let them take it at their own pace.

If your little one is nervous about going to the paddling pool, here are some of our top tips!

  • Take a few of their bath toys out with you to encourage a fun atmosphere.
  • Start off by playing next to the pool (under your supervision) Throw toys into the water and enjoy splashing each other to build confidence.
  • Once they’re ready, start off with short sessions of around 10 minutes and build up from there. They’ll be asking for more time before you know it!
  • Helps Build Strength

Swimming helps strengthen the heart and lungs as well as muscles in the arms, legs and neck. When you bounce your little one in the water, you’re also stimulating the vestibular system, which helps develop balance skills. Parents can also enjoy the fact that swimming is proven to help with toddler eating and sleeping habits!

How to play safely in a paddling pool

The benefits of playing with your toddler in a paddling pool are obvious, however, as parents or guardians, you need to ensure that you provide a completely safe environment for them to splash around in.

You should NEVER leave your toddler unattended in or around a swimming pool. We advise teaching water safety habits as early as possible, which includes no running around the pool, no pushing at the poolside and no play without an adult present.

Buoyancy aids such as armbands and floats can also be used in paddling pools as your little one learns to swim. We also recommend ensuring your toddler wears a swim nappy in the pool, these nappies are specifically designed to be snug fitting at the legs and waist to help avoid accidents.

Paddling pool games for toddlers

For some toddlers, just being in the water is enough to keep them active and engaged, however, if you’re looking for more ways to make swimming fun, here are our top tips!

  • Encourage movement in the water by incorporating their bath toys. Throw the toys across the pool and pretend to race them to pick them up.
  • Have your little one copy your movements in the pool, this could be anything from pulling silly faces to dipping their face in the water or kicking their legs.
  • Sit your little one on the side of the pool and sing Humpty Dumpty. At the ‘fall’ gently lift them into the water with a little splash.

Paddling pools at Outside Play

Our range of paddling pools has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a simple splash pool or you want to amp up the fun with water slides or sprinklers, we have you covered. Here are our top picks for a toddler-friendly paddling pool!

  1. Bestway 53092 Rainbow N Shine Paddling Pool

The benefits of water play for babies & toddlers

There’ll be no end to the summer fun with the Rainbow N Shine pool, it even has an easy to use drain valve to drain the water so the pool can be stored away until another day. This Bestway pool is great for younger children, with bright vibrant colours and eye-catching rainbow detail. It also has an inflatable slide with cushioned floor to provide a soft landing, a generous splash pool area and a built-in water sprayer.

2. 1.5M Rigid Sided Sea World Design Padding Pool

The benefits of water play for babies & toddlers

This fun Benross 1.5M Rigid Sided Sea World Padding Pool is ideal for small children to enjoy in the garden. The 120cm diameter pool has a depth of 25cm but you can fill it as deep as you are comfortable with thanks to the strong, rigid sides. As a bonus, this pool can also be used as a ball pit!

3. Bestway 53089 Giraffe Pool With Water Spray

The benefits of water play for babies & toddlers

The Bestway 53089 Giraffe Pool With Water Spray is the perfect introduction to water play. Enjoy a summer of fun and brighten your day and your young children’s with this giraffe style pool. It has a groovy colourful design and is suitable from the age of 2 years. Your little one will have loads of fun splashing around, you can even connect the fun sprayer to a hose for an extra sensory experience.


For help and advice on choosing the perfect paddling pool for your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team. For more pools, why not take a look at our incredible above ground swimming pools?

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