The holiday season can be a great time to prepare for a fun spring and summer ahead of water play! There are so many great deals this time of year, and often water play gifts can be heavily discounted.
Water play gifts also are a great addition to the surprise of an upcoming warm vacation or if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a warm winter can be used right away!
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Top Picks for Getting on the Water
The Adventure Board is the most versatile outdoor adventure raft! It can be used on water, land, and even in snow. With the rugged durability of a river stand-up paddleboard and the bounce of a gymnastics air track, it’s designed to conquer any terrain.
Backed by a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty, the Adventure Board is an investment in a lifetime of outdoor excitement. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, year after year. Gift this, and it will be inflated and used immediately and for years to come!
This kayak is constructed with high-quality materials, feels extremely stable, and comfortably fits two adults or one adult and several children. It includes a self-bailing hull, adjustable seats and footrests, and a rolling backpack for easy transport.
We have a full-length review of the Buoy Touring Tandem Kayak and wholeheartedly recommend this kayak for a fun family day on the water!
With an 880lb weight capacity, this 3-person raft fits a family for exploring a lake without breaking the bank. It includes oars and has the option of attaching a small motor.
Life jackets are probably the most important thing to have when heading out for any sort of water play. Generally life jacket categories are Infant (8-30lbs), Child (30-50lbs), Youth (50-90lbs), and Adult. It is best if a child can try on several styles of life jackets before purchasing since each brand fits differently. We always recommend choosing a bright color for better visibility around water. Whatever life jacket you choose, make sure you have the correct fit for safety on or around the water!
For infants up to 30lbs, this life jacket is US Coast Guard approved and has a soft neoprene feel.
For children 30-50lbs, the Hyperlite Indy Child is US Coast Guard type III approved and is low-profile, soft, and easy to move around with.
For youth 50-90lbs, this life jacket is a fantastic option for youth due to being highly adjustable and very comfortable for paddling.
Water Shoes for Kids
When choosing a water shoe, think through what the primary things kids will be doing with their shoes. If kids will be exploring and hiking on rocky beaches, make sure you choose a durable, close-toed she like the Keen Seacamp CNX. If heading to the pool to swim lessons or coming in and out of the house a lot with backyard sprinkler play, crocs will be a good choice! We have a full guide for the best water shoes for kids if you want to see more options than just our top choices!
If you had to pick just one warm weather/summer shoe for kids, this one is it! They are high quality, light, grippy, durable, and have a reinforced toe.
These full-coverage neoprene booties are fantastic for early walkers and protect feet from loose sand and rocks.
Kids LOVE crocs! They are not the most grippy or durable, but they are so easy to get off and on, are lightweight, easy to clean, and come in pretty much every color imaginable.
Best Wetsuits for Kids
Wetsuits range from 1mm-5mm in thickness. The thicker the material, the warmer the wetsuit. They also provide buoyancy that makes swimming, snorkeling, or spending long days at the beach easier on kids. The added benefit of sun protection makes a wetsuit an excellent choice for kids that get cold easily, are newer swimmers, or live in a climate that has cooler weather in spring or fall. Check out our full post about the best wetsuits for kids.
Wetsuits are for more than just cold water! They add buoyancy, sun protection, and can extend the amount of comfortable water play time in both spring and fall!
The soft neoprene in the O’Neill wetsuits make them comfortable to wear all day – these are ideal for stand-up paddle boarding!
Sizes range from ages 2-16 and are designed with a contoured fit with high-quality neoprene for maximum heat retention.
Water Gift Ideas for Food and Drinks
When spending the day on the water, having lightweight waterproof food storage keeps everyone full, hydrated, and happy! Toss in some ice packs to a soft-sided cooler and keep goods dry in a dry bag. If you are still looking for more water friendly food-related gifts, check out our post on the best water bottles for kids!
10lbs of ice will keep 24 cans below 40 degrees for up to 65 hours – perfect for kayaking or taking along on a SUP!
Taking this along is helpful for a day the lake on a SUP or in a kayak if you don’t want to bring a lot of extra water! These are also fantastic to have in an emergency kit.
These lightweight waterproof bags close with a buckle that can secure them to a kayak or side of a boat – keep food, extra clothes, and emergency supplies dry while out on the water.
Fishing Gifts for Kids
Taking kids fishing can be a core memory for both parents and kids! Many states actually don’t require kids to have a fishing license until a certain age (usually between 10-16). You can check your specific state and license prices here. For a full guide on taking kids fishing, this post includes everything you know to get started on taking kids fishing for the first time!
Perfect for kids age 3-8 who are just starting to learn to fish, the THKFISH kids fishing pole is a great starter pole.
For kids with some fishing experience – especially older teens/tweens, the Ugly Stik GX2 comes with a 7 year warranty.
A combination gift of a fishing pole with a tackle box, tackle, and the promise of time fishing together can be the absolute perfect gift for the right kid!
Best Lake Toys
The best toys to bring to a lake are open-ended (can be used for all sorts of play), easy to clean, and simple to pack up a the end of the day. Giving kids simple things like a shovel or net help kids expand their imaginations as they play and explore. This post includes even more ideas for camping toys – many of which would work great for water play too!
Fish nets are one of the most versatile gifts! They give endless hours of play in the lake, the ocean, rivers, mud puddles – every outdoor kid should have one!
These are a fun, open-ended toy to bring to the beach, lake, or even for an afternoon of backyard water fun for ages 3+
A budget-friendly gift with endless options of open-ended play, a bucket and shovel is one of the best water adventure toys that exists!
These zippered mesh bags allow water, sand, and dirt to fall through while keeping treasures safely inside.
Each family member having their own individual beach towel makes it easy to keep track of whose is whose for a day on the water.
With anti-fog and a UV-protective coating, the Aqualung kids snorkel set has a Softeril skirt that makes it extra comfortable for kids to wear at the beach, lake, or even to practice snorkeling in the swimming pool.
Water Friendly Baby Carriers
It is amazing how many options exist for baby carriers now! There are several carriers specifically for spending the day by the water with your little one.
This unique wrap is extra breathable while still minimizing stretch so that baby is secure and comfortable for a day at the beach.
Made from nylon, this carrier weighs 0.9 pounds and is specially designed to be quick-dry and repels sand. It can be used for babies 15-45 pounds as either a front pack or backpack.
This carrier packs down extremely small – to the size of a child’s water bottle! Weighing only 8oz, this machine washable minimalist carrier can carry kids on front or back up to 45 pounds!
Water Gift Ideas
Kids can get out so much energy with wild water play! Remember to always pack out what you bring with you!
Wooden boats are always a hit for a wide range of ages. Use them in lakes, rivers, or even mud puddles. These ones can be painted as a craft project to extend the fun.
Swap out regular water balloons that leave plastic scraps in your yard for these soft silicone magnetic water balloons that can be used over and over again. They are easy enough for kids to fill all on their own and do not hurt when they make contact with skin.
For science lovers and sensory seekers, bringing a sand and fine motor set to the beach can provide endless hours of creative play.
Stocking Stuffer Water Accessories
There are so many fantastic stocking stuffers for outdoor lovers! Goggles, sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen all fit perfectly in a stocking and will be used over and over again! Check out even more stocking stuffer ideas here!
These adjustable and affordable goggles fit kids ages 3-10 and can be used season after season!
Our very favorite hat for younger kids! The wide brim gives full sun protection and it can be securely fastened under the chin to prevent the hat from blowing away during a day on the water. Sunday Afternoons are a Team Favorite!
Designed for kids ages 1-5, these sunglasses come in a variety of fun frame and lens colors. They stay on well and are rated UV400!
For even more stocking stuffer ideas, check out this post of the Best Outdoor Stocking Stuffers!
Water Family Fun
Hopefully this gift ideas for water lovers was helpful to you and we can’t wait to hear how you get outside with your family on the water! We love water play here at TMM!
Looking for more gift ideas for the whole family?
Gift Ideas for Water Lovers
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