Dive Toys for Pools

“Best of” List

Click on each toy for further review, images, and links to buy!

1.  Colored and Numbered Dive Sticks and Rings

2. Little Mermaid Dive Toys

3. Assorted 26 Pack-Sea Animals, Rings, and Gems

4. Catch and Release Dive Toys

5. Marvel’s Avengers Dive Characters

6. 30 Piece All You Could Wish For Set of Dive Toys

Diving Toys and Learning to Swim

Diving toys are essential for children who are just learning to swim.  Diving toys are fun to play with, but they are also a great teaching aid. Most commonly, diving toys aide in teaching children:

Breath Control

Breath control becomes very important as a child develops their swimming skills. Without proper breath control, a child will have a hard time learning front crawl, breaststroke and eventually butterfly stroke. All these strokes require a swimmer to time out movement and breathing very methodically if they wish to develop proper stroke technique.

Eyes Open Underwater

It is also very important for a child to feel comfortable keeping their eyes open while underwater. Many children I teach have a fear of opening their eyes underwater. Closing eyes underwater is an extremely hard habit to break once a child develops a fear of keeping them open. When the child reaches a swimming lesson level that requires him to swim the length of the pool with a certain stroke, he will not be able to maintain straight line movement across the pool.

Trust me, it is heartbreaking to watch a child repeatedly bump their head at the end of the lane, as they are not able to spot the wall at the end of the lane. If your child has had a bad experience with opening their eyes underwater, such as burning eyes after a day of swimming with eyes open, refer to this article: Can You Keep Your Eyes Open Underwater?

If you are thinking you will just give your child goggles once they reach a swim lesson level requiring full-length of the pool movement, I get it. Many parents think goggles will solve the problem. However, I must stress how important it is for a child to at least feel comfortable swimming across the pool once, eyes open underwater.

If your child ever has an emergency in the water, they will be able to stay a lot calmer if they are able to see a wall and swim toward it or see a swim float on top of the water to grab onto. If their eyes are closed underwater, it could be the difference between life or death.

Body Positioning and Underwater Navigation

Lastly, playing with diving toys reinforce body placement/positioning and underwater navigation. Being able to propel the body from the surface underwater to reach a diving toy at the bottom of the pool, prepares children for proper body propulsion in the pool. Proper propulsion for stroke training begins with gliding in the water. Although the glide of a stroke happens while the body is in a horizontal position, gliding vertically in the water to retrieve a dive toy is a great first step to teaching this skill.

The Evolution of Diving Toys

When I was a child, diving toys were only sold as colorful rings. Living in Arizona, the stores would quickly sell out and my parents would improvise, throwing some pennies to the bottom of the pool. FETCH children! It seems a bit crude when I reminisce, but my sister and I spent hours retrieving these objects.

Kids have so many more options today. These diving toys are all guaranteed to make a lasting impression on your children. Who knows, maybe they grow up to write a blog and talk about their own memories with toys a little cooler than rusty old pennies!

Today, diving toys today come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some look like little sea animals…fish, sharks, seahorses and more! Some diving toys torpedo a great distance under water before sinking to the bottom of the pool. Other diving toys spin rapidly as they sink to the bottom of the pool.

The creativity of diving toys has skyrocketed in recent years, which is great because it helps children get even more excited about diving and learning to swim.

How to Teach a Child to Retrieve a Diving Toy

If your child is a beginning swimmer, be sure to ease your child into this skill. Learning how and feeling confident enough to dive all the way to the bottom of the pool to retrieve a diving toy takes time. Start off with simple submersions, holding and accompanying your child as you dunk under the water.

If the child if less than 2 or 3 years of age, * use the face blow technique: Blow into your child’s face lightly, immediately before submersion under that water. The unexpected air will cause the child to take a breath and close his or her mouth, which will prevent the swallowing of pool water. (*This is an average age. In some circumstances, a child may be delayed and will need a physical cue, such as face-blowing, at an older age.)

When submerging with a child or assisting a child in his own submersion, always start with a three-count. You want to make sure the child knows when to expect submersion.

Eventually, it will become a habit for the child to hold his or her breath. At this point, as the child becomes more confident, you can assist the child in retrieving the diving toy. Let the child submerge by himself on a three count. After submerging, gently push on the child’s upper back, guiding him toward the toy at the bottom of the pool. The child may need help picking up the toy, but after a few tries, he will start to navigate his own body underwater.

Within weeks, the child will be submerging on his own and diving toys will keep him occupied for hours.

How to Make Our ‘Best of’ List

Our list contains toys which meet and exceed the criteria in ALL of the following categories:

1. Well-Made, Quality Product

The diving toy is quality-made, will not deteriorate in the chlorine or fade in the sun. If the company manufacturing a toy has a bad reputation, their product will not make our list. We only include toys we would allow our own children and students to use.

2. Safe Product

The diving toy is easily recognizable from the top of the water, for ease (by parent and child) in locating the toy. The toy does not have small pieces that may come unattached and cause a choking hazard or pool drain hazard. For a dive toy to make our best of list it must not contain any sort of electronic motor or battery chamber that may cause harm if broken.  None of the dive toys on our ‘best of’ list contain blunt edges or sharp points that could cause harm to your or your little swimmer.

3. Sink Test Approved

For a diving toy to make our ‘best of’ list, it must pass a vigorous sink test! We personally purchase each dive toy and use them while teaching swim lessons. Amazingly, many products that advertise as dive toys have a difficult time sinking to the bottom of the pool! I know, ridiculous.

Before making our ‘best of’ list each toy has to sink to the bottom of a ten-foot swimming pool in less than 30 seconds and must stay at the bottom of the pool.

4. Fun and Educational!

Every diving toy on our list is fun for children, no matter the skill level. These diving toys all have fun colors, cool features, innovative designs, or all the above! All diving toys on the list are handpicked for their superb ability to aid in the teaching and refining of beginner swimming skills.

5. Affordable

We get it! No one wants to break the bank for children’s toys. Luckily, you can get quality diving toys at great prices, if you do a bit of research. For your convenience, we did the research for you! Included within each diving toy review is a price and link to buy the product online. We paid very close attention to the prices of the products we reviewed and ultimately included on our list to make sure no one would feel any sort of buyer’s remorse.

The Scale of Fish

Dependent on performance during swim lessons and at-home testing, each toy is assigned a specific ranking for each of the five categories listed above. Rankings are assigned using a scale of 1-5 fish, as outlined in the table below:

The Scale of  :

Fails to Meet the Criteria:
Meets Criteria: three-fish-rating
Exceeds Criteria: five-fish

The Golden Fish

Awarded to toys Receiving:

FIVE FISH in ALL FIVE Categories

For a swim toy to make the list, it must be ranked with an average of 3 or more fishes in all categories. Without further ado, here is our detailed list of Best Dive Toys For Pools:

Best Dive Toys for Pools:

1.Colored and Numbered Dive Sticks and Rings

Well Made, Quality Product five-fish
Safe Product five-fish
Sink Test Approved five-fish
Fun and Educational
Affordable five-fish

2. Little Mermaid Dive Toys

Well Made, Quality Product four-fish-rating
Safe Product three-fish-rating
Sink Test Approved three-fish-rating
Fun and Educational four-fish-rating
Affordable three-fish-rating

3. Assorted 26 Pack-Sea Animals, Rings, and Gems

Well Made, Quality Product five-fish
Safe Product five-fish
Sink Test Approved five-fish
Fun and Educational five-fish
Affordable five-fish

4. Catch and Release Dive Toys

Well Made, Quality Product three-fish-rating
Safe Product three-fish-rating
Sink Test Approved NA: Made to float before sinking,
giving children a better chance of
catching the fish
Fun and Educational

5. Marvel’s Avengers Dive Characters

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is avengers.png
Well Made, Quality Product three-fish-rating
Safe Product three-fish-rating
Sink Test Approved three-fish-rating
Fun and Educational four-fish-rating

6. 30 Piece All You Could Wish For Set of Dive Toys

Well Made, Quality Product five-fish
Safe Product three-fish-rating
Sink Test Approved four-fish-rating
Fun and Educational four-fish-rating
Affordable five-fish

18 Responses

    1. Hello Andrew! The toys included in our list do not glow in the dark. Unfortunately, the light up and or glow in the dark dive toys I have tested seems to lose their glow or burn out very quickly. Therefore, I do not recommend them and did not include them on our ‘best of’ list. Also, I have not had luck with dive toys in the ocean or in seawater, as they tend to get lost in the sand when they sink to the bottom, never to be retrieved again. 🙁
      However, Pumponator makes glow in the dark dive sticks and rings and they can be purchased at this link: https://amzn.to/2MNOERm
      Hope this helps you find what you are looking for!

  1. I remember, as you do, learning to swim and dive underwater for coins as these were the main things available.
    How times have changed.
    it would be nice to see a time to sink section for the toys, for a child to wait upto 30 seconds before retrieving something from the bottom of the pool, would be like waiting for next week for them.
    I am just about to go read your article on eye irritation from swimming underwater as this is something i really struggled with.
    have the chemicals added to the pool changed over the years or is it still mainly chlorine?
    I totally agree that being able to, for a short period, open your eyes underwater can save your life as it can be really disorientating if diving in a busy pool and being accidently hit.
    There is a wide range of toys, do you create a story to get the children ot pick up the items in order?
    Thanks for the post i will be looking into some of these for my godchildren.

    1. Hello Phil! Thanks for stopping by. I love your time to sink idea. All the toys on this list sink well within 30 seconds, except for fish and net set which I noted in the details. I may go back and add an exact time for each toy. I am sure some of the kids in my swim lessons would love to help me count!
      Chemicals in chlorinated pools have not changed over the years, aside from the fact that public pools are shocked a lot more frequently due to cryptosporidium scares and the like. Many backyard pools have switched to salt water systems, but eye irritation is still a factor in these pools. As you will read in the eye irritation article, your eyes should not be noticeably irritated if the chemicals in the pool are where they are supposed to be. It never hurts to ask the staff at your local pool to give you the readings.
      I do use stories to teach children to open up eyes under water. The game I use is called the magic window game. Magic window is where I have the children stand on the step near a pool light. I go underwater and look in the light and tell the children I see something like unicorns or dolphins. Each child has a turn and they come up with the most amazing stories of what they see in the magic window(light). This is a great way to introduce children to open their eyes underwater. Watch for a video soon of the magic window game being played in one of my lessons.
      Have a great day and have fun swimming with your children!

  2. Hey there,

    I didn’t know there were so many factors defining a reliable diving toy.
    My little cousin has Colored and Numbered Dive Sticks and Rings and he loves them.
    Thanks for sharing this insightful information. I’m sure all parents will love it.

    1. Colored and Numbered Dive Sticks are my favorite to work with. Although they may not be as fun as an Avengers-style dive toy, they are much more educational. Usually, kids learn to dive for toys around the same age they learn numbers and colors. The kids get so excited when they retrieve a toy and can also tell you the number or color of the toy they retrieved. You can also use them to ensure kids are purposefully grabbing a certain toy, rather than the toy closest to them under the water. Thanks for commenting and have a great day!

  3. What a great article, thank you!!
    Unfortunately I’m not a swimmer. Did a few lessons as a child but that’s it. So made sure my kids took lessons up to at least the survival level.
    My daughter has two little boys now who love their pool time. We live quite far out of town, so I’m not sure when they’ll be able to start lessons, but I love your advise about blowing lightly in their face before submersing them. I’ll have to tell her that so she can try it out.
    I believe the pool has dive toys, so that’s good. We live in northern Canada, so not too many have outdoor pools here, lol. We could only use them 2-3 months of the year.

    1. I can imagine outdoor swimming pools are hard to come by in Northern Canada! Hopefully, there are a few indoor pools in your area. Swimming is such great exercise and a great way to bond with the grandchildren. Thank you so much for stopping by Suzanne.

  4. Oh man!  I remember tossing whatever I found into the pool to chase after it.  I loved to swim as a child.  Back then it was usually colored rings with a white rubber cover where the ring ends met, just as shown in the picture for your first item listed.  Of course, we had Lawn Darts back then too…

    I never really gave it much thought as to how those adventures molded my swimming abilities.  After reading this article it makes perfect sense.

    I think it’s time I invest in a few of these again and share them with the younger ones (but I’ll still chase them down too).  I’ll definitely get the rings but I might try some of the other items listed too…like the nerf-looking ones.  They look interesting.

    Thank you again.  I really appreciated this.


    1.  I too used to use the multi-color dive ring set as a child. I also remember the dive sticks that were much the same, brightly colored with whitecaps on each end,  i’ll send a like substance inside to weigh the toy down to the bottom of the pool . Some classics never get old, a sturdy design ensuring popularity for years to come. 

      Isn’t it funny how, as a child, you don’t realize these toys are helping you learn to swim? That is however the whole point. If it’s fun, it doesn’t feel like  hard work or training. Learning through play helps kids relax.  Swimming can be a very scary experience for a child because it really requires a feel for your own body’s buoyancy in the water, which most children have never experienced. One of the hardest things to deal with is having a child that is deathly afraid of swimming. It’s heartbreaking to watch!

      So glad you decided to purchase a diving toy on our list!  I have personally tested each of these diving toys and can assure you, they are the best on the market. Thanks again for stopping by and I hope you never lose the passion to beat those kiddos to the rings! We have to show them how it’s done 🙂

  5. What an incredible article, bless your heart! I’m not a swimmer but I never knew there were such a significant number of variables characterizing a solid jumping toy. I could at present learned, to swim and jump submerged for coins as these were the primary things accessible. I thoroughly concur that having the option to, for a brief period, open your eyes submerged can spare your life. I figure I will incline toward the blue and green jumping toy for my children.

  6. Absolutely great and informative article.  You write clearly and concisely.  I love the way that you have rated your products. 

    The images for the following are distorted, unclear

    No.3  –  Assorted 26 Pack sea animals

    No. 6 – Assorted 30 Piece All You could wish for set.

    I would definitely recommend your website.  Great tips and advice.

    1. I fixed those images! Thank you so much for letting me know! Sometimes the images posted from amazon come out like that!  

  7. I haven’t had the opportunity to constantly swim. I got a few lessons in high school but never really learned how to float. Said that, it will sound very weird but these toys would work for me lol, I’d like to try techniques like the one you said that one has to retrieve. 

    Another thing is that when I was learning how to swim, obviously I was afraid of opening eyes but I knew I had to, and I broke the bad habit of keeping eyes closed when underwater. But I suffer from myopia and when I opened my eyes I couldn’t see anything, just blue background (the color of the pool). So that was a little frustrating. 

    So if I ever have children definitely will try these toys, seem to be very fun for them.

    1. It is never too late to improve your swimming skills.  I have taught many adults how to swim!  It’s great that you can keep your eyes open underwater!  And you are never too old to enjoy these toys!  Have a great summer!

  8. Hi Dear,

    What a wonderful site for the little ones to learn and enjoy! I remember myself diving in my childhood in a nearby pond with my friends and going underneath from one end to the other with mostly closed eyes as fast as I can and none of your lovely toys. I wish I could have some then.

    Well, I have little kids back home who can learn from this site and enjoy swimming and diving. The features you have considered for the toy selection are of high value. There are varieties of amazing toys to encourage and to excite kids to learn an important skill. I am a little concerned about opening eyes inside chlorinated water in a public pool but my education is limited.

    1. These toys are great for teaching kids how to swim. I am sure your little ones back home will enjoy them! My swim lesson students absolutely love dive toy time!  The breath control learned while retrieving dive toys is invauable to a child learning to swim. Also, learning how to push their bodies up from the bottom of the pool after retrieinvg a toy is a skill that may save their lives one day!

      As for opening your eyes underwater… If a pools’ chemicals are balanced correctly, your eyes should not be irritated, even if you open them underwater all day long.  I recently wrote an article on the subject: Can You Open Your Eyes Underwater?- Eye Irritation Causes and Remedies  In the article you will find remedies to treat irritated eyes after swimming. 

       I hope this helps and hope your kiddos enjoy their dive toys. 

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