Water Toys for Kids

Does it Work Wednesday
Water Toys for Kids
By: Lauren Keith
Our Does it Work "Summer Fun" series continues.  This week I focus on the newest water toys for kids.  I realize you could put a kid in a mud puddle, and he or she'd have a blast, but when the children are in the store they want the toys and parents want to know what actually works.
We head to Susan Todt's Big Stuff Childcare and Preschool in Fruitland.  In the summer, Susan asks all the kids to bring swim wear they can keep there for the daycare's weekly water play dates.  So, I'm sure these little "water bugs" will be great Does it Work Toy Testers for me, too.
First we have to set up.  The Gazillion Typhoon Bubble Machine requires eight batteries, and once again,  parents will need a set of tiny screwdrivers to open up the compartment.  I fire it up to make sure everything's set up properly, and early on, it looks like the Gazillion might live up to its claim and name - I think it really does shoot out 5,000 bubbles a minute!  I wonder how long the bubble solution will last though. 
Next Susan and I hook up the Splash Rocket to a hose.  It's supposed to launch a red rocket up to 16 feet in the air!  We'll see.
Batter up! Susan and I bet Water T-ball will be a "hit" with the kids, and the set-up isn't all that hard either. That's not the case though for the Wigglin' Water Sprinkler. We struggle getting each "wiggler" to stand up... and stay up... so they'll all wiggle up some fun for the kids. Speaking of the kids, let's get started.
"Go!" I tell the kids.

Immediately, they spot the bubbles, and a line forms around Water T-ball. However, after we show the kids how to launch the Splash Rocket, "I want to do it---I want to do it!"  Pandemonium strikes as each child can't wait for their turn to launch the red rocket.  It's a galaxy of fun. Not so much for t-ball though.

Within two minutes of testing, somebody's already broke it! That's easy to do though.  You're  supposed to tap the white pad with your hand to get the balls into the tee, but who can blame these little guys for wanting to smack it with the bat or use their feet.  That way, their hands can stay on the bat and their eye on the ball! We quickly find out the kids are not going to tap it.  And fixing the set turns out to be a very wet job for Susan, and one she has to do over and over again.
Meantime, the crowd gets larger over at the Splash Rocket. The entire time, kids centered around it, but hardly anyone stayed around at the Wigglin' Water Sprinkler.
Plus, the kids even had fun with the rocket, even when it wasn't launching! They put their feet and hair over the sprinkler and had a blast.
By the way, keep the Splash Rocket away from all power lines, and make sure kids know what goes up, must come down. This rocket has a soft-tip, but we don't want this laughter  to turn to tears. All right, let's splash up some results here...
The Splash Rocket is a clear winner, and most of the kids agreed, the bubbles are next on their list of favorites.
"They love bubbles and it put out so many.  Plus, we were here for an hour and a half and that solution did not run out," says Susan.
So, the Gazillion Typhoon Bubble Machine *pops* an A-, despite that $25 total price tag.  I bought it at Wal-mart.
"I don't think the Wigglin' Water Sprinkler went as well.  The girls kind of liked it, we had a hard time setting it up," says Susan.
I agree-- not too many kids were squirming to play with the Wigglin Water Sprinkler, when compared to their other choices here. It gets "C".  I bought it at Wal-Mart.
"The Water T-Ball was great, but we had a hard time keeping it together. They still love it, even though it broke a lot. I'd give it a B minus."  ( I bought this toy at Toys R Us.)
And the best toy of the day was also the second-cheapest. The $12 Splash Rocket gives parents the best value and kids the most fun on this Does  it Work test.  It gets an A+.  I bought it at Wal-Mart.
Next week, more outdoor toys, including a $120 blow-up bouncing machine that claims set up only takes two minutes!