It’s nearly summer time and warmer weather turns into sticky, suffocating and all around uncomfortable heat. It’s unrelenting. The kids are inside, destroying the house one room after the next. There’s crying and temper tantrums, and I haven’t even gotten to the kids yet. I know, send the kids outside! But it’s high noon and the sun is beating down. You can boil an egg on the asphalt and the very thought of stepping foot outside causes you intense anxiety…
I know! The pool from last year! Let’s blow that bad boy up, turn on the hose, and relax in all the glory of the icy cold water quickly gushing into the pool. You turn on the pump, it starts to inflate, and then it happens… this thing is leaking air like crazy. There’s no time to find the source of the leak and you walk dejectedly into your house and suggest the sprinkler. You have failed your family. I’m sure this scene plays out year after year for many other families. Since having kids, we’ve been through at least 3 pools now and each time it’s a new frustration. Sure, you can attempt to find the leak (if it’s just one) and patch it to hold it together for just a few weeks longer, but inevitably, the pool suffers another casualty and you’re losing air faster than you can make a dad joke.
Enter the Intex Kids Jungle Play Center Inflatable Water Park Pool Sprinkler Slide Mat pool. I’m not even sure you can buy this thing anymore, but I think the point is that there are many similar pools out there in this price range that look cool but are not worth the money you spend on them. I found this crazy Dinoland one that seems to have similar features and price point. Did I just add an affiliate link to that one even though I don’t recommend buying it? Sure did. Go ahead and get it and prove me wrong. It did not fit my family’s needs, but as I’ll highlight below, this is a cool pool with fun features. I just value durability and that is a huge detractor for these pools. I really do think a more “boring” inflatable pool with added slides and toys that you already have at home would be a better investment. Personally, I hate the very idea of buying another one of these pools only to have it fail a year later and end up as one more thing to the landfill.
Just look at this thing! It looks amazing. A slide? Awwww yeah. Does it spray water? You bet it does. Does it come with a giraffe holding a basketball hoop? Absolutely. It is a very fun pool, but the very complexity of the pool is its greatest downfall. Not only are there over a dozen separate sections to blow up (even with an air pump, it’s a pain), but it makes repairs and patching a nightmare. As I’ve bought and dumped several of these pools, I’ve learned that simplicity is king. Kids will do all sorts of crazy stuff to make a pool more fun, so go with a regular rectangular pool and marvel at the things the kids will jump off of just to add that extra element of fun and danger. I’d say the number one thing you need to look for in a durable inflatable pool design is thickness of the pool liner. This will help protect it against accidental puncture or blowouts. It is not immune from failure, but it’s worth spending a little bit extra money to reduce waste and ensure that the pool lasts more than a season.
Ease of Inflation
Whether you have insanely huge superman lungs or you cheat and use an electric pump, do yourself a favor and minimize the number of things you need to blow up. Oftentimes pools with lots of different features (slides, arches, etc.) will have more than a dozen fill points. What’s worse than hot kids asking when the pool is ready? Knowing that you still have half-a-dozen more sections to fill while said kids are losing their patience. Do yourself a favor and get an inflatable pool with 2-3 max inflation points. You will thank me later.
Now keep in mind, I’m very cautious with our inflatable pools. I deflate them after every use, dry them out, and bring them into the house to prevent animals from messing with them or errant sticks from puncturing the pool. So I’d like to think that I’ve taken every preventative step in the book other than not using the thing at all. Frankly, it’s not a surprise that these thin pools just don’t last long. It just makes sense that a pool with a relatively thin wall thickness and many complex connection points will eventually break under the wear and tear of busy toddlers and little kids. The durability aspect is probably the most critical for me and will help save you time and money in the long term.
I already alluded to this earlier. If I was basing it on fun factor alone, it would get 5 stars, easily. My kids loved this pool while it lasted. I was smiling to myself as I was trying to find old photos of this pool and saw videos of them filling the pool up, jumping into it, pushing each other into it, and going head first down the slide. But like I mentioned earlier, kids have this remarkable ability to make anything fun. Take a plain swimming pool, add a plastic slide that the kids probably already have. Throw a bunch of balls and buckets into the pool and you’re set. The pool we have been using for the past 2 summers may be boring, but it holds an ample amount of water for those sunny days and has not failed us yet.
- This pool was fun, and that’s about all I can say
- The pool walls are too thin, making punctures very likely
- There are way too many air fill points, making this a pain to set up
I will give this type of pool half a star simply because it is fun. I suppose you could patch it up if it gets punctured, but I still think it is more pain than the money you save by not buying a more durable option.
Does your family like this pool or others like it? Let me know why I’m wrong in the comments section!