Whenever there's a bout of good weather in the UK, it's like there's a bat signal in the sky shaped like a paddling pool. They're a must-have. As well as a way to cool the kids (and adults) down on hot days, they can keep the little ones entertained for hours at a time - and who doesn't want that?
While paddling pools are brilliant, they can take some time to inflate, fill and empty, they can damage your grass and aren't always suited to all ages in your household, so if you're looking for an alternative, let us introduce you to splash pads. You get all the hydration of a paddling pool but with a real energy-burning twist - sprinklers!
Not only are they quick and easy to set up, but they're also fun, feature educational patterns on them and are easy to put away and store. It's a win-win.
To help you find the splash pad that's right for your family, we've rounded up the best-rated out there.
Featuring shapes, animals, numbers and more, this splash pad will comfortably suit three or four toddlers.
Review: "Absolutely loved this! If you're looking for something to keep the kids entertained whilst you sunbathe and get yourself an English/Miami tan. This is the product! I have bought water slides with a sprinkler system before and it was disappointing. It was more of a trickle, so was dubious about this... but it was fab! Really good quality. Does what it says! Hours of fun for kids and grownups alike."
This splash pad will happily fit a family of four and features a map of the world as an extra educational bonus.
Review: "I bought this wonderful splash pad For my 5 & 7 yr old to beat the heat wave. The hose fills the outer layer, which in turn then provides the sprinklers. This was incredible and both children were in fits of giggles the whole time! The sprinkler height can be adjusted, by hose pressure. The pool in the middle also fills up as time goes on. My children have asked to go in the "sprinkler pool" every day since we have had it. I can see it being used a lot. I would thoroughly recommend it."
This bright and colourful mat is praised as being easy to connect and fill, and features a really cute animal printed base.
Review: "We took this out yesterday, was fabulous, perfect for toddlers and for paddling your feet. I was looking for something to do with water but that isn't a swimming pool and this is perfect, easy to maintain water, requires proper 10 minutes to fill. Best purchase! Plus I can take this to my parents too so my boy isn't bored in the garden as he absolutely loves water activities."
Want your kids to learn the alphabet while they play? This mat has height-adjustable sprinklers, changed using your hose pressure.
Review: "I was getting tired of filling up the paddling pool, considering the water is always freezing cold. This is a much better alternative for my kids to run around in. Quick tip, use a jubilee clip to fasten the end of the hose pipe to the inlet, it'll stop it from sliding off of the pressure is high."
There are three sizes of this mat, which is great if you only have a little bit of garden space. It features a sweet underwater design and is rated as being strong and durable.
Diameter: 100cm / 150cm / 170cm
Review: "Great durability, very thick plastic. My son loves the product. Great price."
This square shaped splash pad has a cool surfer dude motif and the sprinkler height can be adjusted via hose pressure.
Review: "My daughter loves this and has had some great times in it already. I like that I can control the water fountains and it holds just the right amount of water in the bottom for her to have loads of fun playing with water toys splashing about and sliding down her slide into it."
Featuring numbers and animals, this large sprinkler pad comes with five repair patches as a bonus.
Review: "I bought this as I wanted something quick that can be setup rather than waiting for the pool to fill up. Worked out great! It's also quite quick to empty and put away! My son loves it. He puts his slide at one end and slides into and through it onto the grass. The sprinklers managed to get to around 50-60cm. Seller is good, I had a query about the adaptor and they responded quickly."