For those of us in the northern hemisphere, summer is in full swing, as are school summer breaks, and finding ways to keep kids cool and entertained cheaply is a top priority for most parents. Zuru Toys sent our family a bunch of fun outdoor water toys, and we’ve spent the last few weeks having fun with all of them. Please note: This post contains affiliate links.
X-Shot Fast-Fill Water Guns
Water guns are a summer staple, but one of their biggest drawbacks is the need to constantly refill them, which causes kids huge amounts of frustration as they have to wait for the gun to fill up over and over again. The X-Shot Fast-Fill is designed to minimize that problem by refilling in one second. To accomplish this, the entire back of the gun lifts up (think the rear of a cargo plane) so the gun can be dunked into a container of water and filled almost instantly.
There are a couple of issues with this system. First, we found that the catch to release the opening on the gun was incredibly stiff. Even adults were struggling to get it open and nearly ripping nails off in the process, so when we had a water fight with a few kids, they really struggled to refill the guns for themselves. Hopefully, this will gradually become easier as the guns are used and the locking mechanism becomes looser, but for now, it’s a real problem.
Secondly, and this may seem obvious, but you will need a container large enough to plunge the entire gun inside (it measures roughly 40cm long) in order to use the fast-fill mechanism. We quickly discovered that our sink and a standard bucket were not nearly big enough, so I ended up emptying out a huge, plastic storage container and putting that into the garden full of water. It’s not a major problem, but it is another consideration to keep in mind. You could also use a hosepipe or faucet to fill the guns the old fashioned way, but this would sacrifice the fast-fill element of the design.
Once we were set up with our water container, the X-Shot Fast-Fill water guns were great. The pumping mechanism is a little stiffer than other water guns we’ve used in the past, but the range is brilliant—we were easily able to shoot the entire width of the garden—and the capacity is large enough that the kids weren’t constantly having to refill, they could fill up and play for a fairly long time before needing to wrestle with the locking mechanism again. My son recently took the two water guns we were sent along to several organized water fights (thanks Scouts and Youth Club) and was able to play easily using them and keep up with all the other kids (and adults) fighting against him.
Bunch O Balloons
Water balloons are another staple of outdoor water toys, but this time it’s the parents who are frequently frustrated by them. Attempting to fill and tie dozens of slippery little bags of water never feels worth it when you seem them all thrown and exploded within a tiny fraction of the time it took to prepare them. Bunch O Balloons is designed to end this problem. It is a quick-fill, self-sealing system that allows you to fill and seal dozens of water balloons in just a few seconds.
Instantly, we discovered a problem. In order to fill the balloons, you need to connect them to a hosepipe or tap using the included connector. This was an issue for us as we have no faucets that are suitable to connect a hosepipe to, so the connector didn’t fit anywhere. However, we improvised using the kitchen sink faucet and a lot of sticky tape to create a system that worked pretty effectively and was still a whole lot faster than individually filling and tying 100 water balloons the old way.
The balloons themselves worked very well. We didn’t experience any of them bursting during the filling process, although we did have to coax a lot of them off the filling tubes despite them being supposed to fall off by themselves. One thing we did find is that they were quite tough to burst. On many occasions, someone would throw one and hit another person, only to have the balloon simply bounce off them, usually exploding when it hit the floor instead. Although somewhat annoying when we tried to film slo-mo footage of a balloon exploding, this ended up actually being quite funny when the kids would do a victory dance if a balloon hit them and simply bounced off intact!
My biggest issue with Bunch O Balloons is the sheer volume of trash the system generates. As with all water balloons, we ended up with thousands of tiny bits of plastic scattered across the garden that needed to be individually picked up, but, additionally, we also had the plastic bag the balloons came in, over 100 plastic filling tubes, and two plastic hose connectors. This means that while I would absolutely recommend these balloons for their convenience, the amount of waste left behind means I can not from an environmental perspective and I won’t be buying any myself until they can be manufactured in a more environmentally friendly way.
We’ve had a huge amount of fun with these water toys from Zuru. I know the X-Shot Fast-Fill guns will be used for many summers to come and can definitely recommend them, but while I would love to recommend the Bunch O Balloons, I simply cannot given the current need for us all to cut down on single-use plastics.
GeekMom received these toys for review purposes.