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The Daily Dish Shopping

This Is the Best Water Toy of the Summer (And It’s Majorly On Sale!)

Here's how to get the scaredy cats in the water.

By Courtney Thompson

If you happen to have a house on the water — congrats! And also, where’s our invitation?! But seriously, if you have a source of open water in your life, be it a pool, lake or ocean (or a boat that you like to go cruising on), I’m here to tell you that the greatest water toy you probably don’t have is a floating mat. The name alone sounds … unexciting. I know. But trust me, this mat is a game changer when it comes to entertaining, chilling out and having fun on the water year-round.

My parents have a lake house, which by default means I have a lake house. And while they’ve got a lovely dock to jump off of, we have found that adults and kids alike were often shying away from the water because it was so … open. And dark. And, regardless of the depth, it was a little daunting.

When we added a floating mat, however, everyone was in the water all day long. Great for adults and kids alike, the Overtons Ultra Splash Island is comprised of five layers of thick foam that creates a 19- by 6-foot floating safe haven for friends and family to gather ’round, lounge atop and even walk on all day long. Safe, stable and soft, the island is big enough that it can serve multiple purposes — whether you’ve got a kiddo who wants to hang on for dear life, a teen who wants a stable surface to attempt a backflip or an adult who just wants to catch some rays … albeit while in the water.

Why is this, in my humble opinion, the best water toy of the summer? For one, there’s no inflating or deflating. You unroll the mat, throw it in the water and attach it to anchors so it doesn’t float away, and boom, you’re ready to go. Second, unlike towables or slides, this is a toy that can entertain up to ten people at once, doing ten different things at once. Third, it’s comfortable! The foam is soft and easy on your skin. Other mats have had reviews of being abrasive or scratching users and Overtons’ Island is the opposite of that. Lastly, when you’re done you simply roll the mat up, secure the nylon straps and place it in storage. Easy!

I also love that the mat’s huge size provides a sense of safety to little kids, and gets them in the water. We had two-year-old twins at the lake last week and they were terrified of getting wet, but when we eased them onto the Island — after much protesting on their part — they gradually got used to the water and became comfortable enough to swim around. Suddenly the Island was just a base for them to return to after growing more independent and embarking on mini-swims. Let’s face it: Kids and water are a tough combo the first few years of their life, and as a parent, I’ve dealt with many a child clinging to my leg and sobbing when faced with the prospect of swimming. Consider the Ultra Island as a gateway introduction to the idea that water equals fun. And soon enough you won’t be able to get them out of there (or off the mat!).

We’ve got at least two more months of water toy weather ahead of us on the East Coast, and you West Coasters can use this baby 365 days a year. The best part is that the Overtons just recently slashed the price of the Ultra Island, so you'll want to grab it now before it returns to its original cost!

Overtons Ultra Splash Island

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