10 Best Water Bottles to Keep Kids Hydrated This Summer

published Jul 23, 2021
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Credit: From L to R: The Container Store and REI

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I have a weird quirk that I’m not embarrassed to admit: I love water. When I drink it, I gulp  —  and it’s quickly followed by an audible “ahhhh.” So, having a sip, especially after taking a walk or playing outside with the kids in the relentless summer sun, is the best thing ever. My 4-year- old son and nearly-2-year-old daughter have seen me doing this for years, so they copy their mama and make the act of drinking water into a pseudo production. Yes, it’s strange, but it also gives me a little peace of mind that they’re staying hydrated in the midst of this impossibly warm season.

The other day, my son took an impressive sip out of his just-bought-for-camp water bottle and proudly exclaimed, “Mommy, see how the straw pops up? Isn’t that cool? I’m not even thirsty, but I want to drink more!” Ummm, can more things play out as effortlessly as that just did? Fun, kid-friendly water bottles, making parents’ jobs a little bit easier for the last 50+ years. But only in the last few years have reusable bottles truly become boss-level in our kids’ eyes and not just a helpful parenting hack to trick our honeys into staying hydrated. 

From durable insulated iterations to BPA-free plastic favorites, we’ve rounded up some of the best water bottles to keep kids healthy and hydrated as the temps continue to heat up. With leak proof design features, playful prints and graphics, and availability in scaled-down sizes for tiny hands, these picks are perfect for a #hotfamilysummer! 

Of course, bright colors are always fun and happy, but there’s something to be said about great neutrals. This adorable 12-ounce bottle is just the thing to get your toddler excited about drinking water — even if they start off at a sloth’s pace! The soft, flip-top spout means that small children can open and sip their beverage without making a mess, and parents can get into the wide top easily to drop in ice cubes. 

Summer + school year hack: Since the bottle is white/gray, you can write your child’s name on the bottle using a permanent marker (or some handy name stickers) and have it be very visible. It’s one way to ensure their bottle comes back to their rightful home at the end of the day! 

Have kids like mine who like to gulp? Well, this Chute Mag delivers high flow without a messy aftermath. The magnetic top stows securely with the color-matched tether while your child drinks, keeping it clean and out of the way. And because of its universal cap design, you can pair it with a number of CamelBak designs, including the CamelBak Eddy® and Carry Cap. If everyone in your family counts on CamelBak for their outdoor adventures, this is a major win! 

Your little one might love to show off their water bottle, but if they’re not loving what’s inside, it doesn’t matter how cool the vessel is. If the contents of their bottle can stay ice cold for hours, though, that’s another story. YETI is the best at keeping water icy and refreshing for hours on end (seriously, it can be filled in the morning and not need a reup on ice for the whole day), so if you’ll be outside at the beach or lounging poolside all day long, you can be sure every water break is chilling — in the best way ever! 

Make it personal, make it their own. Isn’t that the advice we all got when we first became parents? To involve our kids in the things that they didn’t necessarily love to do? It works for cooking, right? So, why not for hydration, too? This double-wall designed bottle is the perfect gift to get your tween or teen into making healthy habits. Plus, it’s rose gold glitter-gilded and includes 30 unique stickers to literally make their bottle their bestie.

We’d probably be stretching it if we said that the bottle was road-trip-worthy for the adolescents in your life — but, then again, pressing play on a podcast and DIY-ing with cute cacti and shooting star stickers definitely beats another round of I Spy …  

Speaking as a S’well loyalist, I bring my bottle (and I have a few of them) everywhere I go. It’s an extension of my being, truthfully, but it’s also pretty tricky for my kids to sip from. That’s why I’ve already dropped a few of these S’ip by S’well bottles into my cart. They’re a lot more slender and they feature smaller tops for easier sipping and pouring — not to mention, they make good on S’well’s reputation for keeping cold things cold and hot things hot. Plus, the prints and patterns in stock are youthful, but not blatantly kiddie (unless your tiny drinker is a Disney diehard, in which case, they have a number of cute Frozen and Mickey Mouse-licensed looks)!

It’s summer in a bottle, literally, with this 12-ounce wide mouth bottle from Hydro Flask. While this option isn’t praised for leak-elimination, it does sport a powder color coat and durable perforated “Flex Boot,” (i.e. that band around its bottom) which guarantees color vibrancy for the long haul, added protection from wear and tear, and greater traction to aid in toddler toting (pssh, make sure you check out their portable bottle sling). Their double wall vacuum insulation keeps water phenomenally frosty for hours, and that straw cap is a cinch to sip. 

We’re obsessed with the summer fun shades each bottle comes in — makes it easy to find and whip them out in a thirst emergency — and the personalized name tag on the bottom!

Have a sleep sipper in your house? Like the sleep walker, the sleep sipper also wakes up at various points in the night — but instead of walking around the house, putting toys in the refrigerator (no judgment, I did this a few times growing up!), they rouse for refreshment. If so, these adorable glow-in-the-dark Pottery Barn Kids exclusives, touting BPA-free stainless steel, leakproof lids, and handy built-in straws, are ready to go! The push button pop up lid is clutch for nighttime needs, because once they close and lock the top shut, it’ll stay spill-safe overnight (no need for that straw to get dirty!). 

It’s dishwasher safe and can be personalized — so even if you have siblings with similar tastes, you’ll always be able to tell their bottles apart!

Hydration, but make it toddler-friendly. That’s the magic of this double-walled and vacuum insulated water bottle from Simple Modern. If your water baby is just getting good at navigating their sippy cup, then this is a perfect next step (and secret weapon for on-the-go thirst quenching). The sippy lid doesn’t require any pulling up or popping out with the straw, and because the opening on the Summit-specific model is the same width — it can fit any size bottle. So, as your kiddo grows and drinks more, they can graduate from the 10-ounce to a 12-oz, 16-oz, 22-oz — onward and upward.  

Oh! And they fit in most car and stroller cup holders — cute and cartable!

What’s good for the goose, is good for its goslings?… Well, something like that! Founded by three busy dads in NYC, Stojo’s original collapsible bottle — which is made from the world’s safest silicone and absolutely no glue or chemical adhesives — is just the thing to create a “monkey see, monkey do” mentality in your household (especially when it comes to eco-consciousness and taking care of the planet). Fill up all 20 ounces and share with the whole fam, and then when you’ve drained it, simply unscrew the cap, close it like an accordion, and re-screw for a leakproof seal. It can be attached to diaper bags and totes, too!  

This last one is the most expensive pick on our list (just under $100), but with good reason. Beyond the construction of the design keeping water cold for 24 hours, at the touch of a button, a purifying UV light turns on and neutralizes up to 99.9 percent of harmful, odor-causing germs. LARQ Bottles come with built-in safety precautions: using a photo-sensor safety mechanism, the light will automatically turn off if the cap is removed during a cleaning cycle. Using the same sensor, LARQ caps will not turn on until safely back on the bottle. 

For any parent who feels like they’re constantly cleaning their kids’ water bottles — this one’s for you. The backwash issue with kids and water bottles is real, but it doesn’t have to be. Adventure mode purifies every two hours, which is everything when you’re tripping with your whole squad: Droolers included!