My Favorite Kids’ Water Bottles, From a Mom Who’s Tried Out Dozens Over the Years

published Jun 9, 2023
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toddler drinking water bottle.
Credit: Karl Tapales / Getty Images

Summer means a lot of things to families with kids: The hectic pace of the school year slows to make room for afternoons at the pool, minivans get packed up for summer road trips, and kids head off to meet new friends at summer camp. Throughout all the summer fun, there’s one constant: You’ve got to stay hydrated!

As a family of four, we’ve gone through dozens of water bottles over the years, so I’m no stranger to buying new ones. Fortunately, there are a few standouts designed with young people in mind to keep them cool all summer long. Here are my favorites.

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was $31.20

The Best Kids’ Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Available in three sizes (10 oz, 14 oz, 18 oz), the Kids Summit water bottle from Simple Modern (the same brand that makes my own beloved water bottle, affectionately known around the house as ‘Darth Sippy’) is a great choice for kids at a variety of ages. We all enjoy the 14-oz size, and both of my kids especially love the designs — unicorns for my 5-year-old, and paint splatters for my 11-year-old. What I love is that the straw lid is leak-proof, and the water bottles easily fit in cup holders for long road trips.

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The Best Thermos Kids’ Water Bottle

We’ve had several Funtainer water bottles over the years for both kids. They’re one of the most affordable, reliable kids’ water bottles on the market, and a favorite of Cubby's Executive Editor Cambria Bold. These 12-oz water bottles fit snugly in a backpack cup holder and keep water cold for a solid 12 hours, and they look cute while doing it. Plus, the handle makes it easy for little kids to hold onto, open, and, theoretically, keep track of.

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Much like the adult version, the Owala FreeSip is a very satisfying water bottle. Its flip-top lid springs open with the push of a button, and within you’ve got two ways to hydrate: built-in straw or wide-mouth spout. And, with three layers of insulated stainless steel, this 16-oz water bottle will stay as cool as it looks all day long.

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Hydro Flask

This was the water bottle my 11-year-old requested for summer camp this year because, “all my friends have them,” and when it’s well-constructed, lovely to look at, and keeps water cold for 24 hours, who am I to argue? But pro tip: Throw some stickers on there so you can quickly identify your kids’ Hydro Flask from the rest.

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These water bottles are a toddler's best friend. They’re easy to open and operate for small hands, and they’re leak-proof and extremely durable, so there’s no need to worry about oopsies. Although the bottles are not insulated, the 12-oz size is still a great choice for hydrating by the pool. And because they’re plastic, they’re super light and, thus, great for small kids to carry by themselves.

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This is another favorite of my 11-year-old for an afternoon of rock climbing or playing with friends. The color options are bold but not childish, and the 16-oz size provides a little more hydration, which is great for older kids. I love them because they’re super easy to clean — dishwasher-safe and easy to disassemble and reassemble.

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We know Yeti are pros at keeping things cool, so it’s no surprise to see Yeti’s 12-oz Rambler Jr. on this list. If your kid doesn’t leave this extremely durable water bottle on the school bus, it’ll last forever, and the handle and built-in straw make it perfect for little sippers. We love these for taking to the pool or soccer games.

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Ideal for little kids to pack with their lunches for camp, these lightweight bottles feature a flippable soft-bite straw. Made from 50% recycled plastics, these bottles are fully dishwasher-safe, so you know they’ll be clean and sanitized for their next outing.

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We bought these plastic water bottles last year for my then 4-year-old to take to camp on the assumption that they might get left in a tree stump or at the back of her cubby for the remainder of the summer, but we were met with two surprises: First, that our preschooler was better at remembering her water bottle than I am, and secondly, that these super affordable water bottles were durable, easy-to-clean, and satisfying to operate.

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