Last Updated on April 5, 2021
EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated in April of 2021 when our mermaid sprinkler broke.
Every year in late spring and early summer, Aldi rolls out an array of pools, slip and slides, sprinklers, and other water recreation products. Pools for backyard use have been a hot commodity everywhere this year because so many public pool openings have been delayed or cancelled. If you missed out on getting one of the larger pools Aldi sold this year, you might be able to pick up a splash pad sprinkler as a consolation.
Aldi’s Banzai splash pads cost $8.99 at the time of publication. The retailer sold four different splash pads at the time of publication, with choices including a Gopher Field, Splash Mat, Blast Pad, or Mermaid Hopscotch. All of the splash pads connect to a standard garden hose.
Banzai products are not exclusive to Aldi, but these splash pads are a lot cheaper at Aldi. I found the mermaid pad going for a whopping $29 on Amazon at the time of publication. The mermaid splash pad was $1 cheaper at Academy Sports+Outdoors, but it was also out of stock there. I also found the gopher splash pad selling for considerably more on Amazon, as well as the Banzai Blast Pad going for more. Splash pads in general, regardless of brand, sell for double the Aldi price and more on Amazon. That makes these Aldi spash pads a big bargain.
Remember, these are Aldi Finds, which means they’re only at Aldi for a short time. Once they’re gone, you’ll probably have to wait a year or more before you see these or something similar at Aldi again.
Here are a few details about the splash pads:
Banzai Smash ‘N Splash Gopher Field
- This mat measures 35″ with a water-filled rim with 8 sprinkling gophers to stomp on.
- Gophers pop up when filled with water; no inflation is required.
Banzai Splash Mat
- Measures just over 39″ in diameter.
- Features ocean characters such as a starfish, turtle, and seahorse.
- While this is good for kids of all ages, this specific splash pad is advertised as a good choice for toddlers and very young children.
Banzai Blast Pad
- Stomp on the water-filled pads to soak friends.
Banzai Mermaid Hopscotch Sprinkler
- This mat measures 60 inches long by 28 inches wide.
- Features a hopscotch game with three plastic place markers.
My kids asked me to pick up the Mermaid Hopscotch Sprinkler, and they named the Gopher Pad as a second choice if the mermaid option wasn’t available. There weren’t many mermaid sprinklers left when I showed up at a local Aldi store the day before the ad was scheduled to go into effect, although there were a number of the other splash pads still available. They are flat-packed in small boxes, which made it easy to drop one in my cart while picking up other essentials at Aldi.
Once I got the Mermaid Hopscotch Sprinkler home and we got it set up, my kids were struck by its small size. It’s five feet long and just over two feet wide. I knew going into it that most splash pads on the market are not large, and for $9 we were not going to get anything really big. We also own a triple water slide with speed ramp purchased from Aldi a couple of years ago (and which was back in Aldi stores just the other week), and it’s huge; it’s a small challenge finding space to lay the water slide out in our modest-sized backyard where we are limited because of a large hill. In contrast, the Banzai Mermaid Hopscotch Sprinkler’s smaller size makes it a lot easier to place in our yard. It’s also easier to set up compared to the triple water slide.
The Mermaid sprinkler comes with the splash mat itself (which features sea creature and mermaid graphics printed on it), three plastic place markers to use while playing hopscotch, plus a manual. It was made in China.
The manual advises setting up on a flat, level lawn and not on pavement or other hard surfaces. Make sure your lawn is free of rocks, bumps, depressions, sticks, etc. The manual also advises setting up at least 10 feet away from any freestanding structures or obstructions including houses, garages, fences, trees, playground equipment, and large rocks.
To set up the sprinkler, simply roll out the mat, attach your garden hose to the mat’s hose connector, and turn on the hose slowly, adjusting water pressure accordingly.
To play hopscotch on the mat, the first player stands behind heart #1 and tosses their disc into heart #1. They then hop over heart #1 to heart #2 and continue hopping to the last heart. They then turn around and hop back again, pausing in heart #2 to pick up the disc before hopping in heart #1 and out. Continue by tossing the disc into heart #2 and continuing the sequence until the disc has been successfully tossed into and picked up from all of the hearts. A player must always hop over any heart where a disc has been placed. Players can use heart #6 as a resting area before hopping back to heart #1.
A player is out if the disc fails to land on the proper heart, if the hopper loses balance when bending over to pick up the disc and puts a second hand or foot down, if the hopper goes into a heart where the disc is, or if a player puts two feet down in a single heart.
To store the mermaid sprinkler, disconnect the garden hose from the hose connector and clean grass, leaves, sand, twigs, dirt, etc. off the splash pad. Drain it and allow it to dry, and then carefully roll it up and store. Don’t store it indoors or in a closed container until it is completely dry.
This splash pad’s small size should make it easier to dry for storage, in contrast to our giant triple water slide that is difficult to dry to takes a long time to dry.
The Mermaid Hopscotch Sprinkler doesn’t come with a warranty — it’s pretty cheap at $9, after all, and not intended to last forever — but the last page on the manual lists a website: www.toysinquiry.com. The site offers a way to contact someone if you have trouble with your product, although it states that products that cost less than $29 don’t come with a warranty. In addition to contact info, the site features a warranty inquiry form, FAQs, and instruction manuals (I didn’t actually see any manuals for these particular splash pads, though).
This splash pad was a hit with my kids. Once they got over their minor disappointment about its small size, they played with it for several hours. They spent a lot of time actually playing hopscotch with it, and sometimes just splashing around in the spray. Its modest size meant that when one part of the yard got a bit flooded, it was easy for my kids to move the splash pad by themselves to another part of the yard.
I noticed after moving the sprinkler that my kids left small holes or divots in the wet, squishy lawn wherever they had repeatedly hopscotched, so be aware that this might not do wonders for your lawn’s curb appeal. It is not a big deal for us when it’s just in our back yard, though.
My kids — all girls — also pointed out, for better or worse, that this is the only splash pad of the four that is marketed more exclusively toward girls, with pink, purple, and turquoise being the prominent colors.
UPDATE (4/5/2021) — We brought our mermaid hopscotch sprinkler out of winter storage on a warm spring day this year, set it up, and turned on the hose. Unfortunately, after a few minutes of play, the soft plastic near the hose connector ripped open. The tear was two to three inches long and there was no easy way to repair it, so we had to say goodbye to our mermaid sprinkler. It was an inexpensive purchase, but it would have been nice if it had lasted for more than one season.
The Banzai Mermaid Hopscotch Sprinkler and other Banzai-branded splash pads are not exclusive to Aldi, but you can’t easily find them elsewhere for less money. These splash pads are small but easy to set up, and the mermaid hopscotch sprinkler provided even my slightly older kids with several good hours of entertainment the day I bought it. Sadly, ours only lasted for one summer before it sprang a leak.