(to be edited with photos added). I made a practical and simple duck pond fountain to use with dollar-store kid's pools.
You need a paint bucket with lid, an adjustable pond pump ($30 from Lowes, http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/871980/8...
by Smartpond, a foot of 3/4" vinyl hose ($1, from plumbing dept.), a worm clamp to fit that hose, and some basic tools (drill bits, drill, maybe soldering iron to make a hole for the hose).
Simply, the pump pushes water right into the bucket, which fills up to the top, and jets out into the pool, without blowing way up in the air or getting lost to the wind. It is enough to help cool the ducks and help aerate the water (don't forget to occasionally do water changes and clear the pump). You can get waterproof automatic timers such as those that come on at dark and run 2,4, 8 hours, or dusk-till-dawn, for about $10.
Step 1: Drill the Nozzle Holes
This step takes some experimentation with the complete device. If you are unsatisfied with a bucket, it can be recycled as an in ground planter, or you can salvage it another way. It's best to drill small holes first as they can be stepped up in size if necessary.
Step 2: Drill Hole for Pressure Hose.
You can make this hole with a paddle bit, a drill bit, or a soldering iron (wallow out the hole to fit). It must be a very secure fit for the device to work, and to secure the pump under water. You only need 1 foot of hose, but can make it as long as you need for your project. A short hose may be best for highest flow and to prevent the ducks from dislodging the hose.
Step 3: Install the Pump
Install the pump to the pressure hose, and secure the hose near the pump with a worm clamp. Make sure the pump will stay under water and away from swimming ducks' feet.
You can get a pump like this (150+ gallons per hour) for about $30.
Here's one at 400GPH rating (30 watts usage), for $30-35.
You can find more at Lowes by visiting the garden center. There is a Pondmaster model for about $30, which is adjustable and specifies it can lift water to 5 feet. That is the one to get.
The goal of this device is to cool the ducks in summer, and to aerate the small pond to prevent stagnation and prolong water changes. The sound is also soothing.
Step 4: Complete the Fountain
Center the bucket fountain in the pool, and secure the lid.
Step 5: Route Your Power Cord
Route your power cord carefully. Make sure not to create a tangling or tripping hazard.