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21 Must-Have Outdoor Toys for Kids for Summer

21 Must-Have Outdoor Toys for Kids for Summer

My kids have been counting down the days to warmer weather since basically December. They love to run around in the backyard, chasing each other, playing with friends and generally being carefree kids in the warm sunshine. 

My husband and I work hard each spring to make our backyard a summer oasis. We fill it with outdoor toys for the kids to play with so they never have to say “I’m bored!” A lot of our tried-and-true must-have outdoor toys actually come from the dollar store, where we purchase enough to have on hand in case one doesn’t work or is broken accidentally while the kids are having fun. 

So, without further ado, here my favorite outdoor toys for summer.

21 must-have outdoor toys for your kids for summertime

  1. Bucket of Chalk: Chalk is the number one must-have item for your summer. The possibilities a bucket of chalk provides are endless! Draw out a hopscotch grid, make a mural, create a tangle of roads on the driveway for kids to navigate with bikes and scooters… I could go on! 
  2. Scooters: Scooters are a fantastic outdoor toy, especially if you have young kids who can’t yet ride a bike. Not only are they super portable (stick them in the trunk and take them to the park!), but they are great for kids to bring along on walks with mom or dad. 
  3. Water Guns: Water guns are a great, cheap accessory for summer fun! Host a water gun fight in the backyard with friends. Make sure to leave out a large bucket of water so kids can easily refill. Another fun activity? Dye some water with food coloring and fill water guns with the colored water. Spray the dyed water on fences or driveways for a fun, colorful activity. 
  4. Sandbox: A sandbox is so much fun for kids! You can buy inexpensive plastic sandboxes at your local store, or, if you are good with DIY projects, you can make one yourself! My husband built a DIY sandbox for our girls years ago and it was used almost daily for years! 
  5. Swing: If you have the space for a web swing in your front or backyard, I can’t recommend this product enough! These swings can hold multiple kids at once and are a fun spot to enjoy time solo or with friends.  
  6. Rubber Ball: There are so many possibilities a simple rubber ball can offer. Gather the neighbor kids and play kickball, or dodgeball if you are able to purchase multiple balls. Play basketball or work on soccer drills. Teach the kids to play Four Square or PIG. The list goes on and on! 
  7. Trampoline: My husband postponed purchasing a trampoline for years, but once we became trampoline owners, we couldn’t believe we didn’t do it sooner. We have a large trampoline, and our girls will play on it for hours. You don’t need a large trampoline if you have little kids- a small trampoline would be fine. Just something to let the kids bounce out their endless summer energy! 
  8. Croquet Set: I loved playing this game with my dad as a kid. Croquet teaches kids how to aim a ball. It can be played solo or with multiple players and is an old-fashioned yard game that is fun to play for all ages. 
  9. Sprinkler: A sprinkler is a great way for kids to play and get wet in the warm summer weather. Whether you get a sprinkler specifically made for play or a sprinkler that both waters your lawn and entertains your kids, you can’t go wrong. 
  10. Slip’N’Slide: A Slip’N’Slide is such a throwback to my childhood! My siblings and I used to love racing down those slick sheets in the hot summer sun. We also used to love riding our big wheels down the version that had spraying water. Because getting wet when it’s hot outside is always fun! 
  11. Hula Hoop: These simple toys can be picked up for $1 a piece but can provide so much fun! Teach kids how to Hula Hoop and see who can last the longest. See who can throw them the furthest, use them to make an obstacle course, or see if kiddos can eat a Popsicle and twirl it around their hips simultaneously. It’s harder than it sounds… 
  12. Laser Tag Set: This is one of the pricier toys on this list, but, if you have older kids, these sets are so much fun! Have them play in broad daylight or at dusk. They can run around, hide and try to beat their opponents. They will wear themselves out with this fun game! 
  13. Water Balloons: How much fun are water balloons? Have a good old fashioned water balloon fight. Or have races to see how quickly kids can race with water balloons balanced on spoons or tennis rackets or even on flat palms. If the water balloon falls and breaks, they have to start over! 
  14. Kiddie Pool: Kiddie pools are a great way for kids to hang out in the water when going to the pool isn’t an option. Kids can bring bathtub toys or measuring cups and spoons in to the pool to entertain themselves and cool off for the afternoon. 
  15. Lawn Darts: Lawn darts is fun for all ages! Buy an inflatable lawn darts set and then challenge kids and adults alike to a game of lawn darts. Most even come with a vinyl mat that has a target so you can keep score. 
  16. Cornhole Set: Host a backyard Olympics this summer and see who is better at cornhole! Challenge the kids by continuing to back up each time you get the bean bag through the hole. Work at it all summer to see how far you can get from the board and still make the shot! 
  17. Tent: Pop up a tent in the backyard and let the kids have fun in it! Encourage them to eat meals together in the tent and host a backyard camp out or two!  
  18. T-ball or Baseball Set: A great game or t-ball or baseball with siblings and friends will never go out of style! Teach kids how to properly hold a bat and how to pitch (or simply how to hit a ball off the stand). Or just toss the baseball around. Always fun! 
  19. Slide: If you have younger kids, a slide is a must. Pour water down the slide on really hot days or have the bottom of the slide feed into the kiddie pool mentioned above. Fun! 
  20. Pool Noodles: Have kids play a game of Limbo or host a Joust using pool noodles. Turn them into imaginary horses and have a horse race. Get creative with these inexpensive toys. Challenge kids to find new uses for them outside! 
  21. Ride-on Toys: Bikes, mini push-cars- anything with wheels is so fun! Have kids ride mini push-cars through the sprinkler and call it a car wash!  

About The Author

Stephanie Jarrett

"Stephanie Jarrett is passionate about all things: family, parenting, travel, and budget-friendly tips. As a Texas-transplant and girl mom of three, she’s a resident expert for ApartmentTherapy.com, Pearachute Kids, Hawaiian Falls, OKC Tourism Board, Livie & Luca, Mox Shoes, Arlington CVB, many more. When she isn’t on a road trip with her three girls, exploring museums, parks and more, she’s probably curled up on the couch with the latest NYT bestseller and a glass of red wine. Follow her adventures in Dallas/Fort Worth and beyond at EverythingArlingtonTX.Blogspot.com.

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