Our Favorite Outdoor Toys For Kids at Every Age
With warm weather on the horizon, it’s time to start getting ready for more outdoor time with your children. Time spent outside is beneficial for all of us, especially kids. There’s nothing like the creativity and imagination that can stem from being in nature – or even just your back yard. To help encourage outside play, I’ve put together a list of my favorite kid’s outdoor toys. Don’t forget things like hats, sunscreen, bug spray and water-friendly wear to make outdoor time safe, healthy, comfortable and fun.
Are your kids always up to something? Keep their activities outdoors with fun and games that encourage active and imaginary play. To help narrow your search for the perfect kid’s outdoor toy, here are some suggestions for babies to teens, listed by age.
Outdoor Baby Toys
Let’s start with the little ones. Outdoor toys for babies are generally simple. All we need is to find safe outside spaces for them play.
Blanket: Baby blankets aren’t necessarily a toy, but they can help facilitate play for a baby outside. It’s a good idea to have a couple of dedicated “outside blankets.” You can use these blankets at home, at parks, the sidelines of fields for older siblings’ sporting events, etc.
Nesting cups: Put a baby on a blanket with nesting cups, and watch them enjoy the sunshine (with sun hat and sunscreen applied!) with this simple toy. Nesting cups can hold baby’s attention for quite some time, especially if a parent or sibling is playing along.
Pool float with canopy: To help a baby explore water in the warmer months, nestle them in a pool float – a miniature version of a floating tube designed especially for babies. One with a canopy helps with sun protection, as well as visibility for baby since it blocks the sun. A lazy float in the pool with your child is a great way for baby to experience the wonder of the water.
Baby swing: Whether you have an existing play set you can attach a baby swing to, or just a convenient tree branch or something similar to hang a swing from, this toy is a wonderful investment. A baby swing is something you can often find on the second-hand market. Swings bring countless hours of joy to baby.
Toddler Toys for Outside Play
Being outside with toddlers is fun because they thrive in nature. They are old enough to really start to enjoy some outdoor games, activities and toys. As with any toy, make sure your child is always supervised by a parent or responsible adult and you follow all safety precautions.
Bubbles: Bubbles are a classic, and you just can’t go wrong with them for toddlers.
Chalk: Another really simple outdoor activity that definitely shouldn’t be overlooked, chalk provides terrific opportunity for kids to create.
Kite: When my daughter was two-and-a-half years old, she fell in love with kites. She wasn’t adept at flying them on her own at that age, but she adored running around with one. She was delighted when the wind would catch the kite just right and it would fly for a while.
Water table: Water tables are consistently ranked among the most popular outdoor toys for toddlers, and it’s no wonder why. Play in water is invigorating for young children. Water tables have built-in components for play, and can also be changed up by introducing other elements. You can throw in measuring cups and other things from the kitchen and house to keep play fresh.
Mini trampoline: Get those little bodies bouncing, moving and grooving!
Kiddie pool: During a hot day, a kiddie pool can be both a place to play as well as a space to cool off and avoid getting overheated. Just be sure to observe all safety precautions.
T-ball set: T-ball sets are fun, and they help hone hand/eye coordination.
Scooter: Scooters are another awesome way to get toddlers active, as well as work on skills like balance.
Keep kids entertained outdoors with activities like jump ropes, binoculars, and books.
Set your kids up for fun in the sun with games that encourage physical play like paddle ball.
Outdoor Toys for Ages 5-9
Elementary-aged kiddos are at prime outdoor play age and they don’t need as much supervision to keep them occupied. There are many great outdoor toys for them to help engage their creativity, encourage physicality and practice socialization.
Gardening supplies: Arm your child with kid-sized gardening gloves and tools, and they’ll go to town playing in the dirt. It’s also a great opportunity for them to learn about how plants grow.
Tricycle or bicycle: Riding a tricycle or bicycle is fun for kids, plus it’s a great form of exercise.
Stomp rocket: Elementary-aged kids are able to make some really impressive things happen with stomp rockets. A stomp rocket is a foam toy that (except for versions that light up) that requires no batteries or fuses to launch. Place the foam rocket on the launcher, which is attached to a foot pedal, stomp and watch it go.
Trampoline: This is a great way to encourage movement outside, and fun for siblings or friends to enjoy bouncing on together.
Archery set with suction cups: Archery is a fun activity for either an individual child to enjoy, or for multiple kids to engage in. Archery helps develop focus and hand-eye coordination. The suction cups for tips make this type of archery safe.
Giant bubbles: Lift your child’s bubble game at this age, with the big bubbles. Plan on enjoying this activity with them, because it’s a blast for everyone!
Scavenger hunt game: You’ll encourage exploration of nature with a scavenger hunt game (fun for the whole family, too!)
Rainy Day Fun
If the weather isn’t nice enough for outdoor play, there’s still plenty of fun to be had inside too! Make learning fun with STEM toys.
Adventure fun for Ages 10-12
Tweens have lots of energy, dexterity, and tend to love very physical outdoor games. Many tweens also like toys that foster scientific discovery and exploration.
Saucer tree swing: Saucer tree swings are fun for all kids, but they’re a more elevated, “grown-up” swing for older kids.
Metal detector: See what kids can find out in the world with a metal detector.
Light-up hula hoop: Hula hooping is tricky to master, but this light-up version makes it feel more enticing.
Roller blades: Roller blades let kids cruise around in style, they’re fun, and they promote exercise. Don’t forget the helmet and wrist and knee guards.
Glow-in-the-dark capture the flag game: This game will let the whole neighborhood of kids in on the fun on a summer night.
Telescope: Let your child’s exploration go wild as they get a close-up view of the constellations with a telescope.
Slip ‘n slide: A slip ‘n slide is arguably the most fun way to stay cool on a hot summer day.
Fun for Ages 13+
It’s critical to encourage kids to be outside, especially as they get older and more attached to electronic devices. Some of these outdoor toys might help lure them out:
Zip line: Whipping down a zip line is a blast, and no one can say no to these. What a treat to have one in your own back yard.
Hammock swing: This gives a young teen an option to be outside while doing other activities like homework or hanging out with friends.
Kick ball set: Kick ball encourages teamwork, good-hearted competition, and time outside.
American Ninja Warrior set: Even the coolest 13-year-old won’t be able to resist giving this set a try. These sets of hurdles, hoops and obstacles, usually based on climbing, swinging, or jumping, can develop strength and agility in the style of American Ninja Warrior.