Best Toys For Outdoor Fun
It’s springtime, and the weather is finally warming up, making it the perfect time to create an amazing backyard setup for your little ones. Spending time outdoors is so beneficial to growing babies and toddlers, and gives them plenty of space and opportunity to move their bodies, stretch those muscles, and practice and refine their motor skills. Even if you have a small backyard, there are plenty of wonderful toys options so you can create an amazing outdoor playground for your young children. Due to the pandemic, our children have been cooped up far longer than they ever have been before, so it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air with your families!
Here are our top backyard essentials for creating a fun environment for your babies and toddlers:
1. A playhouse
Children love playhouses for imaginative play. Playhouses come in all shapes and sizes, or you can even buy a used one and refurbish it to make it match your child’s unique style! Invest in a playhouse that is durable and will last throughout many kinds of weather. You’ll also want one that provides many opportunities for play, such as windows that open and close, a lock on the door, a doorbell, a mailbox, a sink, a garden, and more! You can decorate the exterior of the house with a welcome mat or a tiny wreath on the door, and you can let your little one decorate the interior with pictures, a floor mat, plastic chairs, and anything else you can think of!
2. A play tent
A play tent (or a real camping tent) is so much fun for kids to play in. It provides them with shade, is a perfect spot for hide-and-seek, and gives them a private space to play independently. You might want to consider buying a tent that folds easily for storage, so you don’t get any unwanted bugs or animals crawling into the tent when it’s not in use. You can fill the tent with blankets, pillows, small toys, and books!
3. A bounce house
Even though you can rent bounces houses for parties and gatherings, you can also own one for yourself! There are small inflatable bounce houses available at toy stores and online that can be a great way to get your kids’ energy out during long spring and summer days! Bounce houses can be used indoors and outdoors - just put a mat down if you’re going to use it outside so it doesn’t get a hole or a tear.
4. A bubble area
Babies and toddlers love bubbles. They’re fun to observe, blow, and chase around the yard! Young babies can lay on a blanket and watch bubbles drift by, admiring the bubbles’ shapes and colors while they develop their eyesight and object tracking skills. If you have a young baby, you can just blow bubbles and let your little one watch them fly away. If you have a toddler or older child, you might consider buying a bubble machine or some small containers of bubbles for them to practice blowing. You can buy mini containers of bubbles, bubble wands, bubble guns, and bubbles that come in special containers that won’t spill.
5. A ball pit
A ball pit is a lot of fun for little ones! Once your baby is old enough to sit up, a ball pit is the perfect addition to your yard! You can buy plastic balls online, and fill up a baby pool, an inflatable raft, or a large bin. Your baby will have so much fun picking up the balls, tossing them, and burying her feet underneath the balls. This can be a great way to talk about colors and shape with your little one, too!
6. A water table
Water tables come in all shapes and sizes, and are so much fun for little ones! Babies and toddlers love to play with water, and it’s a great activity for the hot days ahead! Some water tables come with toys, slides, scoops, and other objects to play with. Others have part of the table dedicated to water, and the other part for sand. If you don’t have a lot of shade in your yard, opt for a water table with an umbrella to protect your little one’s sensitive skin! When the weather cools down, the water table can be repurposed as a sensory bin.
7. A sensory bin
A sensory bin is a great activity for little ones that can be done inside or outside (but when it’s done outside, it’s a lot easier to clean up!). You can buy a sensory bin online or in stores, or you can also use a plastic tub or an old water/sand table. It’s helpful to have a sensory bin that has a lid, so you can save your materials for multiple uses. Some sensory bin ideas include play dough, water beads, sand, pom-poms, dyed rice or pasta, “cloud dough,” shaving cream, or just plain water. Once you’ve chosen your “base,” you can use your imagination and fill the bin with whatever other materials your child enjoys playing with: scoops, measuring cups, cars, animal figurines, and more!
8. A slide or swing
Children love to move their bodies and develop their muscle strength. If your child can walk and climb, a slide is a good investment. If your baby is 6 months or older, you can also buy a baby swing to hang in your yard. Infant swings are versatile and can last well into toddlerhood, so don’t be afraid to purchase one when your baby is still small.
9. A baby pool or splash pad
A spring and summer activity everyone loves is playing in water! Invest in a quality baby pool or splash pad for your child to play on. Baby pools come in all shapes and sizes, and are perfect for inflating on hot summer days. Splash pads are easy to use because all you need is a hose - the water shoots into the air for plenty of fun!
10. A bike or scooter
Toddlers can benefit from little scooters or bikes even before they’re big enough for real bikes with training wheels. There are plenty of options for tiny bikes and scooters specially designed for little ones. Opt for a scooter with two wheels in the front and a large kickboard, which makes for easier balancing. If your toddler isn’t interested in peddling a bike, you might opt for a “balance bike” which is essentially a bike without pedals. As your child scoots along, they develop the skills necessary for balancing on a real bike someday.
11. An art area
Outdoor art projects are so much fun, and help contain some of the mess! Investing in a quality easel can open up a lot of art opportunities for your child. An easel allows for drawing, painting, stamping, coloring, sketching, and many easels also have a side for chalk or dry-erase markers. Some easels are even magnetic, so you can let your child play with magnetic letters or shapes. Get your child a big box of sidewalk chalk for outdoor art time. Some companies make chalk in large, egg-like shapes that are easier for tiny hands to grip. Older children might enjoy drawing with liquid chalk markers. You can let your child draw with chalk on the cement, or you can buy a chalkboard for them to draw on. Other art supplies you might want for outside are: large poster board, dot painters, spray bottles, paint brush rollers, or modeling clay.
12. A climbing toy
Toddlers need space to move their bodies, and an outdoor climbing toy provides a perfect way to do so! You can buy a dome-shaped, metal climbing toy, or you can buy other climbing toys with slides or swings attached. Even in a small yard, a little climbing toy can be a lot of fun!
13. A sandbox
If your baby is past the stage of putting everything in her mouth, a sandbox can be a great investment. Make sure you get a sandbox with a cover, to protect it from weather, animals, and pests. Beach toys are so inexpensive and can be used to fill the sandbox. Older toddlers might enjoy searching for items like Easter eggs or gold coins buried in the sand. The possibilities are endless!
Whether you have a large property or small yard, there are many ways you can create a fun outdoor environment for your child to enjoy as the weather warms up. Now is the perfect time to shop for new backyard toys before they go out of stock for the season!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.