What are the best outdoor toys for kids?
Kids love to build, dig, jump, create and bounce on things when they’re outside! The best outdoor toys are the ones that fit what your kids are interested in!
Inside this post you’ll find a variety of outdoor toys and tools for toddlers, preschoolers, and older! They are organized into 10 categories based on the type of play that they might be used for.
- construction play
- vehicle play
- pretend play
- sensory play
- water play
- ride on play
- creative play
- sports play
- jumping play
- backyard games
Having great outdoor toys can make a big difference in how kids play outside! You don’t need a lot of outdoor toys, but you need the right toys for your kids and their interests.
As you are deciding what toys to invite into your backyard, patio, or to store for outside play in your garage, you want to think about a few things.
How to decide what outdoor toys to buy?
- What are your child’s current interests?
- What might be useful to have a year from now? (When I purchase a toy I try really hard to not just to think about here and now, but the longevity of the toy and how it can work with a variety of ages/stages of kids)
- How will I store it? (So many toys are fun, but just aren’t practical if you have a small storage space or small yard/patio).
- Will it hold up to all kinds of weather?
- Is it sturdy?
- What sort of adult supervision will it need?
- How many kids will be using the toy?
Here are our top picks for the best outdoor toys and tools for kids! These items are tried and tested by my kids, neighbors, friends, my students, and cousins!
These toys are ones that encourage open-ended play and low involvement from adults.
The Best Outdoor Toys & Tools for Kids
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These construction tools are great whether you have a dedicated mud pit or rock pit or just a big patch of dirt where kids can play!
RELATED: Build your own Backyard Rock Pit
Outdoor vehicle play can be so fun! Use whatever materials you can find to make ramps and roads. We love our vinyl baseboard roads and vinyl rain gutters for inexpensive vehicle play fun as well.
Pretend play is awesome in the mud kitchen, playhouse, or in a fun fort.
The outdoors inspires so much sensory play! All you need is a pile of dirt. You can also use a sand/water table or even make some foam! The possibilities are endless.
Sensory bin (underbed storage bins)
These toys and tools are great for summer time when its warm! They can also be fun if you have a kiddie pool or in ground pool.
Ride On Play
Kids love to move! These toys that you can ride on make family adventures and backyard play way more fun!
Whether you have an outdoor easel or just an old sheet that you throw over a fence, there are so many ways to be creative outside! These are some tools we love to use as we pull out the washable paint or other materials to create with.
Vinyl Tablcloth (a great tool to put down on the ground or on tables when you are doing art or sensory play)
These ball themed activities can be awesome for a variety of ages. Balls encourage kids to work on gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Volleyball net (plus pickleball, soccer, tennis, and badminton)
Help your kids get their energy out and have fun moving with these awesome toys that you can bounce and jump on. We have had all of these toys for almost a decade and the are consistent hits with all of the kids that come to our house.
These backyard games are great for kids who love more structure to their outdoor fun. They are best for kids who are interested in following directions and working with teammates to play a game. They can also be fun to play together as a family with multi-aged kids and adults can team up with any littler kids.
Other outdoor toys and tools to keep around for play/activities
- Wood blocks and boards
- Cardboard boxes
- Pool noodles
- Old sheet (spray with spray bottles or paint it)
- Shaving cream
- Washable paint
- Dollar store muffin tins
- Bubble wands
Do you have any other favorite outdoor toys we should add to our list? What is played with the most at your house? Come share in the comments.