Outdoor play is essential for toddlers.
It’s an excellent way for toddlers to get some exercise and fresh air and learn essential motor skills like climbing, jumping, and problem-solving.
Being outside also allows children to explore their surroundings and socialize.
Finding the perfect outdoor toy for a toddler can be a big task. Great outdoor toys for toddlers can hold a busy kiddo’s interest, will grow with them, and are safe while offering a bit of adventure.
This article will discuss the best outdoor toys for toddlers that will reinforce skills like imaginative play, gross motor skills, and more.
Some outdoor toys that make this list may turn into your family’s favorite outdoor toys.
What is a toddler?
According to the CDC, toddlers are children ages two and three. Ages three through five are considered preschoolers.
This age range is rapidly developing and learning crucial skills at lightning speed. Outdoor toys give these toddlers a great way to practice some of those skills and burn up some excess energy that children of this age seem to store.
At this age, toddlers should be able to follow basic two or three-step directions, which is excellent for learning to play with outside toys with you. You can encourage their direction-following skills by giving them various goals when outside.
For example, if you have a water toy, pool, or bath toy that you are using outdoors, start by asking them to do simple things, such as, “Please show me your red seashell toy.” Then demonstrate to them several times which toy this is.
After a while, they will start following directions better.
As time passes, you can start making directions more complex, and the toddler builds skill and confidence.
For example, you can expand the above direction over time to be, “Please put the red seashell toy on the top of the slide, and then sink the green toy.”
Interacting with children of this age is crucial to encourage learning.
While independent play is essential, you should also be there sometimes to play with your child, so they can learn to be more social, read social cues, and learn to share.
Best outdoor toys for toddlers
According to reviewers, studies, consumer reports, sales, and customer and parent reviews, the following are some of the best outdoor toys. You may recognize some of these suggestions from your own childhood!
1. Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center
You won’t find a cooler kiddie pool than this one.
Kiddie pools are great for water play, keeping cool in the summer heat, and sensory play and learning. This one will encourage imaginative play, climbing, sliding, splashing, and more.
It has a shallow wading pool part and is great for sitting in, splashing in, and playing with water toys. There’s also another inflatable part that has a slide, ring toss, and more.
This kiddie pool is for children ages two and up, and its sturdy vinyl material should last several years.
2. Swing a Ring
If you have trees in your yard, this sturdy saucer swing is the best swing you can get, according to Fat Brain Toys.
Swings are outdoor toys that all ages can enjoy, and this one can hold a few kids at once and makes outdoor play an adventure.
It has a steel tube frame and thick rope and can hold over 200 pounds.
This outdoor toy you can trust is sure to give you hours of fun for your kids.
3. Soccer goals
A classic outdoor toy, soccer goals are great for sports for big kids, little kids, multiple kids, anyone! This is one of the best outdoor toys because you can set it up anywhere, and all you need is a ball to use it.
This will help to teach skills like hand-eye coordination, kicking, dribbling, and more.
4. Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table
Having a water table is a great way to get through a hot summer day outside.
Warm weather fun isn’t much better than this if you get this water table by Little Tikes.
Kids can learn cause and effect, work on their fine motor skills with the Ferris wheel, and engage in fun pretend play while staying cool.
Voted one of the best toys for outdoor fun by parents and consumers on Amazon, this toy is sturdy, comes with toys for toddlers to use in the water, and will prove to be a fun toy for years to come.
5. Step2 Wonderball Toddler Funhouse
This ball pit and play house feature the best of both worlds. There are mazes in the walls, a tube to send the balls down, and lots of room for hand-eye coordination skills to grow and to encourage active play.
This is one of the best outdoor toys for toddlers, but if you want to bring it to the playroom or basement with your other indoor toys, it’s also great for indoor play!
It comes with twenty balls, an operational mailbox, and all the fun of a play house. Great for kids aged eighteen months and up.
6. Jasonwell Sprinkler for kids
A splash pad is perfect for beating the summer heat and encouraging cause and effect and backyard fun. Older kids will enjoy cooling off in it, too.
This large inflatable splash area also has sprinklers that can keep multiple children engrossed, as well as keep kids cool.
With its alphabet print on the bottom, it’s fun and engaging, easy to inflate and store, and it is a backyard toy everyone will love.
7. Sidewalk chalk
Sidewalk chalk is a simple item to purchase for your toddler, but it will provide some of the best fun to be had outside.
Parents don’t often think of it when they consider getting new outdoor toys, but every child likes to draw, and your toddler can get artsy on the sidewalk, in the driveway, and anywhere else you allow them to draw.
8. Happiness Turtle Steps Balance Stepping Stones
This is one of the best backyard toys for small kids because it combines the fun of Twister with the coordination and exercise used in an obstacle course.
The best part? It’s super easy to pack up and put away. Try doing that with most other obstacle courses!
9. Step2 Play and Store Sandbox
A sandbox is a classic toy, and this one makes outdoor playtime one that your kids will look forward to every day.
This one can stand up to the elements, has a sturdy lid, and even has built-in seats, so your toddler doesn’t have to sit directly in the sand to play.
10. Little Tikes T-Ball
This affordable and simple toy is great fun for the whole family.
All you need is a little outdoor space and a few people to play, and you’ll have so much fun playing classic T-ball.
This teaches coordination and depth perception and gets kids moving.
Kids love involving the whole family, and this is a great toy to make that happen.
11. Bubble machine
A bubble machine is a wonderful tool to help turn your own backyard into a magical place that goes from miserable on a hot day to fun in the sun.
Kids can chase the bubbles, dance in the bubbles, or sit and watch the machine churn out all sorts of fun bubbles.
12. Bubble mower
Like a ride-on toy, Bubble mowers allow kids to role-play and engage in imaginary play that helps them do everything from problem-solving to cooperation and exploration.
They see mom or dad mow the grass, and they want to do it, too. A little bubble solution and a mower later, they’re pretending to be dad cutting the grass.
13. Play Kitchen
You can pretend it’s a home, a restaurant; you’re a chef, a mad scientist…the possibilities go on and on. You can make mud pies and deliver them to family members with your toddler.
This toy tends to be a huge hit for kids of various ages.
When the weather gets cold, you can quickly move these toys into the house so your child can play with them all year round.
14. Ride on toy
Many parents, even kids, will attest that the best outdoor toy is the ride-on.
With training wheels for younger toddlers, these toys come in many sizes, shapes, styles, and price points.
If you want a simple one, you can get toys a child has to propel with his feet or legs. Others have many extra features: batteries, accelerators, and even realistic sounds!
15. Little Tikes Fold N’ Store Picnic Table with Market Umbrella
One of the best outdoor investments you can make, this toy pairs well with a play house or cottage and can accommodate several children.
Having lunch outside under the umbrella is a great way to have a bit of a picnic, but your toddler won’t have to sit on the ground.
16. Toy dump truck
Sites like Toy Insider still hold the classic truck toy as one of the best outdoor toys for toddlers. It pairs well with a sandbox or as a standalone toy.
It’s great for pretend play, problem-solving, and just having fun.
Toys may have become more high-tech and modern over the years, but few toddlers out there won’t adopt a truck toy as a favorite toy within an afternoon of playing with one.
17. Little Tikes Jump N’ Slide Bouncer Bounce house
These are wonderful for parties, play dates, or just a fun day outside.
It takes less than a minute to inflate this toy fully, and it folds up for easy storage after it’s deflated.
With slides, a climbing wall, and lots of space to hop and jump around, this will help little kids get the pent-up energy out of their systems after spending the winter cooped up in the house.
Make sure there is always supervision when toddlers use a toy like this.
A final note on outdoor toys for toddlers
Kids may like the idea of a backyard full of complicated toys and fancy equipment to climb on. However, a child two or three years old is just as happy most of the time with a large cardboard box to play in and an involved parent as they are with a swingset or bounce house that costs hundreds of dollars.
Never break the bank to keep your child entertained.
Learning to entertain yourself is a skill that fewer children are learning in this world of instant gratification. It’s okay for kids to be bored sometimes.
Hopefully, this article has given you some inspiration and ideas of what you want to add to your own outdoor area for your toddler to play with.
Toys that grow with a child and aren’t overly complicated are vital if you want your kids to engage with them and keep an interest in them.