It’s no secret that outdoor play is important for toddlers. For a long time now, research has continuously shown that kids who spend time outside have increased focus, better physical health, and better sleep (source).
I’m all about opening the back door and letting my toddler entertain herself, but let’s be real. When you live on a quarter acre that can get old quickly.
If we’re aiming for around 3 hours per day outside like some research suggests, best believe our toddlers will need some outdoor toys to switch things up!
Not just any outdoor toys though – we want the outdoor toddler toys that are durable and useful, nothing that will break in a week or create clutter in your backyard.
Most importantly, the toys that will promote imaginative play and physical development, leading to many joyful hours spent outdoors.
Looking for the best outdoor toys for toddlers? You’ll find a range of ideas on this list, from simple and affordable to flashy and fun.
No matter what kind of outdoor toddler toys you’re looking for, you’re in the right place!
Here are our top picks for outdoor toys for toddlers in 2021.
The Best Outdoor Toys for Toddlers in 2021
Trampolines are great for tiring out your high energy toddler and building those gross motor muscles! Add in a ladder and a slide, and you’ve got yourself one happy (and strong) tot.
Indoor play kitchens are a staple in most homes with toddlers, but have you tried a mud kitchen yet? Allowing your toddler to actually mix up some magic can be frightening indoors, so take it outside with a mud kitchen for HOURS of worry-free, messy, imaginative play. You can also DIY your mud kitchen – check out this tutorial to learn how.
Scooters promote balance and coordination, plus they’re just plain fun. In addition to important gross motor development, learning how to push off the ground, balance while gliding, and steer will also require your toddler to use essential motor planning skills.
- Affordable option: Radio Flyer My First Scooter
- Long lasting (with light up wheels!): Micro Kickboard Mini Deluxe
In order to learn how to ride a bike, kids need to understand how to lean into a turn. This doesn’t happen with tricycles or training wheels. Balance bikes allow your toddler to learn how steering affects the overall balance of the bicycle, and how it feels to lean with a turn. Once this skill is mastered, learning to ride a regular bicycle is a breeze!
This can actually be used as a push walker for babies as young as 9 months, and a ride on toy for toddlers up to 3 years. If you have a baby and a toddler you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. Keep in mind the weight limit is 44 pounds – so if you’re only shopping for an older toddler it might not be worth it.
Some days the simplest things provide the most entertainment. Gross motor development is a given when playing outside, but sidewalk chalk allows your toddler to incorporate fine motor skills into outdoor play, too. Whether you’re practicing shapes, creating a sidewalk mosaic, or just scribbling, sidewalk chalk is always an affordable hit.
Related: Super Easy DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Obviously you could just buy regular bubbles and blow them manually, but let’s be real. You could also buy a bubble machine and sit outside sipping coffee while you watch your toddler frolic happily. The choice is yours.
Water tables make the perfect outdoor toddler toy because they can be used for so much more than just water. If you’re hesitant to try a sensory bin indoors, just take the mess outside and use your water table as the bin! You can keep it super simple with just water and measuring cups, or add water beads, bubble bath, mud, you name it. Anything that involves scooping and pouring is always a hit with toddlers.
Related: Easy Bean Sensory Bin
Instill an early love of yard work in your toddler with this fun bubble blowing lawn mower push toy. Hopefully you’ll thank us when they carry this love into the teenage years!
In addition to gross motor development, sports also promote social skills, coordination, and problem solving. Here are a few simple options your toddler will love:
- Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set
- Kids Soccer Ball with Mini Goal Net
- Little Tikes T-Ball Set with Balls
- Bean Bag Toss Game Set
This is the exact inflatable pool we have. My toddler is OBSESSED. I love that the ladder to climb up the slide is inside the pool – many models have the ladder on the outside. This was sold out almost all summer, so grab it while you can. Use it as a ball pit during colder months!
Climbing and sliding on this playset will help your toddler develop gross motor skills while having fun outdoors. This playset features a climbing wall and slide, along with an area below that can be used as a sandbox, hiding place, or even storage.
If you have a sturdy tree in your yard, definitely consider adding a platform swing. Not only are they fun and relaxing, platform swings are frequently used in occupational therapy settings to encourage sensory integration. With sensory processing disorders on the rise, a platform swing makes a great addition to your toddler’s outdoor play area.
Does your toddler have a favorite outdoor toy?
Let us know in the comments! For more ways to play with your toddler, check out these related posts:
- How to Make Sidewalk Chalk Paint (super easy!)
- Indoor Activities for Toddlers (at home)
- No Mess Smush Painting for Toddlers