Buying good backyard toys for toddlers is key to a fun-filled outdoor adventure for the whole family. Exposing your child to the wonders of the great outdoors is a crucial part of their childhood development. There is hardly a better way to introduce them to Mother Nature’s lush playground than to incentivize them with some fun toys.
But not all toys are made equal. Some backyard toys for toddlers give your wallet a run for your money. Others are less pricey yet still deliver on all the other aspects necessary to make a good toy a great one. We’ll go through what makes a high-quality toy stand out from the rest and outline a few potential options.
Why Playing Outside Is Good for Your Child
Some parents shy away from bringing their young ones outside for multiple reasons. Firstly because of the weather: They may get sick or fall and hurt themselves. Secondly, they can’t control everything that comes their way when they are outside. If you play indoors, there are only so many places your child will get to. But outside, you’ll have to be extra vigilant to make sure your kid is having fun while staying safe.
But there are plenty of reasons why you need to bring your child outside as whenever it is safe to do so. First and foremost, the sun provides our bodies with Vitamin D. This vitamin is essential to several aspects of human development including bone growth and strengthening immune systems. Your toddler should also become accustomed to and grow to love the surrounding nature. Digging holes and playing alongside towering trees and blooming flowers allows them to connect with Mother Earth. Exercise is also an essential aspect of play, something that is easily achievable outdoors with lots of room to run around.
These reasons are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of playing outside. Which is why investing in quality backyard toys for toddlers is a great move. This enables parents to play and supervise their little ones while in the comfort of their own home.
As previously mentioned, venturing outdoors with your toddler means increased supervision. Not only must you be wary of the surroundings, but now you’ll have to watch out for environmental dangers. This includes sharp objects, things kids can trip over (rocks, debris, etc.), and the toys themselves.
Before releasing the kids to play outside, check all of your toys for wear and tear. Does the mini slide have a break in it that could harm your toddler? Was a toy broken during the last playdate and need to be thrown out? Have any of the toys been left out in the rain? If so, check if there is any dirty water in the toys and (if possible), wash them before use. These are dangers you’ll need to be more careful with due to being outside exposed to nature. Although beautiful and revitalizing for both your and your children, you’ll need a little bit more care before venturing outdoors.
How to Choose Backyard Toys for Toddlers
When buying backyard toys for toddlers, there are a few things you should consider. Just because the manufacturer painted it a beautiful, bold color does not mean it’s an excellent choice for your child. We’ll go through some things you should think about before saying bon voyage to your money.
Is it educational?
We know what you’re thinking: If a toy is educational, it can’t possibly be fun! Yet so many adults grew up with an abacus and (without realizing it) learned simple math skills all on their own. But toys don’t all have to be math-based to be educational. Some of them teach children other life-long skills such as sharing or speaking skills. Others focus on socialization and help develop problem-solving early on in a child’s life. The games you already own probably taught your children plenty of lessons without you even knowing. But now that you’re on the lookout for backyard toys for toddlers, you’ll hone in on toys focused on teaching your child along the way.
Does it inspire creativity?
Inspiring creativity in your child is yet another aspect you should consider when buying backyard toys for toddlers. At this young age, practically anything tugs and plays with the strings of their imagination. So thankfully, this is an easy thing to consider. Put yourself in your child’s shoes when you’re looking at a toy you might buy. What would you do with it? What scenarios could you play in your head? Could you transport your mind to another dimension and have a wonderful time with this new toy? If the answers are a resounding “yes,” then you’re on the right path. If even you, as a parent, get excited by what you could do, then you’re definitely on the right track!
Does it promote activity?
Unlike teenagers, you don’t have to tell a toddler twice to go and play outside. This is both an advantage and a slight hindrance. On the one hand, you’ll need to be super vigilant when your little one is running around wildly. On the other, they’re getting the exercise they need to tire them out enough for a nap or a good night’s sleep.
When buying backyard toys for toddlers, consider how your toddler will react. Does the toy make them want to run around and play? Or does it encourage sitting and concentrating? Although it may stimulate activity, it may not inspire them to flex their brain muscles. Contrarily, it may inspire problem-solving skills but won’t motivate them to run around.
How long until your child grows out of it vs. price?
This section is particularly important if you’re buying on a budget. Backyard toys for toddlers sometimes cost a pretty penny. If your child grows tired of it after a mere year or two, the price tag may feel exorbitant. However, an expensive toy is worth the price tag if your toddler plays with it for most of their childhood.
Some backyard toys for toddlers withstand many years of play and adapt according to the child’s age as well. Furthermore, toys strong enough to withstand the weather for many years are worth considering. These kinds of toys are costly but are worth their weight in gold if your little one falls in love.
How Much Do Backyard Toys for Toddlers Cost?
The price tag is dependant on several factors. First and foremost is the quality of the toy, which usually coincides with its materials. Lower-quality materials equal a smaller price tag. However, it won’t last long with daily usage and probably won’t withstand being outdoors year after year. If you’re looking for a backyard toy for toddlers that is both high-quality and will last, prepare your wallet.
Size is also an important deciding factor. Smaller toys cost less because they don’t use as many materials or labor. Contrarily, larger outdoor toys (like gyms, sandboxes, or pools) cost more because of their size and design complexity.
How We Reviewed
We searched far and wide for the safest and most exciting backyard toys for toddlers. Using real customer reviews and feedback, we’ve shortlisted some exceptional backyard toys for toddlers.
5 Best Backyard Toys for Toddlers
Below are a few toys we think would make excellent choices for kids. There are selections for each season as well as some evergreen toys for all year long.
1. Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond
Available both on Wayfair as well as Amazon, the Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond is an excellent toy for families in hot climates. This toy keeps your toddler entertained and physical as they walk around the pond section, handling each toy. The main pond is a pool of water with ramps and buckets. The top part features a mini waterfall activated by water dumped into the top pool. Along with the two tiers, this package comes with three rubber toys, three buckets, a couple of tools, and a few attachable half-tubes to re-direct water flow. It costs $70 to $80, depending on the retailer.
Reviews for this backyard toy are mostly good. Over 530 Amazon customers gave this toy an average of 4.5 stars out of 5, while on Wayfair, this product averages 5.0 out of 5 stars with over 580 reviews. Buyers praise the product for providing plenty of entertainment to tire out their little ones. They’ve reported that not only do their kids love playing with it, but it has lasted them for more than just a few years. However, while the assembly was fairly straightforward, this product doesn’t have pre-drilled holes. That means parents must carefully look at instructions to pinpoint where they should drill to connect all the pieces. There have been complaints of the plastic being very tough, which makes drilling that much more difficult. Besides the absence of drill holes, this backyard toy is a huge success.
2. Hikole scooter
This Hicole Scooter is a great way to get your toddler active. For $50 to $65, this scooter enables your child to ride around either sitting or standing. It is available in four colors: blue, green, yellow, and pink. Two of their colors (pink or blue) feature LED light-up wheels for extra pizzaz. This scooter covers a couple of our considerations when buying backyard toys for kids: exercise and adapting to growth. Scooting around your backyard strengthens their leg muscles as well as their coordination. Plus, because of its adjustable handlebars and removable seat, this scooter adapts to toddlers until they are big enough to ride.
Customers deemed the Hikole scooter worthy of 4.0 stars out of 5 on Amazon. Seventy-seven percent of the 44 customers gave it a 5-star review, citing a very high-quality and sturdy product. Parents also love how the lights on the pink and blue scooters light up. Customers who rated the scooter in the middle love the ability to add or remove the seat because it enabled them to keep the toy for much longer. However, their qualms were with the seller’s lack of attention to detail during the packaging process. Most of the low-rated reviews complained of scratched or dented products as well as missing pieces.
3. Playground gym
One of the most memorable outdoor toys, when I was a kid, was the backyard playground. Its adjustable pieces made changing configurations fun when I was old enough to discover it could be taken down an re-assembled. Such is the case for little tikes’ 8-in-1 Adjustable Playground. Kids ages two to eight slide, hide, climb, and crawl all around this gym, creating endless adventures in their imagination. While the asking price is high ($460 to $550), this playground could last your family for many years to come.
This product is available on Amazon, Walmart, and the manufacturer’s website. There are 205 reviews on the manufacturer’s site with an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Amazon’s star rating is a little bit lower at 3.0 stars out of 5. Many manufacturer’s reviews praise the product on its durable plastic when exposed to daily use as well as weather conditions. They also adore the product for being easy to move, which is useful if it’s on grass and mowing the lawn is inevitable.
On the flip side, there are a lot of complaints on all three platforms about the manufacturer not selling replacement parts. The parts (particularly red ones) tend to fade easily under daily exposure to sunlight. But unfortunately, little tikes does not sell any replacements whatsoever. The other complaint is due to difficult assembly. However, one customer notes that the assembly is significantly easier when temperatures are warm, as the plastic is more flexible.
4. Simplay3 In & Out Activity Table
If you need backyard toys for kids to inspire creativity, this is the perfect activity table. Made to withstand the trials and tribulations of Mother Nature, this table features four different configurations. One side of the top is flat while the other is recessed. The two bins beneath the top are suitable for toy storage or filling up with either water or sand. It also features four cup holders, so snack time is less of a mess. This activity table transforms into whatever parents want it to be. It could be an outdoor arts and crafts table or an indoor block-building table. If that doesn’t sway your decision, this product received the 2017 National Parenting Product Award as well as the Parent and Teaching Choice Award. The Simplay3 In & Out Activity Table costs $75 to $95, depending on the retailer.
This activity table sells on Amazon as well as the manufacturer’s website, where its rated 5.0 stars out of 5 based on nine customer reviews. We’ll take a look on Amazon, where 23 customers rated it 4.5 stars out of 5. Most rave about the product’s sturdy build and ease of assembly. Customers also love the table’s versatility, as the side tables are perfect storage cubbies for children’s’ rooms as well. There are very few complaints about the product overall. One buyer saw similar products at a lower price after they’d already purchased the In & Out Activity Table and docked their review one star. The only other negative feedback comes from a customer who used this product with water. To facilitate cleaning, they wish the table had a plug at the bottom for drainage.
5. Garden tools
Parents searching for budget-friendly backyard toys for toddlers should purchase this set of kids’ garden tools. While they are marketed mainly for garden use, they’re also perfect for playing in the sand during a visit to the beach. This adorable set includes kid-sized garden tools like a hand trowel, shovel, rake, gardening smock, watering can, and a tote bag for tools and seeds. The gardening smock is waterproof and features three big pockets. The long sleeves have gathered cuffs to keep kids clean and dry.
The bright colors are easy to find in the backyard, too, should they become abandoned for other games. Best of all, it costs $25 to $35, depending on the retailer. Amazon customers rated this play set 4.8 out of 5 stars, lauding the product for its quality materials and sturdy build.
Which Backyard Toy Should I Buy?
The big question that takes the most effort is: which one of these great toys is worthy of your child’s attention? If you’re looking to invest in something your child will cherish for years to come, we recommend little tikes’ playground gym. While pricey, it keeps your toddler’s heart pumping, inspires plenty of imaginative scenarios, and lasts for many years.