Toddlers love to be outside. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or other outside space you can by all sorts of things to keep them entertained. The trouble is there is almost too much choice. For that reason I have written the guidance below of choosing outside toys for toddlers.
This post contains affiliate links (identified with a *), if you buy after clicking you’ll pay the same price but I will receive a small percentage.
Factors to Consider when Choosing Outside Toys for Toddlers
There are a few factors that you’ll want to consider to help you choose the best outdoor toys for your toddler.
How Much Space you Have for Outside Toys
If you have a big garden you can of course fill it with as many toys as you like. If its smaller, or even just a balcony you’ll want to think carefully about what you choose. Playground equipment is great if you have the space but if you don’t it has the benefit of being more exciting when they go to the park. If space is limited I would focus on water play toys as these are small but provide a lot of fun.
What Your Budget is
When choosing outside toys for toddlers, you need to consider whether you have only a little bit of money to spend or are you looking to invest in something for the long term? For us, the garden toy we have had the most use from is without doubt out trampoline. We decided to skip the toddler size and went straight for an 8 foot one. This is has been used pretty much daily all summer, every summer and my kids are now 7 and 10.
If you only want to spend a small amount then a bottle of bubbles and a cheap paddling pool will get you the most bang for your buck (and peace from your toddler).
Your Toddler’s Attitude
Some toddlers hate messy play. If your toddler does then stay away from sand play and possibly bubbles and water play too.
If you have a toddler who is very careful, you might want to consider something for them to climb on to build there confidence. If you have a risk taker you might find a climbing frame, swings or slides too much for your stress levels!
You can also consider their interests. If they love copying you then a mini gardening set or toy lawnmower might go down well. If they are sporty then a football on a goal could be fun.
Types of Outside Toy you Could Choose
There are a huge range of different types of outside toys you could choose. Below I have listed them in categories and highlighted the key features.
Water Based toys – The Number One Outside Toy for Toddlers
When choosing outside toys for toddlers, my number one pick would be a water based toy.
If you want something that doesn’t need quite so much supervision the a water table is a good idea. This one from Little Tikes* was a big hit with my kids when they had a go with it on holiday but it is quite pricey, this is a more budget friendly option*.
If you want to splash out then an Aquaplay* is a lovely toy. It’s almost like a water based rain set with boats instead of trains. I took ours to a summer fete once and every toddler made a beeline for it.
You can also create your own water toy which your toddler will probably love just as much with an old washing up bowl and some cheap containers.
I used to beg my Mum to get a swing* for our garden when I was a child and now my children do the same to me but alas, our garden isn’t quite big enough. If you’ve got multiple young children remember that if you have a swing you’ll need to keep an eye out to make sure they don’t run in front of it.
Slides can be great fun in the garden and can also be put together with a paddling pool to create a makeshift water slide. Its worth buying a fairly large one* otherwise you won’t get much use out of it before its outgrown.
As previously mentioned, our trampoline is our most used outside toy. You can buy toddler ones* which are small and lower the likelihood of falling or go straight for a full size one* that will last for years.
You can also buy mini basketball hoops* for toddlers if yours happens to have particularly good hand eye coordination.
A simple bottle of bubbles can provide hours of amusement. If you buy the giant ones* its a good idea to attach the bottle to something like a table leg with masking tape to stop little hands from spilling it. Bubble machines* are also great if you’ve had enough of blowing.
While my mum would never had considered sand in the garden, its pretty common these days. You can go for a sandpit* that is big enough for toddlers to get in or a sand table*. Make sure you get something that can be covered as otherwise your neighbourhood cats will use it as a litter tray.
You can buy some lovely gardening sets* for children and these can be great if you want to stat showing them how food and flowers grow. There are also lots of toy lawnmowers* if they want to mimic you, including ones that blow bubbles*.
These are great for role play games and have the added benefit of giving you somewhere to store your toddler’s outside toys. We had a plastic one like this* which lasted a good five years but you might prefer an attractive wooden one*.
A Toddler Bouncy Castle
If you want to go all out why not buy your own bouncy castle*? They don’t have a huge amount of longevity but your toddler will have great fun with it. Just beware that are noisy and not cheap to run.
So that’s everything you need to know about choosing outside toys fro toddlers. Which outdoor toys do your toddlers like the best? Let me know in the comments. If you’re invested in other toddler toys, check out my guide to choosing ride on toys for toddlers and the 6 Essential Toys for Toddlers
Enjoyed this post? Why not pin it for later!