As warm weather begins to emerge, all us parents are thinking the same thing- what are the best outdoor toys for kids to encourage independent play? Summer is of course a great time to bond with your kids but having fun backyard toys that they want to run out and play with on their own can help strike that great balance of together time and solo play.
I’ve spent a lot of time curating the ultimate list of the best outdoor toys for kids using a blend of items we own and love and items I am putting on their birthday wish lists. I hope this is a helpful resource for you as you consider which items will rock your own kids’ world or need ideas for birthday presents to give that will be big hits.
Not in the market to purchase anything now but never know what to get when the holiday season rolls in? Pin or bookmark this post to come back to when you need it.
Are you a mama to babies and toddlers? Then this list of summer essentials is for you!
Ok, now let’s dive into the ultimate list of the best outdoor toys for kids!
1 Hanging Tree Hideaway | 2 Slack Line | 3 Spider Web Swing | 4 LED Airplane 2-Pack | 5 Glitter Chalk | 6 Kuub | 7 Quick Release Bug Catching Tool | 8 Bug Discovery Lab with Book | 9 Geometric Dome | 10 Slip ‘n Slide | 11 Big Bubble Wand | 12 Water Soakers | 13 Adventure Girl Book
1 Hanging Tree Hideaway | My girls absolutely adore little nooks and crannies. Something about having a secret and cozy spot is so appealing to kids, and one that hangs in a tree and swings?! Even better. This makes for a perfect spot to read a book, take a nap, or act as a spy headquarters (I know my kids aren’t the only spy lovers out there…). Here is a smaller version too!
2 Slack Line | This is a seemingly simple toy that leads to a ton of fun and activity. Great for working on balance and agility, playing circus, or working on ninja skills.
3 Spider Web Swing | We have spent hours on this thing. We had a swing set which was great when the girls were toddlers, but as they got older, the swings felt for rickety and weren’t as exciting. This swing can go high and is fun for adults, too. It brings about many belly laughs! For smaller kids, this Swing-A-Ring option might be more comfortable (and it’s a little less expensive!)
4 LED Airplane 2-Pack | Summertime lends itself to late evening play, and while these airplanes are super fun during the day, the fact that they light up and can soar through the night sky makes them extra fun.
5 Glitter Chalk | I am not a glitter fan because it gets everywhere, so I don’t let it in the house. However on the driveway? It’s awesome! This chalk adds a sparkle to designs and makes drawing obstacles courses, flowers, or practicing letters that much more magical.
6 Kuub | Move over cornhole, Kuub is SO much more fun! David made our set, but if you don’t have the workshop set up, snag this kit because adults and kids will all love challenging each other in the fun yard game.
7 Quick Release Bug Catching Tool | Bug lovers (even the squeamish ones) will love this simple but brilliant tool. This no-harm bug catcher can be used inside for humane catch and release of creepy crawlers, or outside as a safe and easy way to get closer to observe bugs. Great for the budding scientist!
8 Bug Discovery Lab with Book | Skip the cheaply made bug habitats and get this quality set instead. It also comes with an insect journal to help kids identify, observe, and record all their creepy crawler finds!
9 Geometric Dome | This is a bit more of an investment, but it’s one you will certainly get your money out of. Climbing domes lend themselves to many more years of play than a traditional playset. From toddlers to big kids, this dome will provide hours of climbing and hanging fun!
10 Slip ‘n Slide | A staple of summertime, right? Only so many of these can be cheaply made or require gallons of dish soap to make the sliding actually happen. Speaking from experience, it’s worth getting one with bumpers so kids don’t fly off the side and investing in a more solidly made option means you can use it for a whole season and a couple years versus the cheaper made one and done option.
11 Big Bubble Wand | I have as much fun playing with these giant bubbles as the girls do. We were shocked at how well they actually worked and have spent many afternoons chasing and catching these massive bubbles!
12 Water Soakers | Step aside traditional water guns, these soakers are user friendly, hold 40 ounces of water, and boast a simple, sleek design. Whether you fill them from the hose or the pool, the kids will love chasing and hiding from one another!
13 Adventure Girl Book | This book is so cool. It’s worth clicking through to read the full description and reviews, but it’s basically the perfect outdoor guide for the adventurous, nature-loving, creative kid! From how to tell time by using the sun to how to build a shelter, to details on bird watching, making a rope swing, and how to play capture the flag, this book walks them through so many exciting ways to enjoy the outdoors!