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Getting kids outside is so important for their physical, social, and emotional health.
Unfortunately, many kids today spend too much time inside on screens (anywhere from 4-9 hours a day, yikes!) This can have negative consequences for their physical and emotional health. So counteracting screen time with outdoor time is crucial!
The good news is that there are plenty of amazing (and unique) outdoor toys that can help get your kids outside and active!
By making sure to have some awesome open-ended and engaging toys specific to your outdoor play space you can almost guarantee more time spent playing outside.
Here is a list of some of our top outdoor toys for kids. Some are a little less traditional, but I promise you they allow hours of fun.
Our number one must-have outdoor toy is a mud kitchen. What is a mud kitchen, you ask? It’s an incredible outdoor kitchen space for children to play with dirt, rocks, sand, mud, and water. It’s designed to invite your children to play for hours--making mud pies or stone soup. You may need access to a hose to clean them afterward, but the fun is well worth the mess.
If your child needs more encouragement to get dirty, these recipe cards are the way to go. They give you easy "recipes" to use in your mud kitchen. No mud kitchen? No worries. Your child can use a bucket or a simple tray to get started.
Adding running water to mud play is quite possibly the best possible way to get kids playing for HOURS on end. We love this water faucet add-on to our mud kitchen because it's a safe and easy way to exponentially increase the amount of time playing.
Even if you don’t want to get a full-on mud kitchen, I suggest getting an Outdoor pots and pan set. They are a fun way to bring kitchen play to the outdoors. Kids love to scoop, pour, strain, and bang pots and pans, so these are great outdoor toys to have for all ages.
I love giving walkie-talkies to my children because it gives them a sense of independence. It's a way for them to communicate with friends or us that is wholesome and fun. They love to play a version of hide and seek or just run around and talk to each other from random places all over the house or yard.
These adorable stone fruits are a great way to encourage imaginative play outside. Children love to use these to pretend to cook or to get dirty and then wash with soap and water. They are the perfect weight for little hands.
I think it’s a must-have for anyone who has a gutter and wants to keep their kids entertained for HOURS. This can easily collect water when it rains for kids to use for play. They love to turn the spigot on and off, and practice measuring and pouring. They use the water collected to make mud, so we don’t have waste water from the hose. It’s also a great way to reduce your water use if you water plants.
Another gross motor toy to grab if you have any yard space at all is this Climbing dome. It does take some time to put together, but not because it’s complicated it’s just tedious. But so worth it. Kids can climb, jump, and hang upside down. If you have a large sheet, you can let them throw that over the top to make a fort.
Give kids soap and water alongside this whisk to get them playing for hours! This simple tool develops hand strength and coordination as the child has to spin the handle around and around to make bubbles. If you have multiple kids, make sure you get one for each kid!
For some serious gross motor play, add one of these scooters to your list; the micro mini is our favorite. It has an easy-to-adjust height and a break (but my kids still insist on just dragging their feet behind them to stop), and you can get accessories like bells and lights as add-ons.
Loose parts are an incredible way to spark imagination and creative play. This kit is going to bring the beach to your child. Add a little kinetic (or real) sand to create the ultimate beach sensory experience.
Another great outdoor toy for kids who are interested in trucks and digging is this awesome ride-on digger. There is one with and without wheels, depending on if you want this thing to be mobile, or not.
A Kid-sized wheelbarrow is a great addition for any kid interested in cars, trucks, and things that move. It’s great for collecting sticks or helping move small rocks. We try to give the kids small jobs within the job we are doing to give them a sense of purpose and allow them to contribute to the task at hand.
One way to bring STEM learning to life is to give children a microscope and allow them to examine their surroundings up close. You can use these to do lessons on the make up of different plants, seeds, leaves or just let them find interesting things to look at!
We always include our children in practical life skills. We love this set of gardening tools because they are REAL. Steel and wood. They last forever, and work just as well as the adult version which encourages our children to participate.
How many hours would your child play if given a bar of soap and water? MANY. Kids love washing things, so take advantage and get this adorable soap dish. Add on a simple natural bar of soap, some water, and dirty toys...and let the magic happen.
These beautiful flowers make the perfect addition to any garden or mud kitchen play. They are made of stone so that they will withstand the elements. Use these as inspiration to collect real flowers or leave to color match!
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