Top Outdoor Toys to Encourage Play

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The sun is finally shining where I live and I couldn’t be more pumped to share our top outdoor toys to encourage play!

Yes, my kids go outside in all types of weather but it’s certainly easier to get them to stay outside without me for extended periods of time when the weather is more mild, the birds are singing and the hose is available for water play.

Getting kids outside is so important for their physical, social and emotional health and making sure to have some awesome open ended and engaging toys specific for your outdoor playspace is crucial. 

Here is a list of some of our top toys for outdoor play. Some are a little less traditional, but I promise you they allow for hours of fun.

15 Must Have Outdoor Toys for Kids

1. Mud Kitchen

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 dedicated for children to play with dirt, rocks, sand, mud, water…

It’s designed to to invite your children to play for hours–making mud pies or stone soup. You may need access to a hose to clean them afterwards, but the fun is well worth the mess. 

We absolutely love this one by our friends over at The Monarch Studio. Not only is this a small mama run business, but her values closely align with ours and that makes supporting her even easier.

2. Sensory Table

She also makes a sensory table which is perfect for outdoor sensory play. The bins are interchangeable so you can easily switch from sand, to water, to rice, to whatever else you can dream up to throw into a sensory bin. She even sells rainbow colored rice!

3. Rock play food

To add to your mud kitchen I recommend these awesome pieces of rock Play Food they encourage imaginative play, are super durable and are the perfect weight for little hands.

4. Pots, Pans and Cooking Utensils

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 a great outdoor toy to have for all ages.

5.Real Gardening Tools

We always include our children in practical life skills. Since we have a yard, that means yard work. We love this set of kids Gardening tools and have one for each kid.

6. Magnifying Glass

We recently got our kids this beautiful wooden Magnifying Glass and they love to use it outside to inspect bugs, grass, and flowers.

7. Wheelbarrow

A Kid sized wheelbarrow is a great addition for any kid who is interested in cars, trucks and things that go. 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 in order to give them a sense of purpose and allow them to actually contribute to the task at hand.

8. Ride on Digger

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. 

9. Micro Mini Scooter

For some serious gross motor play add one of these scooters to your list, the Micro Kickboard with these little streamers is our favorite. It has an easy to adjust height, 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.

10. Climbing dome

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 difficult 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.

11. Fort building materials

If you want to actually give them some serious fort builder capabilities then get this Fort building kit there are so many amazing things kids can create with this thing–and added bonus is that building reinforces STEM concepts.

12. Sidewalk Chalk

Chalk is a staple of summer. I really love these Ooly ones because they are dustless and they are more similar to the look and feel of crayons. You can use them on such a variety of surfaces.

13. Rain barrel

I mentioned this in another article because I think it’s a must have for anyone who has a gutter and wants to keep their kids entertained for HOURS. This Rain barrel 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 to waste water from the hose. It’s also a great way to reduce your water use if you water plants.

14. Walkie Talkies

I really love finding unique ways to encourage independence in my kids and these Walkie talkies allow me to do that. The kids love to take them out to talk to each other but it’s also a fun way for them to “call” for me.

15. Stroller Wagon

On a related note, if you’re in need of outdoor wheels to cart your kids to the beach, around town, over hilly grassy knolls or whatever other outdoor adventure you’re taking on, consider getting a wagon instead of a stroller.

The Veer and the Keenz are great options. We can fit all three kids and our puppy in our Keenz. We love it for the beach as a shady spot for the baby to nap, it even has a cooler.

Interested in getting your little one to play independently?

Check out my Purposeful Playspace e-course to learn how to create a space for your children that invites them to playin ways that are more engaging, purposeful and independent.

Want more information about how play impacts your child’s development?

Check out my e-book: Simply Play: Everything You Need To Know About The Most Important Part of Childhood

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