Toys and Activities for Outdoor Play

By Published On: June 15th, 2023Tags: , ,

These entertaining picks offer fun in the sun all summer long.

Please note that some products listed are linked to affiliate websites, and we may collect a small commission on your purchase.

Once summer vacation arrives, parents suddenly find themselves with many additional hours to keep their kiddos engaged and active. While resting and the time to recharge are important to prioritize during the break from school, having a plan to continue learning in an entertaining way is key. Thankfully, play is a fundamental building block of learning, and children learn through play, fostering development, curiosity, problem-solving skills, and more.

While camps, visits with extended family, and special outings or vacations can add fun and creative play to the agenda, you’ll still need a few go-to activities to fill the long summer days. To help make the most of the warmer weather, we’ve compiled a list of outdoor toys and activities that will satisfy your child(ren)’s knack for boredom and get them out into the fresh air. What’s more, some of these products allow you to “sittervise” (supervising from a seated position—what a concept!), so the whole family can enjoy being outside together.

Splash Pad Water Table

Water tables are always a hit with little ones, but some tots can’t easily reach high enough to play. This Splash Beach Water Table and Splash Pad from Little Tikes is situated on the ground so kiddos of all ages can cool off and explore the included features like scoop-and-pour cups, a flowing fountain that circles the base, a waterfall lighthouse, and a toy slide. We love that this setup accommodates sitters (with adult assistance), standers, and big kids alike while encouraging group play. A hose can also be attached to the side to make a sprinkler for extra water entertainment, and when finished, it folds compactly for easy storage. Ages 2+

Obstacle Course Set

If your kids are already making obstacle courses out of household items (the sofa cushions, laundry baskets, and your good throw pillows), you need this customizable Bolder Play Obstacle Course Race Set for indoor or outdoor play. Each kit includes one height-adjustable hurdle bar for jumping over or crawling underneath, one limbo bar, two inflatable bouncing balls (hand pump also included), four agility rings, and start and finish lines. Your little ones will have fun rearranging the pieces to make different courses and then challenging each other to races, keeping them focused and physically active. All pieces break down for simple storage at home or for travel. Reviews of this product mention the size of the bouncing balls being geared more toward toddlers, so keep that in mind if you have older kiddos. Ages 3+

Creative Chalk

Give kiddos the royal treatment with TWEE Made Gemstone Chalk. This handmade 12-piece set comes with pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple chalk designed specifically for little hands and made with eco-friendly materials. While all sidewalk chalk is great, an elevated set may spark even more creativity and excitement. Ages 0+

Festive Float

For your transportation-loving toddler, this Private Jet Float from FUNBABY will be love at first flight. It features a deep saddle-style seat with an integrated backrest for keeping your child comfortably in place, an interactive steering wheel that turns and honks, and a removable shade for added protection while playing in the water. (Note: This is not a safety device. You should always accompany your child in the water when using this product.) Ages 1-3

Kid’s Weed Trimmer

Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, or any other household duty, children love to emulate what they observe. Let your little one take a shot at the thrill of routine lawn maintenance with this Fat Brain Toys Weed Trimmer Pretend Play Toy that looks and feels like the real thing. When your child presses the on-button, the “blades” light up green and spin while making realistic motor sounds. A helpful carry handle makes it easier for smaller hands to move this toy around, and the length can also be adjusted between 22 and 25 inches to fit your kiddo better while they enjoy imaginative role-play. Ages 3+

Water-Play Wall

This bright and cheerful TEMI Waterfall Maze-Like Wall is genius because if there’s one thing children enjoy, it’s pouring water into and out of separate containers. By combining buckets, ramps, watermills, and other accessories in one place, this standing toy creates countless waterfalls your little one can follow from top to bottom. It’s easy to assemble and clean, and weighing in at less than 6 pounds, it can be moved around as needed. Each wall is double-sided and comes with an impressive set of 32 toys. Ages 4+

Toy Lizards

The secret to an afternoon of outdoor adventure may be found in this simple Litter of Lizards pack by Melissa & Doug. Great for counting, sorting, hide-and-hunt, and pretend-play activities, these reptilian friends with bright colors and dramatic markings come with multiple uses and foster an interest in nature. And don’t worry if one or more of your lizards gets left out in the elements; the sturdy plastic construction can withstand the weather, rain or shine. Ages 3+

Seated Scooter

For parents of mini thrill-seekers, this EzyRoller Classic Ride-On Scooter is a blast. The self-propelling design featuring an extendable foot bar allows riders to start moving by pushing left and right without using pedals. The seat is oriented to remove strain and pressure from the lower back, and the hand bars situated on both sides are equipped with direct hand brakes for quick and easy stopping. Each scooter comes with two steel extension bars to grow with your child up to 150 pounds. Ages 4+

Car Washing Kit

If your little ones ask to help you with your to-do list, send them outside for a classic car wash by hand. This SCRUBIT Kids Car Wash Activity Set comes with a kid-sized foldable bucket, extendable squeegee, microfiber mitt, wheel brush, and three cleaning cloths; just add a kid-friendly soap, and they’re in business. Each tool is quality made and effective, so your wee cleaning crew can see what a little elbow grease can accomplish. This kit is great for vehicles, trikes and bikes, scooters, construction toys, and anything needing a good scrub. Ages 5+

Flower Bubble Machine

It’s always a party when there are bubbles, but it’s really a party when you’re not the one blowing them (and dripping soap all over your sandals). The Maxx Bubbles Flower Pot creates big continuous bubbles for popping, chasing, and playing. It includes a watering can for “watering” the flowers with bubble solution, four wands, and a 4-ounce solution refill. Once you’re finished with bubbles for the day, this toy can be used as a sweet display until its next use. Ages 3+

Raised Sandbox

Water is fun and all, but maybe you’re wee one prefers to play with sand. But because sand is, well, sandy and prone to get gross, a table with a fitted lid is an ideal combination to keep things nice and clean(er). This Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table has an open design allowing multiple children to play together simultaneously, and it comes with sand scoop claws and a bucket. The top of the lid features elastic tie-downs for added security and molded roadways, providing an additional play surface for the table while covered. And if you’re not into sand (we get that!), this table also works well with beans, rice, macaroni noodles, or anything else that creates a sensory experience. Ages 2+

Jumbo Badminton Set

When tiny players join the game, oversized rackets are in order. This Jumbo Badminton Set from The Toy Network includes two lightweight rackets with a large surface area that makes contact easier, and a multi-pronged birdie that bounces from all sides. Once you both get the hang of it, you may be surprised at how much fun this classic recreational game can be when playing with those you love most. Ages 4+

Foldable Kiddie Pool

Show of hands if you don’t like inflatable toys—especially pools. Not only do they cause you almost to pass out while your kids insist it’s taking “forever,” but they’re also often hard to store and keep clean year-round. That’s why we’re fans of the Jasonwell Foldable Kiddie Pool that’s ready to use in a snap and can be quickly drained and stowed away with less effort. The thick, durable material is slip resistant for children and pets; just be sure to avoid dragging your pool on the driveway, and remember to trim your pup’s nails beforehand to avoid punctures and leaks. Ages 0+

Reusable Water Balloons

Water balloons have come a long way in recent years, and thankfully, there are now more sustainable options that offer the same fun concept without harming the environment. These Reusable Magnetic Water Balloons by SCUATANBE boast a magnetic, self-sealing closure that makes refilling each balloon a breeze (so it’s great for pools!), and when thrown, the sack splashes quickly on contact, just like the real thing. Unlike traditional balloons, these are made with soft, food-grade silica gel that’s safe for children and doesn’t pose a choking hazard to babies. Each balloon can be used up to one thousand times, making this set a great one-time investment. Ages 3+

Inflatable Dinosaur Sprinkler

Dinosaur fans will not be disappointed with this ginormous Pottery Barn Dino Inflatable Sprinkler that stands a whopping 6 feet tall and almost 8.5 feet wide. An included hose connector shoots water from the dino’s mouth, creating a summertime shower your kiddos will flip over. While a bit of a splurge, this toy would be great for a summer birthday party and can be used for years. However, you might consider purchasing an automatic pump (sold separately) to save yourself from manually inflating this giant (see reference to passing out above). Ages 3+