15 Best Outdoor Toys for your Backyard

With the onset of warmer weather, we’ve been spending a ton of time playing in our backyard. And yes, it’s partially because a global pandemic happened and basically made this one of our only options for outdoor activities. But even before that, I always loved the idea of creating an awesome backyard space that makes you want to spend time there. And while I love nature play, there are so many great outdoor toys that can enhance the space as well!

Since this is the first summer of my entire life where I have my own backyard, I’m pretty excited. But my husband and I aren’t the go crazy and buy everything type. We evaluate and plan and buy the absolute best things that we think will add the most value. These are our top fifteen choices for outdoor toys to make your backyard a place that your kids (and you) will love!

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Swings.

I’ve never met a kid who couldn’t swing for hours and hours. Seriously, our little guy would probably go forever if we didn’t put a stop to it at some point. For this reason, swings are one of the essential outdoor toys for any kid-friendly space.

There was already a tire swing up in our backyard when we moved in, but I’d also love to have a basic swing like this one even a disc swing that you can climb when our dude gets a little older.

small boy in mid-air on tire swing- essential outdoor toys

Mud Kitchen.

Another thing kids can’t resist is mud. Why not embrace it? It’ll literally entertain them for hours, especially if you have the right set up. There are plenty of awesome ways you can DIY this! But if that’s not your thing and you’d rather just buy something, there are some pretty amazing options out there.

I normally try to DIY before I buy, buuuut I do really like this one. And at the moment of posting this, it’s actually available for Prime shipping on Amazon, so I might have to act quickly on that one.

And don’t forget to include all the accessories like pots, pans, spoons, muffin pans, baking trays, etc.! You could always thrift some old used stuff if you don’t have any of your own items to spare, or there’s this set.

Climbing Net or Rock Wall.

I’m all about outdoor toys that are physically challenging. A rock wall is a great way to get kids moving and build upper body strength! And it can be pretty simple to build your own wall with these. This rope ladder would also be an awesome addition to a tree house or sturdy, low hanging branch.

Pool.

Pools are one of the greatest outdoor toys of all time, as evidenced by the fact that they can be enjoyed by those of all ages, from babies to adults! Again, much like my choice in sprinklers, I’m a fan of the simple things.

This is the pool I have my eye on for the summer. I like that you don’t have to inflate it and that it folds up for easy storage. Because ain’t nobody got time to search for that tiny hole that single-handedly deflated the entire pool and ruined your kids whole day.

small boy playing in pool-  best outdoor toys

Sensory Play Table.

This toy is a great outdoor play option for toddlers. Younger kids can be entertained for hours with sensory play, and it’s such a great learning opportunity for them! This particular water table seems to be on of the highest rated options.

Fire Pit.

While this might not exactly fit under the category of outdoor toys, it’s definitely a form of endless outdoor entertainment! You can create amazing experiences around a fire. In fact, when we moved into our house, one of my very first purchases for our yard was this fire pit! I just love the idea of having fires frequently as a family.

small boy sitting by fire- best outdoor toys

Bubbles.

Super simple, but one of the great joys of summer!

Tunnel.

This one can be fun for even the littlest ones to crawl through and explore! Now that our little guy is a bit older, we love using it as part of a larger obstacle course that we build. The more elaborate, the better! We’ve had this one for a while, and it’s been well used inside and out!

small boy crawling through a play fabric tunnel-essential backyard toys

Archery Kit.

I’ve always thought archery was pretty awesome, even before movies like the Hunger Games came along. Maybe because it’s just so epic and old-school. Also, it makes me think of summer camp. Which I never actually went to, but I love the idea of it. So when our little guy is just a tad bit older, I plan on getting an archery set like this one.

Gardening Tool Set.

Even if you don’t have a full fledged garden, these still make great outdoor toys that kids will find plenty of uses for. Mine loves to dig holes, so even just providing a small area of dirt where kids can play and dig would suffice. You can also just plant a few herbs in pots to provide something for the kids to water and watch grow.

We have this large yard tool set, which our son uses all the time on his own or to help us out when we’re raking, planting, or just to play in the dirt. We also have this smaller set that he loves, especially the watering can and small shovel .

small boy holding watering can- best outdoor toys

Play Fort.

Forts are one of the quintessential outdoor toys of childhood. While there’s something fun about creating your own rustic shelters from natural materials, it can also be amazing to have something that feels more like a living space. Except this one is dedicated completely to play and you don’t have to worry about messes like you do in your actual living space!

A good play fort can literally entertain kids for hours day after day. And some of them are so darn cute I actually want to move in! Seriously, where was this play house when I was a kid?

small boy peeks out window of playhouse- best outdoor toys

Teepee.

I suppose you could technically consider this another type of fort, but it’s also a great place for your kids to chill while they’re outside. I could see my childhood self bringing along some books or a drawing pad and some snacks and hanging out in one of these for a good portion of the day.

A teepee is one of the very first outdoor toys that I bought for my son back when he turned one (although we’ve also used it indoors). I couldn’t find the exact one we purchased, but this one looks very similar, but with some added bonuses.

canvas teepee outside in backyad- best outdoor toys

Mower.

Most of the time, I not a fan of buying my son toys that imitates a real thing we already own that he could easily use just as well. But one item that he obviously can’t actually use is our lawn mower. But he absolutely LOVES his play mower.

I’m convinced kids just want to do what they see their parents doing and feel like they have a real task to accomplish! Whenever I mow our lawn, Finn gets out his own mower and pushes it around the yard with me at the same time!

Super Soakers.

Squirt guns are one of those essential outdoor toys for optimal water play in the summer. Epic water gun fights are a classic part of childhood, yes? We currently have some tiny squirt guns that I bought when my little dude was younger. But now that he’s learned the concept of super soakers, he’s been asking for an upgrade. With a birthday in mid-summer, I’ve been thinking these might be the perfect birthday gift!

Sprinkler

Another classic for summertime entertainment! I remember having so much fun playing in the sprinkler as a kid! I’m still a fan of the classic old sprinkler that just moves back and forth. But if you wanna get fancy, there are all sorts of crazy, new-fangled options for those of you that aren’t grumpy old ladies who resist change (like myself). No matter which option you choose, your kids are sure to have a ball.

With even just some to the toys on this list, you and your family will be all set for some amazing outdoor entertainment. What a great way to set the stage from some awesome childhood memories spent playing outside!

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