15 Best Outdoor Toys for your Backyard

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With the onset of warmer weather, we’ve been spending a ton of time playing in our backyard. It’s so fun 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!

We generally try not to overdo it with our toy purchases. Let’s be honest, half the time kids don’t play with things as much as we hoped or thought they would. The items on this list are what we’ve narrowed down as the absolute best/most essential outdoor toys we could come up with.

Here are our top fifteen choices for outdoor toys to make your backyard a place that your kids (and you) will love!

1. 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.

I never knew choosing a swing could be overwhelming, but there are tons of options out there! These saucer swings seem to be the thang right now, or you can go the traditional route with a standard swing. Remember all the fun you used to have on tire swings? And don’t forget this one for baby!

2. 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. A mud kitchen was one of the first outdoor toys I new I really wanted for our little guy! Check it out here for some ideas on how to set up a mud kitchen of your own!

3. Gymnastics Set

I’m all about outdoor toys that are physically challenging, help develop strength, and improve gross motor skills. Our little guy is kind of clumsy and for a while he seemed to be a little behind other kids his age as far as physical ability.

He was also an only child for four years of his life, so he doesn’t have a sibling to run around with and encourage physical activity yet. One thing that’s helped a ton is this gymnastics set. We love that it can be set up inside and out. During the winter, we still got a ton of use out of it in our basement!

4. Pool

small boy playing in pool-  best outdoor toys

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! Even though there are now inflatable pools with seats and backrests, awnings, and all other manner of frivolity, we chose this classic pool. It’s a decent size for kids and there’s enough room for adults as well, even though you won’t be swimming laps or anything. If you want a smaller option for your wee one, try this one for babies and toddlers!

5. 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 is one of the highest rated options.

6. Fire Pit

small boy sitting by fire- best outdoor toys

While this might not exactly fit under the category of outdoor toys, it’s definitely a form of endless outdoor entertainment that the whole family can enjoy! 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.

7. Bubbles

Super simple, but one of the great joys of summer! We love multi-packs like this one with the long, skinny wands for the best bubble blowing! And it comes with back-up for all those inevitable spills.


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

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!

9. Archery Kit

I’ve always thought archery was an epic hobby! It’s a classic. Also, it makes me think of summer camp. Which I never actually went to, but I love the idea of it. This is what we currently have for our four-year-old. For older kids or teens, this is a great option.

10. Gardening Tool Set

Even if you don’t have a 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 .

11. 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? Or how about this adorable cottage style play house?

12. Teepees and tents

canvas teepee outside in backyad- best outdoor toys

I suppose you could technically consider these another type of fort, but they’re also a great place for your kids to chill or play camping 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.

We’ve had this teepee since our son was one and he’s had so much fun with it!

13. 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!

14. Sprinkler

Sprinklers are one of the most classic outdoor toys for for some good ‘ol summertime entertainment! I remember having so much fun playing in the sprinkler as a kid! I’m still a fan of the classic sprinkler that just moves back and forth.

But if you wanna get fancy, there are all sorts of crazy, new-fangled options like this kiddie sprinkler pool or one that rotates in circles like this. No matter which option you choose, your kids are sure to have a ball.

15. Stomp Rockets

If your kids are into rockets (or even if they aren’t!) these are great outdoor toys for the backyard! Just load up the rocket, jump on the launchpad, and watch it fly!

Looking for more easy ways to have fun in your own backyard this summer? Check out these ideas for a backyard camping adventure or create a pirate treasure hunt!

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