The BEST Outdoor Toys for 3-Year-Olds (2023)
Looking for outdoor toys for 3-year-olds?
I have a list of the 20 best outdoor toys for 3-year-olds! All of these toys on this list will grow with your kids as they get older.
Let’s get started with some fun outdoor toys.
#1: Sand Table
This is one of my favorite outdoor toys for 3-year-olds! A sand table is an open-ended toy with endless possibilities for play.
This specific sand table is great because there are two sections for sand and water!
Ways to Play
Materials to extend play: magnetic letters/numbers
1. Sand handwriting- Practice handwriting skills by writing in the sand! Grab my FREE letter traceable, so they can look at the shape of each letter to recreate it in the sand.
Upper Case Traceable Letter Cards
Lower Case Letter Traceable Cards
2. Bury toys– This is kind of the same concept but with toys that they love! We hid our play bugs in the sand, and my son wanted to do this over and over again. Find some toys that won’t get ruined if you put them in the sand, and see if your kids can find them all! They can also count the items they found to add in some learning into play.
3. Open play– let the kids build with sand toys to create and explore the sand.
RELATED: Sensory Play Activities
#2: Kids Tricycle/ Balance Bike
This is a must-have outdoor toy for 3-year-olds. If you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait for your kids to start learning how to ride a bike!
What I love about this bike is that the pedals can come off and it can turn into a balance bike to help your kids really learn how to ride a bike.
Ways to Play
Materials to extend learning: toddler’s helmet and cones
Always have your little one wear a helmet when riding a tricycle, bicycle, or scooter!
1. Gently push- You’ll have to help your little one at first get the hang of what they are supposed to do with their legs and their arms to steer. At first, have them place their hands on the handlebars and their feet on the pedals. Gently push them, so it makes the tricycle move. They will see that the pedals start to move, and their legs will too! You also will have to help them steer at the same time.
2. Riding alone- Once they get the hang of what to do, the next step is to let them try it independently. I suggest having them do this on a straight away, so they don’t have to turn until their skills improve.
3. Set up obstacles- When your little one gets the hang of things. Set up some cones for them to practice weaving through them, or set them up in a circle formation so they can practice steering to make turns!
#3: Basketball Hoop
This basketball hoop had to be included in the best outdoor toys for 3-year-olds. I love it because it works on so many fantastic skills for preschoolers.
A basketball hoop helps kids with their hand-eye coordination, aiming skills, and shooting skills. This is the first introduction your kiddo will have to the game of basketball!
Ways to Play
Materials to enhance learning: poly spots and small basketball.
1. Lay-up practice– Set the poly spots up in a curved line heading towards the basket. If your child is right-handed, set them up on the right side and vice versa for the left side. Have your child dribble the basketball, starting at the first spot down to the last place closest to the basket.
To practice proper lay-up skills, have them attempt to shoot with one hand (give them the cue to aim for the square of the basket). After they can successfully make the shots with one hand, you can add the tip of bringing the opposite leg up from the hand they are shooting with. Have them put both of these steps together to complete learning how to do a lay-up shot!
2. Hot spots- Set up poly spots around the basketball hoop. Have your child try their luck at each of the different spots! Depending on your child’s ability, you can move the poly spots closer or further away from the net.
3. Timed shooting– Set a timer for 3 minutes to see how many shots they can make in that amount of time. As they get older, you can also do this and shorten the amount of time!
RELATED: 14 PROVEN Basketball Drills for 5-Year-Olds
#4: Bubble Wand Set
This outdoor toy for 3-year-olds is bound to be a hit. I love that this bubble set comes with so many options.
This bubble set will keep your kids busy all spring and summer long.
Ways to Play
1. Strike the bubbles- This is a HUGE hit at my house. I use the larger bubble wands to create a ton of bubbles, and the kids chase them and hit them with their own bubble wands or hands. As simple as it is, I promise that it’ll be a winner!
2. Blowing bubbles- Let the kids have fun exploring all the different types of bubble wands! They will enjoy checking out the differences between the bubbles that each wand will make!
3. Counting bubbles- Sometimes, toddlers have a hard time blowing bubbles. If you blow the bubbles for them, they can attempt to count how many they see! This is a fun way to work on counting skills.
#5: T-Ball Set
Here is another great outdoor toy for 3-year-olds to practice sports! This is the best baseball tee out there for kids.
We tried the cheaper plastic option when the kids were smaller, and it just kept falling over. This one will grow with your kids, and it’s super sturdy.
Ways to play
Materials to enhance learning: t-ball toddler glove.
1. Batting practice- Help your toddler understand how to hold the bat, have them stand at the side of the t-ball in batting position, and have them try to hit the ball off the tee!
2. Bat and run- After your little one learns how to bat correctly, set up some bases to have them run to! Have them hit the ball and run to all the bases the correct way.
3. Water balloon t-ball- Grab some of the water balloons and try your luck hitting the balloon off the tee! This is a blast on a hot summer day.
RELATED: Outdoor Games for Kids
#6: Garden Set
Gardening with my kids is one of my favorite outdoor activities to do with them. They enjoy planting, watering, and helping out around the house.
Gardening teaches practical life skills that kids can use for a lifetime. This is a fun outdoor toy for 3-year-olds.
Ways to Play
Materials to extend learning: gardening pots, acrylic paints, and paintbrushes.
1. Make gardening pots- Use acrylic paints so kids can create their own masterpieces on a little planter! Then, you can plant something inside of it when it dries, and they can be “in charge” of taking care of the plant.
2. Plant flowers- Get their hands dirty! Involve them in planting some flowers around the house. e kit I mentioned above has gloves and some supplies for them to help!
3. Plant fruits, veggies, or herbs in little pots- We LOVE going outside and grabbing some food from our yard. It tastes better, and it’s just fun that we created this at our house. Your kids will love going outside and helping pick the food. It’s also a great experience for them to learn how to create their own food by gardening!
RELATED: Spring Crafts for Kids
#7: Water Table
Are you looking to have some summer fun with your little ones? A water table is your perfect outdoor toy for 3-year-olds.
Playing with water always adds more fun to any play. Kids just gravitate toward it!
Ways to Play
Materials to extend learning: water beads, fine motor tools, tear-free soap, sponges, or toothbrushes.
1. Free play- Sometimes, you don’t need to plan a specific activity. Just let the kids lead the play! Let them enjoy just splashing in the water and creating their own fun. They may learn some new ways to play as well!
2. Add water beads- Water beads are such a fabulous sensory play filler! With this specific water table, they would be SO much fun. Kids can work on pouring and scooping skills. You can also add some fine motor toys so the kids can work on building those tiny muscles!
3. Toy wash- Grab some of your little one’s favorite toys and put them in the water table. Add some tear-free soap inside the water table so they can wash their toys. Give them a sponge or a toothbrush to clean the toys! Make sure to have some clean water available in another container or bowl so they can wash off the soap.
#8: Bug Exploration Kit
This is such a fun outdoor toy for 3-year-olds. Actually, it’s a great outdoor toy for kids of ALL ages. My son is 5, and he still uses this kit.
This kit allows kids to catch insects and explore them inside the cage! Use the fine motor tools provided to catch the bugs, then release them after they explore!
Ways to Play
1. Discover insects- This kit is made to be taken outdoors! Have your children lift rocks to see if there are any bugs under them. They can use their tweezers or scoop scissors to pick up the insects they see. They can then place them into the container to look at with a magnifying glass! After they scope them out, they can be set free back to where you got them.
2. Make a sensory bin- Use the toy bugs to create a fun insect sensory bin for the kids. We used fake grass, rocks, and brownie mix for the dirt! Add the bugs in, and have the kids play and explore!
3. Insect hide and seek- Yes, this is a thing at our house. I take the fake bugs and hide them inside and outside our house. The kids run around and have a competition to see who can find more bugs. They work on counting skills, and it’s a way to get them moving!
RELATED: Best Learning Toys For Toddlers
#9: Preschool Trampoline
This is the perfect outdoor toy for 3-year-olds that will grow with your kids! My 8-year-old even plays inside this trampoline.
I love this trampoline comes with a basketball hoop too! Kids will love jumping and working on their basketball skills.
Ways to Play
1. Free play- Let your kiddo jump their little hearts out! They will love just getting the chance to explore the trampoline and see what fun tricks they can do on it! They will burn off some energy and get some great exercise by using the trampoline.
2. Basketball play- Your little one will LOVE jumping and shooting it into the hoop. They can work on aiming skills from farther away as well!
3. Practice types of jumps- Practicing jumping skills develop gross motor skills! Here is a list of jumps to practice: straight, tuck, straddle, half turns, whole turns, and frog jumps!
RELATED: 20 AWESOME Exercises for Kids
#10: Telescope for Kids
This is an outdoor toy for 3-year-olds that will grow with your kids!
A telescope is a perfect way to teach your kids about space. This telescope is specially made for kids too, which is nice!
Ways to Play
1. Look at space- Show your little one how fantastic space is. Adjust the telescope so your child can see through it. You can use this telescope inside or outside!
2. Planet search- We have an app on our phones called SkyView. Download this app so it can help you spot where the planets are. Then, look through the telescope to see if you can see it!
3. Search for stars- While looking at space, have your child take a look at the stars! Point out constellations and see how many stars you can find.
RELATED: Hands-on STEM Toys For Kids
#11: Mud Kitchen
My kids are 5 and 8, and they still love making fun mixtures, potions, stews, whatever they want to call it with their mud kitchen.
Kids can use outdoor items like mud, rocks, leaves, flowers, and water to create with.
Ways to Play
Materials to extend play: pretend food+ supply playset.
1. Dramatic play- We have played restaurant, grocery store, cooking lessons, baking play, and many more dramatic play scenarios with our play kitchen. The kids love pretending to work in the kitchen to whip things up for us to pretend to eat. I love their imagination that goes into these dramatic play activities. It’s different each time we play too, which makes it still engaging and interesting to the kids.
2. Nature recipes- Let your kids get a little messy by creating concoctions with items from nature! Some examples could be mud, rocks, leaves, or flowers!
3. Teach measurements- This is a perfect time to talk to your little ones about measurements! Bring out those measuring cups and show them 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 1 cup! These are great beginning math skills. Let them explore using the cups with water or natural items while they are pretending to cook so they can see how much comes out of each cup.
RELATED: The 21 BEST Open-Ended Toys For Kids
#12: Sprinkler Splash Pad
This is such a wonderful outdoor toy for 3-year-olds. My mind is racing with all the fun learning possibilities that can happen with this toy!
Your toddlers and preschoolers will love splashing around on this little splash pad on warm summer days.
Ways to Play
1. Letter search- While playing outside with this toy, practice some letter recognition! While they are playing, ask them to stomp on certain letters. Some other ideas are to have them find the letters of their name, and you can even have them find the letters of the alphabet in order!
2. Cover the letters- With some water toys, have your little one cover-up the letter you shout out! They will love searching for the letters through the water. For beginners, start in one section and just do a few letters that are close to each other. For older toddlers, you can say any letter!
3. Animal sounds- Practice animal sounds by having your little one step on the animal, you say. When they step on it, have them pretend to be that animal by making the sound it makes or even doing movements!
RELATED: Alphabet Activities For Preschoolers
#13: Soccer Set
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world! In my opinion, it’s also the best sport for young kids to start with.
Kids get an excellent cardiovascular workout, learn how to play an organized sport, and practice some team-building skills by playing soccer.
Ways to Play
Materials to extend play: poly spots and toddler-safe soccer balls
*One note about the toddler-safe soccer balls: I recommend these. Getting a real soccer ball will be too tough for them to kick. These soccer balls are light and easy to kick!
1. Hot spots- Place the hot spots around the soccer net. Start by placing them closer to the net, so it’s easier, then you can push them back once their skills improve. Have them travel around to each of the spots and attempt to kick the ball into the net!
2. Dribble and shoot- Set up a series of cones for your child to dribble the soccer ball through. They can dribble the ball through the cones and then stop to shoot the ball into the net!
3. Receive and shoot-Pass the ball to your 5-year-old gently. They will run up to the ball and attempt to kick it into the goal. Repeat this drill several times!
RELATED: Soccer Activities for 5-Year-Olds
#14: 3 in 1 game set
I used to be a physical education teacher, and I can’t tell you how many times I broke out these three simple pieces of equipment for activities!
These cones, beanbags, and rings can be used for both play and learning activities. I enjoy incorporating learning into our play at home, and these three pieces of equipment can be used in an endless amount of ways!
Ways to Play
Materials to extend play: sidewalk chalk
1. Basketball dribbling- Set up these cones in a straight line. Have your kids practice their dribbling skills by attempting to bounce the basketball through the cones! If your toddler is having a hard time dribbling the ball, have them roll the ball throughout the cones. This is great for developing ball-handling skills!
2. Ring toss- Set the cones up in a triangle position as if they were bowling. Give them the rings and have them stand just a few steps away from the first cone. Have them attempt to toss the rings on the cones! Count how many rings they were able to get!
3. Number beanbag toss- With sidewalk chalk, write some numbers on your driveway or the sidewalk. Have your little ones place the beanbag or toss the beanbag on the number you call out!
RELATED: 7 Active Games for Preschoolers To Play At Home!
#15: Picnic Table
A children’s picnic table is nice to have around the house if you like to eat outdoors, have family parties, or just want to do a project outside with your kids and need a surface.
Plus, this one has an umbrella shade, which is great for blocking the sun from the kids while they eat/play.
Ways to Play
1. Have an outdoor picnic- Work on some practical life skills by having your child help you make lunch, a snack, or dinner and take it outside to eat! They can help you prepare the food, help place it in bowls or on a plate and grab the utensils!
2. Do an art project outside- This table is a great space to make a drawing, do some painting, or do a craft with nature outside. Make sure to grab some tape in case it gets windy to tape down the paper!
3. Playing restaurant- Pretend your kids or you are at a restaurant sitting at the table! Have them serve you your order! My kids love doing this activity.
#16: Scooter For Toddlers
My kids are obsessed with their scooters. It’s by far one of their favorite outdoor toys.
She’s on that thing every time we go outside! We even took it on our latest family vacation so she could ride it around the town. I couldn’t recommend this toy more!
Ways to Play
Materials to extend learning: sidewalk chalk and toddler’s helmet
1. Start slow- Whenever you introduce a new concept, have your little ones start slow. Show them how to use the scooter correctly. Also, show them the importance of putting on a helmet correctly whenever using the scooter.
2. Switch feet- Once they gain some confidence, have them try to switch which foot is on the scooter and which one is on the ground pushing off. This will develop good coordination, gross motor skills, and balance on both legs!
3. Scoot to the shape- with sidewalk chalk, draw a bunch of different shapes on the sidewalk or your driveway. Call out a specific shape and have your little one use their scooter to scoot to the correct shape! This is a great way to work on shape recognition in a FUN way!
RELATED: Ways to Teach Your Toddler Shapes
#18: Play House
This outdoor toy for 3-year-olds has so many possibilities for play.
Your kids will love playing inside this house all spring and summer long. It’s a fun place for them to pretend play.
Ways to play
1. Bring toys inside– have the kids bring their favorite toys inside the house to play with outdoors! Kids will love this change of scenery.
2. Read– Kids can read outside by their pretend fireplace! There is also a shelf where they can store books and other toys.
3. Add flowers– There are two spots on the outside to add some of their favorite flowers or plants to take care of!
#19: Art Easel
I had to include some arts and crafts in this list. I absolutely love this outdoor toy for 3-year-olds.
It’s so fun to paint outside, and it’s less mess in the house, right? Take your art supplies outside and let your kids create.
Ways to Play
1. Paint– Let the kids use paint to create their own beautiful works of art outdoors! I love that it’s clear so the sun will shine on their artwork.
2. Create lines- If your toddler isn’t able to make shapes quite yet, creating lines is also such a great activity. Have them dip their brush into the paint and put it on the easel. This is such great practice for handwriting skills!
3. Number/Letter/Shape/Color Recognition- You do the painting this time! Paint some letters, numbers, shapes, or colors on the easel. Ask your little one to identify some of the things that you want them to go over. This is a fun way to do some learning!
RELATED: SIMPLE Number Recognition Activities
#20: Circle Swing
This outdoor toy for 3-year-olds is perfect for your yard! I love this new-age “tire swing” for kids because there is no way for them to fall through the middle.
Your kids will love this swing for years to come as well.
Ways to play
1. Sing songs- Sing nursery rhymes or other fun songs on the swing! It’s one of our favorite things to do outside together.
2. Animal sounds- I don’t know how this started, but I did this with my daughter and son. We go over different animal sounds while they swing.
3. Counting the swings- Want to work on some counting practice with your little ones? Counting how many times they swing back and forth is a perfect way to add some math into the day.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
We all crave some outdoor time! These outdoor toys for 3-year-olds will be so exciting for your kids to play with.
Outdoor toys help your kids create, learn, and discover new ways to play and learn. Having the right toys allows your child to develop a variety of different learning skills.
Do you have a favorite outdoor toy that isn’t included on my list that our community should know about? Please let me know in the comments! I always love hearing about what works best for your kids at home!