Are you looking for the perfect outdoor toys for your toddlers?
My list of 23 Outdoor Toys for Toddlers will provide your kids with hours of outdoor learn and play opportunities.
All of the toys on this list are open-ended toys. This simply means that there are an endless amount of ways that you can play with each of these toys. These are the best toys to invest in since you will get the most for your money out of them!
These toys are for toddlers, but older kiddos will still enjoy playing with these as well.
Let’s get started!
Toy #1: Sand Table
One of the most beloved toys that we use outdoors is our sand table. I especially love the one that is shown below because there is a space for sand and water!
My kids always want me to add water to our sand table because we don’t have a special area for water like this one. This is the one I would get if I were to do it all over again.
Ways to Play:
Materials to extend play: magnetic letters/numbers
1. Sand handwriting- Have your kids practice upper and lower case letters, numbers, and writing their own name in the sand! Grab my FREE letter and number traceable, so they can look at the shape of each letter or number so they can recreate it in the sand.
2. Alphabet search– Do your kids love to play searching games? Hide some letters or numbers in the sand. When they come across one, have them tell you which one they found! You can also use my FREE Alphabet sheet so they can match it up like a puzzle.
3. 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.
Toy #2: Basketball Hoop
This toddler basketball hoop is one of our favorite outdoor toys. I love it because it works on so many fantastic skills for toddlers!
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:
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!
Toy #3: Bunch O Balloons
All my toddler wants to do outside right now is play with water balloons.
He LOVES filling them up, stomping and throwing the balloons! The awesome thing about water balloons is that they can be used for fun activities as well as learning activities.
Ways to Play:
1. Water balloon throw and catch- Stand a few steps away from your toddler and have them use two hands to try to catch the water balloon. If they catch it, have them throw it back to you. You can continue staying in the same spot, but if you want, you can take one step back to see if they can catch and throw from a longer distance!
3. Water balloon darts- With sidewalk chalk, draw a series of circles to look like a dartboard. You can write an amount near each circle; for example, 1 would be the largest circle, and 10 would be the smaller circle in the middle (bullseye!). Have your little one stand a few steps away from the circles and have them throw a few water balloons!
This activity works on aiming skills, number recognition, and if you have older kiddos as well, they can work on adding by creating tally marks on the side!
3. Number stomp- Fill up the water balloons with water. With sidewalk chalk, write the numbers 1-10 on your driveway or sidewalk. Give them a water balloon and tell them to drop the water balloon on the number. My kids have been into stomping on them as well, so they can place it down on the number and stomp on it!
Toy #4: T-Ball Set
I am a sucker for all sports equipment for toddlers. I can’t wait for my kids to get involved in sports!
When kids learn skills early on, they will have confidence and be more interested in playing in the sport once they get older.
Ways to play:
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 I mentioned above to add some in some water fun to your tee-ball game! This is a perfect way to play on a hot day!
Toy #5: Bubble Mower
Does your little one want to be just like mom or dad when you cut the grass outside?
This is the perfect way to give your little ones a chance to pretend they are helping out! Plus, this is a bubble lawnmower, so adding some bubbles into play always adds more fun.
Ways to Play:
1. Pretend play- Have your little one pretend to mow the lawn using their mower! Kids love doing jobs around the house. They will also enjoy watching the bubbles fly around them as they move the lawnmower.
2. Painting with bubbles- Your kids will love adding color to their bubbles! In a small bowl, whisk together some of the bubble fluid and food coloring. Dump the liquid on a tray so the kids can dip their wands in it. Tape a piece of cardstock paper to the ground (so it doesn’t move) and let the kids blow bubbles on it to see the colored bubbles!
3. Review shapes- There are three different shaped wands! Review those shapes each time you play!
Toy #6: Bubble Wand Set
Speaking of bubbles… this bubble wand set for kids will be one of your kid’s favorite toys.
Whenever we pull this bubble wand set out, my kids come running over! I’m not exaggerating either. Your kids will get so pumped up to try the different bubble wands out.
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.
Toy #7: Gardening 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. It shows them if how to take care of something to see how it grows.
Ways to Play
1. Make gardening pots- Use acrylic paints so kids can create their own masterpieces on a little planter! They will think it’s so special to have their own small 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. My daughter loves the different colors of the flowers, so she is always excited to help out. The 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!
Toy #8: Water Table
Are you looking to have some summer fun with your little ones? A water table is your perfect outside addition to your toy collection.
Playing with water always adds more fun to any play. Toddlers and kids gravitate towards it!
Ways to Play:
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.
Toy #9: Bug Catching Kit
My kids have been really into bugs lately. It’s springtime around here at the moment, so they are all about looking under rocks to see what kind of bugs they can find.
I just picked up this bug catching kit for my son for Easter this year, and I honestly think it was the biggest hit out of all the things both my kids got.
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- My kids are really into bugs/insects. I created a sensory bin with green water beads and the fake bugs that came with this kit. They played with the water beads and then attempted to scoop and pick out the bugs with the fine motor toys we have. You can take this bin outside for the kids to play with!
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
Toy #10: Toddler Trampoline
Does your child have a lot of energy that they need to burn off positively?
Look no further! Toddlers can jump their little hearts out in a safe way since this trampoline has netting around it to keep them inside the trampoline while they play!
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- Set up the inflatable pool hoop on the trampoline. 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!
Toy #11: Telescope for Kids
How neat is this? We don’t own this toy yet, but it’s on my list to get the kids for Christmas next year.
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
Toy #12: Mud Kitchen
Mud kitchens are SO much fun! Plus, it’s an open-ended toy, which makes it worth the investment.
Open-ended toys are toys that can be used in an endless amount of ways. They can grow with your kids too once they get older!
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 nature items while they are pretending to cook so they can see how much comes out of each cup.
Toy #13: All-Star Sports Climber
We have this toddler playground, and it is constantly used by both my kids.
Also, I should mention that we do have a built-in playground at our house, too, so the fact that this is still used shows that it’s such a great toy for kids.
Ways to Play:
1. Free play- Let your kids have a blast and make their own fun on this climber! They can slide, climb, crawl, and practice basketball skills.
2. Toy slide race- My kids love to race their toys on the slide. Grab some of their favorite toys and place them both down the slide at the same time to see which one is faster! Try it with different types of toys to see which one is the slowest and fastest.
3. Water slide- Yes, we have used this toy as a water slide. We made sure that we were there, so the kids were safe. Needless to say, they LOVED it. Take a look at the next toy recommendation to see how it can be used as a water slide.
Toy #14: Sprinkler Splash Pad
This is the cutest splash pad that I have seen! I love the fact there are letters on this pad! 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!
Toy #15: 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 and organized sport, and practice some team-building skills by playing soccer.
Ways to Play:
*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 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 in the goal. Repeat this drill several times!
RELATED: Soccer Activities for 5-Year-Olds
Toy #16: Radio Flyer Tricycle
If you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait for your kids to start learning how to ride a bike!
I have dreams about going on family bike rides together in the Metroparks when my kids all know how to ride their bikes! This tricycle is the perfect start to your toddler’s journey to riding a bike.
Ways to Play:
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 come cones for them to practice weaving through them or set them up in a circle formation so they can practice steering to make turns!
Toy #17: Scooter For Toddlers
Our scooter that my preschooler has is her #1 favorite toy.
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:
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
Toy #18: Swing for Toddlers
I told you my preschooler’s favorite toy was the scooter now I’ll let you know my toddler’s #1 toy is this swing.
We have a built-in playground at our house, and this swing is attached to it. However, we didn’t always have that playground. Before we had it, we hung this on a tree that we had in our yard, and it worked just great.
I’ve also heard that people hung it in their garage as well if you don’t have a tree as an option!
Ways to Play:
1. Sing songs- My toddler, just loves to swing and sing songs together. We sing nursery rhymes as well as his favorite Kidz Bop songs :). It’s one of our favorite things to do outside together. His sister swings next to him on her big girl swing, and they just sing together, it’s the sweetest thing.
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. It’s so cute and funny to watch them make the noises or act out what each animal does. It’s just something fun to add to swing time!
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. If they are too little to count on their own, count for them! That’s the first step for them to learn. If they can count, have them count as high as they can!
Toy #19: All-Around Canopy
Going on a trip to the zoo, an amusement park, or a long walk? This wagon is fantastic since it has a shade on the top, and kids can have a lot of room.
It’s also perfect for holding snacks and their favorite toys inside, so it’s so big!
Ways to Play:
1. Go on a nature walk- Let’s face it, we know it’s hard for kiddos to walk the entire time during a walk. Having this wagon is helpful for you to get some exercise and get outside to explore nature with your little one.
Are you interested in a FREE nature scavenger hunt? Click on the link below to grab yours!
2. Trip to the zoo- This wagon has been a lifesaver for us at places like the zoo. Your kiddo can relax in the wagon, eat their lunch/snacks, and see some animals! When they want to get out and stretch their legs, they can, but when they need a rest, especially if you have a large zoo near you as we do, it’s a must that we bring this!
3. Trick-or-Treat- One of our favorite times to take out the wagon is on Halloween! The kids ride in the wagon, they have a place to put their treats, and if it’s raining, they are shielded from the rain! All around, it’s a winner.
Toy #20: Water Toys
Water toys are the perfect addition to the water table, the splash pad, and the sand water table that I mentioned earlier.
These water toys can be fun to play in the bathtub with a swimming pool or a water table/sensory bin. They can be used in a variety of ways!
Ways to Play:
1. Splash pad cover the letter- These toys would go perfectly with the splash pad that I mentioned earlier (Toy #15). They can be used to cover up the letters in the letter search and find activity. Call out a letter for your little one to find, and they can place one of the animals on the letter!
2. Name the animals- I don’t know about your little ones, but my kids are fascinated with underwater animals! Talk to them about these animals and where they can be found.
3. Scoop and catch- Your toddler will love if you throw the animals in the water so they can scoop them up with the net or catch them with the fishing pole. Warning: you will end up doing this over and over again because they will love it that much!
Toy #21: 3 in 1 game set
I’m a physical education teacher, and I can’t tell you how many times I break 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!
Toy #22: Inflatable Easel
WOW, is this not the coolest toy that you’ve seen?
I’m obsessed with this inflatable easel that kids can play with outside! I can just imagine the possibilities of playing and learning with easel.
Ways to Play:
1. Draw your family- I always love it when my kids draw pictures of our family members. By drawing features of people’s faces, kids learn how to draw different shapes, lines, and it shows they understand parts of the body!
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 to 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
Toy #23: 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 to block 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 or you serve them. They will love this dramatic place activity. You can even create a small menu for them to choose items from that they like to eat, so it feels like a real restaurant!
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Getting outside is crucial for all toddlers! Also, for adults, right?!
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!