The best outdoor toys for playing outside this summer

Best outdoor toys

by Rosie Floyd |
Updated on

With the weather getting warmer, you'll want to invest in some fun outdoor toys for playing outside with. Encouraging your children to get outside while keeping them happy for long enough to make the most of the summer weather can be tricky when you've got a kids tablet device to compete with. That's why your outdoor toys need to be engaging, aid their development and most importantly, be fun!

Spending time outside in the fresh air is essential for your little one to thrive. Not only will they enjoy some much needed physical activity to burn off all that energy, but it's also brilliant for their learning and development.

Best outdoor toys shortlist

Best mud kitchen: TP Toys Junior Chef Wooden Mud Kitchen – Buy now at Amazon

Best sprinkler and paddling pool: VATOS Inflatable Sprinkler Paddling Pool – Buy now at Amazon

Best kids summerhouse: Smoby' My House on Stilts' – Buy now at Amazon

To help encourage your children to love playing outside when the weather is nice, we've rounded up some of the best outdoor toys for summer, so you can spend some quality time in the garden while your children have the time of their lives.

The best outdoor toys for playing outside this summer

Best mud kitchen

The TP Toys Junior Chef Wooden Mud Kitchen is the perfect toy to engage your little one with a bit of role-playing and messy play. The kitchen is equipped with a play oven and utensils so your little one can pretend to cook up a storm, a blackboard for them to write down recipes, and a sink for 'washing up' or splashing.

Review: "We recently purchased this for our children (aged 5 and 2), and they both love it! It has had a lot of use already. Great quality and simple construction instructions to follow."

Pros

  • Includes starter set of utensils
  • Easy-to-remove tub can be used for water or sand

Cons

  • Your little one will get messy when playing

Best balance bike

The Y Velo Flippa is a great first bike for youngsters. You simply 'twist and flip' to transform it from a trike to a two-wheeled balance bike in seconds. It comes with a parent steering handlebar which will allow you to control the speed and direction until your little one builds up their confidence.

Review: "We chose this bike over other bikes, as it offered not only a parent handle but a handle that allows you to turn the steering. This bike is extremely well-built. Giving you lots of options: balance bike, trike, trike with parent handle, pedals on or off. Our daughter got this bike for Christmas, and she has loved going on it every day since. The parent handle has soft grips and adjusts height. A great product!

Pros

  • Can be adjusted as your child gets more confident on the bike
  • Great for helping them build confidence on a bike

Cons

  • Some customers have commented that the bike was a bit heavy for younger children

Best bubble mower

Does your little one wish they could cut the grass just like you? Well, you can now get them their own mower to play with. It mimics the sounds of a real lawn mower and produces a colourful stream of bubbles as it's pushed, keeping your kiddo amused for hours.

Review: "Purchased as a present for my granddaughter. It has kept her amused for hours because she loves bubbles, and the current good weather has provided her with the opportunity to enjoy her new toy. As she has only just started walking, she does need support to push the mower. It's simple to use and comes with the solution to produce the bubbles. A great toy that she loves."

Pros

  • Great for lawn mowing role play
  • Fun for kids who love bubbles

Cons

  • Batteries not included

Best sprinkler and paddling pool

Is there really anything better than a water toy for playing outside in the summer? This one combines a cooling water sprinkler with a paddling pool so kiddies can jump through the ever-flowing water or splash around in the pool to cool off.

Review: "Absolutely perfect paddling pool for kids. All 3 of my children loved it ranging from 1 year old to 11 years old. So easy to set up! You don't need to invest in a pump!! All you need is a good pair of lungs! No fear of the kids slipping and getting into any dangerous situations. The sprinkler system is awesome too! Brought this at the perfect time and thoroughly looking forward to a nice hot June! Can easily be hung on the washing line to dry off before packing away. Just perfect! You won't be disappointed."

Pros

  • Great way to cool down when it's hot outside
  • Can be blown up without a pump

Cons

  • Can burst if your water pressure is too high

Best outdoor car toy
Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Car

Rrp: $64.99

Price: $54.00

Honestly, we don't think there is a more iconic outdoor toy than the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Car. This much-loved red and yellow car has been used by families for generations. Kiddies can use their feet to scoot along or parents can take control using the roof handle.

Review: "You can't go wrong with this timeless classic. I had one almost 30 years ago. It was just as much fun back in the 1990s! My son absolutely adores his car. Sturdy and robust, it certainly withstands some hammer around the garden. The iconic red and yellow transcend from generation to generation, it never fails to put a smile on my face whenever I spot it through the kitchen window! I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND, worth every penny."

Pros

  • Durable tyres
  • Easy to move

Cons

  • Plastic will weather when left outside

Best kids summerhouse toy

Combining a kids summer house with a slide, the Smoby House of Stilts is bound to get a lot of use in your garden over the summer. Kids will love climbing up and sliding down it. It can even be turned into a water toy by connecting a hose pipe.

Review: "Amazing!!! My little one was trying to play on it before it was finished. She found the box fun too. Nice and sturdy, and she loves playing peek-a-boo through the window shutters. We drilled some holes in the floor to allow the rain to drain away, and the instructions were rubbish but well worth it. Lockdown would have been unbearable without this."

Pros

  • Two toys in one
  • Ideal for staying in the shade

Cons

  • Assembly required

Best sandpit toy

This sand and water play pit comes with two separate shells for double the fun. When your little one is bored of creating sandcastles, they can hop into the other shell for a more splash-tastic kind of fun.

Review: "Value for money very sturdiness and long-lasting duration for the next few summer months."

Pros

  • Comes with a bucket and sand moulds, and tools
  • long-lasting toy for years to come

Cons

  • Sand not included

Best for art lovers
Giant Chalks
Price: $24.48

Containing 20 extra-large chalks in a variety of seven colours, they're great for kids that love a creative art project. While they can be used on paper, we love the idea of using them on the patio or even pavement outside your house – don't worry, they can be washed away easily. You may want to draw out a hopscotch or even noughts and crosses games.

Review: "Unfortunately due to their size they are a little tricky to use (no obvious 'point' to draw with) and fiddly to store in the container without covering your hands in the chalk. But otherwise they are exactly what they say they are - giant chalk. They also seem relatively sturdy, with no breakages so far vs. usual, smaller chalk (which was our hope when and reason for buying)."

Pros

  • Great for fine motor skills
  • Easily wash away

Cons

  • break easily

outdoor water and sand table
Price: $39.99

This 2-in-1 sand and water table features one side for sand play and the other for water. With plenty of different accessories and bright colours, it really does boost your child's sensory development. It can be used both indoor and outdoor depending on the weather and will provide hours of fun.

Review: "Before putting this together, I didn't think this was going to be sturdy, but I was really wrong after it was all put together. At first I didn't think my girls were going to be able to sit down on this without it falling apart but the stool and the table itself are a lot more sturdier than they look. Even after adding water in the table, the table not only doesn't leak but even with the weight of the water, the table is still standing. The whole table and stool itself were really easy to put together as the instructions were very descriptive and this took maybe about 15 minutes to put together. Plus, this is easy to wash when needed. I just use a regular sponge with some dish soap to clean it too.

Pros

  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor play
  • Great for sensory play

Cons

  • Not very sturdy

Space hopper
Price: $31.09

It's an oldie but still a classic. Whether you're having a race in the garden or local park or if your tot simply likes bouncing around outside on a sunny day, this retro orange space hopper is a fun toy that's here to stay. With a foot pump included, it's simple to inflate to a 60cm max diameter.

Review: "Bought two at the same time, seem to be different sizes once blown up with one smaller than the other not sure if this is common? It's worked out perfect though as was bought for a 6yo and a 10yo they love them and can tell whose is whose being different sizes, easy to inflate and so far durable. Worth the money."

Pros

  • Durable
  • Fun for the whole family

Cons

  • Pump isn't the most powerful

Best outdoor toys FAQs

Why is outdoor play so important?

We all know that it is good for children to get outside so they get moving and get some fresh air in their lungs. However, did you know it is important for their development too? Agility and stamina levels will improve as they run around. Jumping helps to evolve bone density and stability while climbing aids with coordination, balance and strength.

The freedom of being outdoors will encourage your little ones to explore the natural environment around them and try new activities too. Being outside will give them a chance to blow off some steam and make some noise.

According to data from NIDirect, children who are used to playing outdoors are more likely to engage with others and show resilience.

How do you protect outdoor toys?

We don't recommend leaving your outdoor toys outside year-round as they can easily get damaged by the weather. The best thing you can do is bring them indoors or put them in storage throughout the winter. This will stop them from being exposed to long-lasting damage from the elements.

If you're worried about them being left outside during the warmer months of the year, there are some things you can do. For smaller toys, you can invest in some outdoor toy storage, such as a bench or container. The larger toys will be harder to store, but you can cover them with plastic sheeting for some protection.

This article was written by Mother&Baby's Commercial Content Writer, Rosie Floyd. After earning a degree in Journalism and Media, Rosie has brought her skills to a number of brands including Yours, Mother&Baby and What’s The Best. Specialising in outdoor living, gardening and garden buildings, Rosie loves baking up a storm in the kitchen and spending time with her dog.

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