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Best Toddler Outdoor Toys

Updated November 2023
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Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Step2 Tropical Rainforest Water Table
Step2
Tropical Rainforest Water Table
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Hands-On Water Play
Bottom Line

Engaging water table includes well-thought-out features and toys that are great for developmental and fun, sensory water play.

Pros

Vibrant oasis develops motor and cognitive skills. Large enough for multiple children to play together. Keeps kids cool on warm days while learning about cause and effect, physics, and more. Wipes clean and drains easily with a removable plug.

Cons

Lack of pre-drilled holes presents obstacles during assembly.

Best Bang for the Buck
Step2 All Around Playtime Patio
Step2
All Around Playtime Patio
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Best for Imaginative Play
Bottom Line

A long-lasting playhouse that provides for imaginative and sensory sand, water, and barbecue play.

Pros

Features a canopy for shade and enough space for children to play together. Easy to assemble with clear instructions. Offers a wider variety of toys and activities, such as using water or sand, than similar and more expensive products.

Cons

There are no walls, so the pieces and compartments are more exposed to dirt and weather.

Little Tikes First Slide
Little Tikes
First Slide
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

A playground favorite that won't break the bank. An unbeatable choice for the money.

Pros

Sturdy and perfectly sized for toddlers to play safely and with confidence. With only two components, assembly couldn't be easier. Half the price of similar models. Robust construction allows for extended use, offering up to six years of sliding fun.

Cons

Snapping handles into place can be fiddly and require a bit of force to properly secure.

GoSports Inflatable Dodgeballs
GoSports
Inflatable Dodgeballs
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Promotes Fun Exercise
Bottom Line

A simple toy that engages children and parents with physical activity.

Pros

With more balls and convenient extras included, this pack offers more value for the price compared to similar products. Includes six balls, a pump and needle for easy setup, and a mesh bag for easy storage. “AirTouch” surface is softer and toddler-friendly.

Cons

Some reviewers reported ball thickness and size inconsistencies.

Click n' Play Knight's Castle Play Tent
Click n' Play
Knight's Castle Play Tent
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Imaginative Design
Bottom Line

From slaying dragons, playing princess, or rescuing damsels in distress, this play tent encourages healthy imaginative play.

Pros

Both boys and girls love the castle design. Large enough for friends and parents. Two windows extend play options with outside interaction and allow air to circulate.

Cons

While setup is still fairly easy, it's not a pop-up tent and requires pole assembly.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best toddler outdoor toys

Outdoor play is a great way for toddlers to have fun and burn off excess energy, but did you know it's also a vital part of healthy development? By getting little ones moving, outdoor play gives children a chance to practice a full range of gross motor skills, and it promotes good muscle and bone development.

With more to see and do, being outside also encourages exploration and imaginative play, teaches little ones the basics of risk assessment, and gives them a healthy dose of vitamin D in the process.

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Getting little ones to play outside is not only fun, but it has been shown to help prevent a number of conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes as well.

Considerations

With a wealth of toddler outdoor toys on the market, finding the best one can be confusing. Be sure to consider these factors to help you choose the best outdoor toy for your toddler.

Safety

When selecting an outdoor toy for your toddler, safety will be your foremost concern. First, check that all toys are age-appropriate. Climbing frames, slides, and other structures should be sturdy and positioned as low to the ground as possible. Look for any gaps that could trap little hands, or even heads. Position your outdoor toddler toys in a safe area, well away from sharp rocks or other hard surfaces. And as always, never leave your toddler unsupervised during playtime.

Size

Choose a toy that will easily fit in your yard with room to spare. If you're considering purchasing a large outdoor toy, it's a good idea to measure your outdoor area to compare these dimensions with those of your chosen product before purchasing. Remember to take pools, walkways, furniture, and other potential obstructions into consideration. Keep your toddler’s play area clear on all sides to avoid accidents and possible injuries.

Versatility

Fixed outdoor climbing frames, slides, and swing sets are great, but if you don't have a lot of space – or would like an option that can be used indoors as well as out – look for something that's easy to assemble and disassemble. Freestanding toddler slides, tents, and ball pits all work well both outdoors and indoors, making them an excellent option for those who don't have an extensive outdoor area or need something that's easy to move.

Price

Generally speaking, the larger the toddler outdoor toy, the more it will cost. However, a good toddler outdoor toy doesn't necessarily have to be complicated or expensive. As long as it stimulates the senses, encourages creativity, and gets little ones moving, you have a winner!

Playhouse

A durable plastic or wood playhouse usually costs anywhere from $100 to over $250, depending on size and features.

Tents

Tents tend to be somewhat more affordable, ranging between $20 and $50 or a bit more. Many come with attachable tunnels and ball pits.

Slides

Freestanding toddler slides start at around $30 and reach up to $100; most slide sets with one or two extras attached cost upwards of $100.

Balls

Balls can cost as little as $10 or $20 and are a surefire way to get little ones up and running.

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Did you know?
Studies show that outdoor play actually improves vision and significantly reduces the chance of developing myopia (nearsightedness).
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Toddler outdoor toy ideas

Still having a hard time finding the perfect outdoor toy for your toddler? Take a look at our list of favorites types for ideas.

  • Tents, with or without tunnels and ball pits, are always a hit with toddlers and are sure to fire up imaginative play. What's more, a tent provides shade and is highly portable for outdoor fun on the move.

  • Balls are great for developing hand-eye coordination, and they offer a variety of action-packed play options.

  • Slides are always a favorite, and with lots of climbing, little ones get a good workout while improving motor skills.

  • Playhouses spark creativity, teach social skills, improve vocabulary, and allow children to play freely and safely.

  • Water tables are an excellent sensory toy for the sunny season that no child is able to resist.

  • Water guns are another example of simple yet effective outdoor toys for toddlers. With running, hiding, aiming, and squeezing a trigger, water gun play not only provides active fun, it also helps with fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Whether you choose a simple toddler toy or an elaborate one, remember to interact with your little ones to get the most out of playtime.

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Active outdoor play helps toddlers gain self-confidence, learn how to overcome challenges, and recognize their own limits.

FAQ

Q. Until what age can my child use a toddler slide?

A. Any toy designed for toddlers will have a weight limit. While most toddler slides are usually suitable for use up to six years of age, always check manufacturer specifications to ensure safety.

Q. I’m looking for a toy that will encourage toddlers and older children to play together. What's the best option?

A. If you have children of different ages who often play together, you may want to avoid outdoor toddler toys with a weight limit that won't accommodate older siblings. Other than that, as long as bigger kids play responsibly, the options are quite literally endless.

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