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Whether you have a hyperactive child or a screen-obsessed child who can’t tear themselves away, the summer offers a simple solution to both problems: get them outside and active. Getting children outside to play is one of the best things you can do for them. It not only improves their mental and physical health and helps regulate their behavior, but it is also enjoyable. Especially when equipped with an arsenal of cool outdoor toys.
The best outdoor toys for children are those that make them sweat so much that only a glass of ice-cold lemonade can quench it. Without a backyard? No problem. There are numerous options available for use in the park or on the sidewalk. From foam rockets they’ll chase for hours to a toddler-friendly foam pogo stick, we’ve compiled a list of the best outdoor toys for toddlers and young children that will keep them playing without a single “I’m bored!” complaint.
Looking for additional ways to maximize outdoor time? Check out our favorite sandboxes, water toys, inflatable pools, and balance bikes (remember to wear a helmet)!
What are the best outdoor toys for kids?
Toys are significant, both inside and outside of the home.
Toys can make or break a child’s ability to play independently. I’m not trying to scare you, but toys are surprisingly important. Even for outdoor recreation
Having quality outdoor playthings is crucial.
We consider the toys we bring into our homes, but it is equally important to evaluate the outdoor toys for children. Unbelievably crucial to a child’s development is outdoor play, and they must have the proper equipment for it. However, what are the top outdoor toys for children? How do we find the best when there are so many options?
How We Chose the Top Outdoor Toys for Children
We investigated the dozens of outdoor-oriented toys available on the market. We considered the various types of toys, play styles, age groups, and emerging trends that children will anticipate this year. We also consulted with Maddie Michalik, senior editor of the Toy Insider. We visited their toy headquarters in New York to learn more about the types of outdoor toys children enjoy playing with, the trends to watch for, and the coolest new outdoor toys.
What to look for in outdoor toys for kids
When it is finally warm enough for children to enjoy the great outdoors, you will want to provide them with hours of playtime. Consider the following before adding toys to your shopping cart:
Age range and safety
Be mindful of each toy’s recommended age range. Using toys within the appropriate age range ensures that they are safer, more suitable, and present the proper difficulty level for each child. And keep a close eye on your children whenever they are playing outside!
You can opt for a fun climbing structure or playhouse if you have a large backyard. Sensory bins and creative art projects are the best options for those with limited outdoor space.
These toys will likely be thrown, left in the sun, exposed to rain, and dropped in the dirt. Ensure that the materials used to construct each toy are resilient enough to withstand the elements.
Dr. Amanda Gummer, neuropsychologist and founder of Good Play Guide, tells The Spruce, “Outdoor play provides children with an excellent opportunity to exercise and release some steam.”
You should choose a toy that encourages a great deal of movement if your goal is to get your children moving and help them expend some of their abundant energy. Dr. Gummer suggests that active toys that your child can play with alone, such as a tricycle and sports games that they can play with their friends and siblings, are all excellent options. However, even simple activities like sliding and blowing bubbles will get their blood pumping while having fun, leaving them exhausted by bedtime.
“When purchasing outdoor toys, consider the space they require,” Schacht advises The Spruce. “Some toys are designed to be installed and left in place, whereas others are foldable and easy to store.” If you lack a large backyard, you should look for something small or easily transportable and storable. Consider whether a toy that can be folded and stored can be used indoors and outdoors. This extends the use of play, but it can also be helpful when the weather prevents outdoor play.
We are aware that some toys can be used both indoors and outdoors and that it is acceptable to bring some indoor toys outside (such as your child’s favorite doll or jumbo blocks). However, when it comes to purchasing outdoor toys, you should consider those specifically designed for use in the great outdoors. Typically, outdoor toys are weather-resistant and can withstand more excellent wear and tear, whereas indoor toys could be completely ruined if left outside during a rainstorm.
“Outdoor toys are well-constructed, but if you want them to last, it’s best to wipe them down and bring them indoors or cover them to protect them from the elements,” Schacht says. When storing toys that may become slightly damp, consider ventilation using a bin with slatted sides or open shelving. There are also dozens of inventive outdoor storage ideas, such as a kids’ parking garage for ride-on toys (essentially a table with a curtain) and benches with built-in toy bins.
Schacht claims that cleaning most toys is as simple as scrubbing them with a damp cloth or paper towels and dish soap.
You can soak sandbox or water toys susceptible to mold and mildew for 10 minutes in your bathtub or sink. Use one gallon of water mixed with either a half-cup of bleach or vinegar (never both!). Follow safety precautions such as wearing goggles and gloves, opening windows for ventilation, and keeping children out of the room when working with bleach.
Fill your water table with either the bleach-water or bleach-vinegar solution, or just water and mild dish soap to clean it. After allowing the mixture to sit for a few minutes, thoroughly rinse and dry it.
Before and after each play session, rake the sand in your sandbox to eliminate debris and bacteria. Use a cover to prevent insects and other animals from using the container as a restroom. You should replace the sand at least annually or more frequently if it appears soiled or if you are not consistently covering the box.
Remember to never use harsh chemicals, especially on toys intended for younger children. Not only could this compromise the toy, but if your child accidentally ingests any lingering chemicals, they could be in danger.
According to Schacht, new products will be released in March, meaning you will have more options. But if you prefer to save money, you should wait until the end of the season, around September, when retailers try to make room for new merchandise. “The beauty of purchasing at the end of the season is that when the following year’s new season arrives, you will have brand-new toys that your children have not yet seen, but which you could acquire at a discount,” Schacht explains.
While it is permissible for your child to bring their regular toys outside, it is likely that they will be damaged, sometimes irreparably. “Pay attention to labels on packaging or instructions that may specify whether the toy is intended for indoor or outdoor use.” “Toy Insider’s senior editor, Maddie Michalik, explains. “Be wary of toys that require batteries but are not designed for outdoor use.”
Since indoor toys are not designed to withstand outdoor elements such as dirt, water, or heat, they are susceptible to breaking, discoloring, or malfunctioning.
With summer approaching, it’s time to maximize your garden’s playability with a few well-selected outdoor toys.
When we spend more time at home than ever before year, our gardens and outdoor spaces have taken on a greater significance. Adults have become a place to retreat and rediscover gardening gloves/lounge in a hammock, while for children, they are a place to play and let their imaginations run wild. How can we aid them in their never-ending pursuit of enjoyment?
There are options for all budgets and garden sizes, whether you want to construct a playground from the ground up or add a few select pieces such as a swing, boules, or bat and ball. Once they are satisfied, you can focus on enjoying that long-awaited barbecue. Cheers to brighter days ahead!
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