Get those tots active outside with these play toys for the backyard and beyond. These are our favorite outdoor toys for toddlers and preschoolers that encourage movement, creativity and most of all play!
When selecting outdoor toys for the early years I look for play toys that meet toddler and preschooler children’s growing interests in exploration. For 1 and 2 year olds I always know they’ll enjoy toys that allow them to have sensory experiences like digging, or playing in water, sand and mud.
As kids reach 3 and 4 years old they begin to really love pretend play and outdoor toys that allow them to dive into their imaginations while they play outside are big hits.This post includes affiliate links to related products; if you purchase through them you can support Bounceback Parenting at no extra cost to yourself.
Many of the outdoor toys you select for young kids can become part of backyard fun for years when you choose quality, open ended toys (meaning toys that don’t have just one use, but can be imaginatively used for multiple ways to play). The classics like a sandbox, a wagon, and hand trowels for digging stay fun long past your preschool days.
Our Favorite Outdoor Toys for Toddlers and Preschoolers:
This durable bouncy toy made our list of top indoor active play toys as well, but it’s been used in backyard just as often. Rodies get kids jumping and bouncing, they encourage pretend play, and best of all they last. Not only are they durable, our kids have loved their Rody Ponies from age 3 all the way up to age 8.
A sand box is a classic invitation to outdoor play. If cats are a worry you can purchase one with a cover, and simple things like spoons, funnels and toy trucks make great additions. When our boys were little they loved making tunnels for their trucks. Currently our little girl (in kindergarten) is lucky enough to have a huge sandbox at her school and many of the kids spend all of recess sifting the sand and making “sand cakes”. This Melissa and Doug Sand Baking Set would be perfect for little bakers.
This is another toy that works indoors and out. five years after receiving a couple Bilibos from Grammy, these funny bowl-like toys are still in use. Currently they’re being used to transport dirt and water int he backyard, but when they’re not outdoors, they’ve also been used for rocking and rolling in when the kids were preschoolers, Barbie bathtubs, to cradles stuffed animals and as stools. These are a truly versatile toy.
Toddler and preschoolers love these sturdy little tables. They’re a wonderful addition to a backyard, especially if you only have a small space or a balcony for outdoor play. They keep messy play somewhat contained and give kids a place to enjoy the sensory experience of playing with water and maybe mixing in dirt or sand.
Many of us can probably look back on our own childhood with fond memories of splashing around in a plastic pool during the summer. My mother-in-law taught my the trick of warming the water by laying a black piece of plastic (a big garbage bag works) over the pool in the sunshine for a little solar heating.
All of our kids loved their Strider bikes for learning the balance and coordination needed to ride a pedal bike. Striders are small enough for a toddler, yet can last through the preschool years (ours made it through three kids).
A few more classic outdoor toys for tots:
- Sidewalk chalk
- Tonka Trucks
- Little Shovels and Rakes and a place they can of dirt in the dirt.
- Small Slide
- Playground Ball
For more fun ideas of ways to play with your younger kids you’ll enjoy:
- The Toddler Years Must Do List
- The Most Fun Things to Do with for 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds
- Best Bath Toys to Get Toddlers to LOVE Bathtime