Getting my teens and tweens outside to play is not always as easy as it once was. When they were little it was enough to open the door when they were restless and they would eagerly scamper out to stare at the clouds, dig in the dirt or build fairy houses out of leaves and sticks. Now when I suggest going outside as an antidote to their restlessness I am met with gloomy sighs of “There’s nothing to do”.
It’s not that they are being difficult, they genuinely struggle to come up with things to do outside now that imagining a plot for why the faeries need new houses or the knights must go off on a quest does not come quite so easily. They need a purpose for being outside. I have found that investing in outside toys is just as important for my teens as it is for my four year old!
Here are 10 toys that give teens and tweens something to do out side, alone or with friends! An “outdoor toy” might sound like something that is more suitable for younger kids, but you’d be surprised how much this will motivate your teens as well.
Outdoor Toys for Teens and Tweens:
Outdoor Toys for Teens Playing Alone
First up, we have outdoor toys as a solo activity! The outdoors has a lot to offer, but sometimes it can be a bit tricky finding activities to do without friends. Here are some ideas for outdoor fun that can be done completely individually. Of course, these can easily be enjoyed with friends as well:
You’re never to old for a comfortable swing; this swing is almost 40 inches in diameter and holds up to 600 lbs. It is the perfect spot to spend some quiet time alone or to literally hang out with friends.
Pogo sticks are a classic for a reason…teens and tweens don’t seem to be able to resist them! Flybar has been making pogo sticks almost since their invention, early in the last century, and they have brought all that experience to bare on this Master Pogo stick designed for kids between 80 and 160 lbs. If your teen or tween is on the lighter side try the Flybar Maverick designed for kids 40 to 80 lbs.Pogos are fun to pick up and difficult to master, the perfect activity for an older kid!
If you are not familiar with slack lines they are a rope like balancing surface much like a tight rope only close to the ground. They are usually strung between two trees for poles and can provide hours of challenging fun. The Goodtimes Beginner Slackline it can hold up to 300 lbs and includes a training line as well as the Slackline to help beginners develop proper arm positioning, It also includes a ratchet for the main line, tree protectors and a storage bag – every thing you need to get started.
Got a kid who’s already into slack lining? Check out this Slackers NinjaLine Kit which has Ninja Warrior type obstacles you can add to their set up.
Stomp rockets continue to hold their appeal with my teens, and now they can do them after dark (which makes everything cooler)! This set comes with a launcher and 4 foam tipped, light up rockets, plus an extra set of light up rockets. Each rocket has a switch to turn on the LED light which is bright enough to double as a flash-light so you don’t have to worry about loosing your rockets after dark because the light has gone out.
While I might wish they had called this kit something else (although the name is probably makes it that much more appealing that much more to my teens) this is an inspiring kit that will help teens and tweens see sidewalk chalk as more than just kid stuff. The kit includes 6 packs of washable chalk paint in 3 colors, 3 paint cups, 7 reusable stencils, a paint brush, mask and stir stick.
Got a teen or tween who is looking for a new challenge? This chrome unicycle is an amazon best seller and comes in red, blue, black, or yellow. It includes a quality tire and aluminum rim. Available in 16?, 20?, or 24? inches it is perfect for the teen or tween looking for challenge. Consider picking up this book on getting started.
This Bounty Hunter Metal Detector is sure to motivate teens and tweens to spend hours outside looking for buried treasures. It’s length is adjustable making it adaptable for a range of heights and will grow with your teen. It has several modes of operation and can find objects as little as the size of a coin at up to 8 inches. The search coil is water proof and can even be used to detect items in shallow water.
Outdoor Toys for Teens Playing With Friends or Siblings
Teens and tweens love to compete! These games get them active while also inspiring their competitive drive. Competition is a healthy way for teens to challenge themselves against their friends, and helps to strengthen friendships and keep everyoneengaged!
This fast paced, energetic game requires 2 teams of 2 to 3 players. Each team tries to bounce the ball of the net in the center and the other team must return the volley. It assembles and disassembles for storage and travel. This is a game that will burn some serious energy and appeal to a wide range of ages, perfect for back yard parties or just hanging out at the park with friends, one reviewer said their kids were even playing it in the in the basement until the weather was more cooperative!
This Frisbee based game for two teams of two is easy to play, with 2 collapsible goals shaped like cans. It’s portable and setts up in seconds. Two people pair up to try to get the Frisbee into the goals one person throws and the other can deflect the Frisbee to help score.
Let the water balloon wars begin with this three person balloon sling shot that can launch water balloons up to 300 yards. Perfect for a trio of teens armed with water balloons; use it for target practice, war, or to reinvigorate a games like Capture the flag and dodge ball. It can also be used with splash balls as a non consumable option or for games like dodge ball where you want to return fire!
Cornhole is a classic backyard game that teens and tweens love! It is the perfect mix of competitiveness and physical activity. It isn’t the most strenuous game, and it is easy to pick up and play but very tough to master! It’s a great game for beginner and advanced players alike, and teens can have a fun afternoon playing cornhole with friends. Since it’s such a laid-back activity, it can keep teens occupied for entire summer days!
What Makes a Good Toy for Teens and Tweens?
Before we wrap up this list, we’re giving you an outline of why outdoor games and toys are such a great idea for teens and tweens. There can be a tendency to think of games and toys as tools for younger kids. Hopefully, this section will help you understand all the benefits they provide for teens and tweens as well:
Firstly, outdoor games are a great way to get your teens and tweens active! It almost goes without saying why exercise is so important for a teenager. An outdoor game is great because it gets them moving but also allows them to have fun with it! Teens and tweens have a lot of energy, and this is a way for them to burn off some of that energy. A lot of the times, the perfect cure for boredom is to get moving.
An outdoor game is more suitable for teens and tweens if it involves a lot of dexterity and skill. Kids already have pretty well-developed motor skills by this age, so try to get them involved in something that really challenges them. Teens will simply get bored if something is too easy for them. They enjoy the opportunity to challenge themselves and learn a new skill, and many of the games on our list provide exactly that.
Simply put, teens and tweens are competitive! They’re at a very active age, and have tons of energy to burn. A great way to engage this is with some healthy competition. It’s a great way for them to spend some time with their friends and to keep occupied in a productive manner. Competition is a great way to keep kids involved, and it motivates them to try harder and push for higher levels of achievement.
Evident Skill Progression
You want to pick a game where your teenage boy or girl can actually see themselves improve as they play. Skill progression is a great way to keep anyone engaged in an activity, as it is essentially a built in reward system, continually allowing them to feel a sense of achievement. Many of the games on our list are simple to pick up, and complicated to master. This allows older kids to have something to keep striving for, which keeps them interested in the game.
We can’t finish our list without including perhaps the most obvious factor – the game has to be fun! This is obviously a very subjective factor, which is why we included so many options on our list. Your best bet is just to talk to your kids. Find out where their interests are, and find out what would get them most involved in an outdoor activity. They will feel a real sense of ownership over the decision, which might motivate them to spend more time outside playing their new favourite game.