Best Outdoor Toys for the Backyard
The season of spending our nights and weekends outside has begun and I couldn’t be happier. I grew up spending endless amounts of time outside in my backyard during the warmer months and I’m excited for Liam to grow up doing the same. One of the things I love most about our house is the yard – it’s nothing special really but it’s reasonably big for the densely populated area we live in, leaving Liam room to run and play especially now that he’s big enough to really enjoy it. We’re also trying to build up a reasonable collection of outdoor toys for him to play with. So far, these seems to be the favorites.
Our Favorite Outdoor Toys
1. Water Table: Liam got one for his first birthday and has used it frequently ever since. It seems to be a toy that can be enjoyed by a wide age range which I love. Only trouble this time of year is Liam gets soaked playing with it so it generally requires a quick change immediately afterward so he’s not freezing.
2. Play House: In my dreams, Liam would have a play house that looks just like this one. In reality, we Craigslisted one after seeing how much fun he had playing in one at a friend’s house. His is nothing fancy but he LOVES it. I may paint it like the ones you see all over Pinterest but that will have to wait until fall when it’s not in heavy use.
3. Rock Box: Liam loves his diggers and shovels so we also Craigslisted a small sandbox (which we filled with pea gravel instead of sand to avoid dangerous chemicals found in some play sand).
4. Yard Tools: Oddly, some of the stuff Liam loves playing with the most in the backyard are our yard tools. If we’re raking, Liam wants to be raking too. So we picked him up a few kid-sized yard tools and he loves “helping” with yard work.
5. Kid’s Table & Chairs: Liam has a set inside and after dragging it outside on several occasions we decided it was time to get an outdoor set. While Liam will usually end up sitting at the big table for dinner, he loves sitting at his little table for a snack or to bring the “meals” he makes inside his playhouse. It’s also been awesome outdoor seating when we have friends with kids over in the yard. I’ve also toyed around with the idea of a children’s picnic table. Maybe next year.
6. Hammock: We happen to have two trees that are perfectly spaced for a hammock so we bought one a few years back. The hammock is a big hit with Liam and pretty much every child who has ever visited our house. It’s a great spot for some shady afternoon reading or some post work/school relaxing and chatting. If you can figure out a set up in your yard, I highly recommend it.
7. Outdoor Toy Storage: While not the most fun, this one is probably the most important on the list. We bought a big outdoor storage box exclusively for Liam’s outside toys. In addition to all these bigger items, Liam also has a plethora of balls, bats, bubbles, nets, buckets…you get the picture. This bin is the catch all for all
that crap those lovely toys so they don’t remain strewn around the yard all season long. Just like inside, we try to enforce a nightly clean up before bed where everything goes back into the bin.
We debated about putting in a small-ish swing set but have opted not to for now. In addition to the cost to install a swing set, we live walking distance from a great park in town that we go to frequently. All three of us enjoy those walks so the swings and slides will stay as special things we do at the park. Perhaps that will change over time but for now it feels like the right decision.
What are your family’s favorite backyard toys? Any we’re missing?
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Toys & Games for Outdoor Play
- E-family news: Swing Set Smarts – Extending Learning to the Playground
- E-family news: Summer Safety Tips