Top 12 New Outdoor Toys for Summer

Updated: July 1, 2020
It's time to stock up on summer toys for your kids! Check out these fun new summer toys and games that are sure to be a hit for yard and beach playtime. 

Editor’s Note: We know raising kids can be hard. That’s why we’re dedicated to making your life easier with the latest and greatest parenting advice and products. We wanted to let you know that if you chose to purchase one of the items featured in this post, we may receive a small commission for it.

With summer just around the corner, chances are you will be spending more and more time outdoors and looking for ways to keep the kids entertained. Or perhaps you live somewhere where it’s warm all year and you’re looking to change up your child’s play routine.

Vidya Sundaram, co-founder and CEO at Family Engagement Lab, a program geared towards helping families learn strategies to support learning, states “As a mom, I know that when my kids (4 and 7) are able to get outside to explore, exercise, and get messy, it helps them self-regulate when they're inside."

More: 7 Best Active Play Toys Your Child Can Use Indoors

The fresh air and change of scenery is so important for young energetic toddlers who love active exploration. Outdoor fun doesn’t have to break the bank or require a lot of extra prep time. Take the fun and learning outside with you with these toddler-approved outdoor toy suggestions!

What to Consider when Purchasing Outdoor Toys for Toddlers

  • Durability:  Toddlers are mini-destroyers!  Purchase outdoor toys that can withstand daily abuse so that you don’t have to constantly buy replacements.
  • Safety:  Be aware of small removable parts, small screws, or material that can break down over time.
  • Appropriate Age Range:  Look for outdoor toys geared towards the younger toddler age range.
  • Encourages Development:  Whether physical or cognitive, look for outdoor toys that not only engage your child but encourage their growth and development.
  • Grows With Your Child:  When spending the money for high quality outdoor toys, make sure that your child will get lots of use out of it. Look for items that will maintain their interest for more than just a few weeks.

 

Sand and Water Table

Who This is a Good Option For: Busy working parents who don’t have a lot of time for set up and clean up.

Sand tables and water tables require very low prep, but the payoff can be hours of entertainment!  We like this one that has the option for sand, water, or a combination of both.  Your children will still get wet and messy, but you don’t have to worry about dumping sand out of shoes like with traditional sandboxes. 

Setup is minimal, cleanup is minimal, but playtime is unlimited. Fill your water table in the morning, and dump it in the evening by using the easy empty drain. A cover for the sand table side will keep your sand dry and protected until the following day. Water toys can also be used as sand toys, so no double purchasing needed. And if you don’t have specific water toys, a couple cups and utensils from the kitchen work just as well! Watch your child grow with this piece of equipment as their imagination and cognitive development mature!  Made of a high-quality durable plastic with no small pieces, this table is a win in our book.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “The height is perfect because she doesn't have to bend over but can still reach all sides. It is large enough that when her two cousins age 3 and 6 come over they can all play and not bump into each other.”
  • “She can play independently for as much as 45 minutes! For a 2 year old, that's a huge endorsement.”

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Scooter

Who This is a Good Option For: Anxious parents who aren’t quite ready for the challenge of children zooming around on bicycles.

For little ones who aren’t quite ready to get the hang of a bicycle, scooters are the next best thing. With adjustable handlebars, this scooter can grow with your child over time. Pair it with a well-fitted helmet and your toddler is in for some safe fun with this outdoor toy. Reviewers mention the durability of this scooter, which means you know it will last as your child develops their physical coordination and skill over time.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “Love love love this, I was a bit nervous and didn’t think it would be sturdy. But it’s very durable for all those times your kid will drop their scooter.”

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Sidewalk Chalk

Who This is a Good Option For: Budget-conscious parents who don't want to spend a ton of money on summer entertainment.

A must-have in every child’s outdoor toy repertoire, and it fits into even the smallest budgets!  Classic sidewalk chalk promotes open-ended play and requires no prep; just be prepared for nonstop picture requests. We take pictures of our favorite creations so that we are not sad when the rain washes them away.  

This chalk is made to last and doesn’t break easily. You will notice as your child grows and their dexterity and hand control improves. If you have a young toddler, consider removing pieces as they get smaller and smaller to maintain safety.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “This is the best chalk! We’re using it every day (that it doesn’t rain) to help get us outdoors and get in some fresh air during this time. The colors are vivid and there is plenty to share.”
  • “We love these chalks! We decided to take our backyard drawing to the next level and buy this huge box of chalks 😁 it was totally worth it because no matter how many chalks my son loses I still have enough to draw with and to take to parks ! Love love!”

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Hide and Seek Climber and Slide

Who This is a Good Option For: Budget-conscious parents who don’t want to spend a ton of money on a full-size swing set.

If you don’t have the space or budget for a full climbing structure, this is an excellent small jungle gym alternative. The perfect size for toddlers on the go, your little one is sure to wear themselves out climbing up and sliding down over and over again. This is the perfect toy to maintain safe climbing while your toddler engages and develops their motor control. Plus, it’s made of a sturdy, durable plastic.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “My son loves this slide. It's perfect for him at 2.5-years-old. It sits in his play room and he goes on it everyday. He doesn't use it for hours in a row like he used to, but he still climbs on it often. Very good purchase.”
  • “Love, love, love it!! My grandbaby loves this climber so much. She got it when she was 13 months and is now 17mths and still uses this daily!! I can see this being her favorite for at least another year.”

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Mud Kitchen

Who This is a Good Option For: Parents that like to get their hands dirty with their kids.

If you’re ready for a mess, then a mud kitchen is right for you. Endless imagination will happen as your little one digs and dumps, mixes and concocts all summer long! Watch your children boost their imaginative play with this messy but exciting play space.  

Utilize water toys from the water and sand tables or raid your kitchen for some spoons and bowls. A little bit of water play is a great way to clear off the mud at the end of the day. Made to last, this durable mud kitchen has no small parts and is perfectly safe for all ages. Let your child’s imagination run wild as they develop cognitive skills with open-ended play.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “My kids love this! Easy to put together and so much fun!”

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Splash Pad

Who This is a Good Option For: Anxious parents who don’t want to worry about pools and deep standing water.

Love the idea of a kiddie pool but worried about standing water? A splash pad is a great alternative. Splash pads require very shallow water which minimizes risk, but still provides lots of entertainment. Splash pads are geared towards younger and older toddlers with varying levels of physical development. There is something just so fun and exciting about water play, and it’s an excellent way to keep your kiddos cool in the hot summer heat. Reviewers mentioned durability which means you can have fun over and over again.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “My son really enjoyed splashing around in it. I’m against a kiddie pool for the mold, and broken plastic, this is very soft and I’m really glad we purchased it! Great product, great company.”
  • “Set up is easy and it’s pretty durable, had it on some rocks and held up fine. I would recommend this”

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Spider Web Swing

Who This is a Good Option For: Active parents who like to keep their children active and moving.

High on the list of best outdoor toys for kids is a swing. No jungle gym is needed with this platform swing, but you will need a tree or something sturdy to hang it from. This unique swing offers room for multiple children and plenty of space for little ones to safely hold on.  

Made to last, this swing not only holds multiple children but withstands daily use, and is sure to be a favorite all summer long. As your child grows they will continue having fun - it's not meant just for younger toddlers. Balance and coordination are sure to be challenged throughout the summer.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “Overall it's a wonderful swing and I'm glad we decided to get it - the size is perfect and it's very sturdy.”
  • “My three kids have been on this swing nonstop!”

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Outdoor Garden Tool Set

Who This is a Good Option For: Garden-savvy parents who want their children to work alongside them.

Toddlers love nothing more than to imitate what they see and allowing them some pretend play with realistic toys is a great option. If you’re stuck on time and want to be able to complete your yard work while still keeping an eye on your little one, this is a great solution. A toddler-sized tool set is the perfect addition to your summer outside with your kids following you around doing yard work or tending to the garden. Solid wood handles and heavy duty metal allows these tools to withstand daily use and grow with your child.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “Solid wood handles with solid heavy duty metal tools.”
  • “These are well made tools just right for small hands.”

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Bubble Mower

Who This is a Good Option For: Active parents that want their child to work in the yard alongside them.

If you’re on the hunt for the best outdoor toys for toddlers, look no further! Mowing the lawn is another outdoor activity for your toddler to emulate, with the extra engagement that comes with popping bubbles!  This is perfect for the little ones that want to be just like mom and dad. Our son loves walking laps around the yard trailing after dad with the lawnmower, doing his part to help keep the law well-tended. This is also perfect for younger toddlers who are beginning to walk. This sturdy outside toy has no small parts and will withstand daily use.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “A little bit of bubble solution goes a long way, which makes for a lot of bubble fun!”
  • “We purchased this item for a nephew who is a beginning walker as well. It gave him the stability to continue to practice walking and provided hours of entertainment.”

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T-Ball Set

Who This is a Good Option For: Active, sporty parents who want to engage their children in sports.

Toddlers are not the most coordinated, and they frustrate easily. Tossing a ball for them to hit with a bit is a surefire way to spark a temper. Switch to a T-Ball set and let your little one hit away - it will quickly become one of their favorite pastimes.  

This is a great way to work on hand-eye coordination for toddlers who are still developing, and it is a great way to engage your little one in your active lifestyle. This is a highly-recommended addition to your backyard toys, especially if you are looking to get friends or siblings together for a friendly round of outdoor games. Made to withstand lots of swinging and hitting, you don’t have to worry about small parts falling off of this set.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “It is made of durable plastic so I don't have to worry about him hurting himself. The stand is adjustable so he will be able to use it for quite sometime.”
  • “We are working on how to hold the bat and her stance. I like that it comes with 6 balls so we aren't constantly running after the ball in between each hit.”

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The Original PlasmaCar

Who This is a Good Option For: Anxious parents who are not quite ready to have their child tackle a two-wheel bicycle ride.

Not ready to take the dive into a bicycle? The PlasmaCar is a great option that eliminates most of the risks for falling off and a summer of skinned knees and bumps and bruises. With no foot pedals to learn how to navigate, your toddler is sure to pick up how to use this "bike" pretty quickly.  

Balance is key for developing your kiddo’s motor skills, and this is a fun way to strengthen those muscles! This PlasmaCar will grow with your child, and is made out of reliable material so you know it will hold up for more than just one summer.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “Purchased this for my son's second birthday, and it was his absolute favorite gift by far! He absolutely loves riding it up and down the driveway and on the sidewalk.”
  • “Four months after our initial purchase and this is HANDS DOWN the best birthday gift we gave our son. He uses it every single day and has the device completely mastered. It's fascinating to watch!”

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Outdoor BBQ Playset

Who This is a Good Option For: Homecook parents who enjoy involving their kids in the kitchen fun.

You're finally home after a day of work and it’s time to fire up the grill and get dinner going. Let your toddler get to work with some pretend play while grilling right next to you with this outdoor play BBQ set. Your little one’s imaginative play is sure to soar as they grill up some yummy food for all of their kitchen guests.  No small parts are included so it is perfectly safe for the youngest toddler, but room for imagination still allows quality play for older siblings or as the years pass.

Here’s What Reviewers Have to Say...

  • “I bought this for our granddaughter who was turning 5. Her little sister, almost 3 loves it just as much, and older sister (7 1/2) likes it too.”
  • “My twin toddlers are loving their new grill and they get to grill just like daddy. One of my favorite things is that it is big enough for them to share and use at the same time.”

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