Playing outside so important to our children’s health, physical growth, social/emotional well-being, sleep, cognitive development, and more.1 It also helps kids learn important life skills like executive function, risk-taking, and socialization. It has been shown that getting our littles outside daily will positively impact them in more ways than one. So how can we pry them away from that screen time and get them excited to play outside? Once they get out there with the right tools, they won’t want to come in. I have rounded up my favorite outdoor toys for kids that will excite your child and engage them in play that gets them some fresh air and sunshine for hours.
The Best Outdoor Toys for Kids (Ages 1 – 8)
Playhouse and Swing Sets
KidKraft Overlook Challenge Swing Set
Babyjoy 4-in-1 Toddler Climber and Swing Set
KidKraft Appleton Wooden Swing Set
Backyard Discovery Beacon Heights Elevated Playhouse
Little Tykes Real Wood Adventures Bobcat Ridge Playset
Sweetwater Wooden Playhouse
These playhouses and swing sets have become very popular over the last year. With most of us staying home and not visiting our local playgrounds, having a swing set in your backyard became more appealing. We may see it as just a swing and slide, but it could be so much to a little one’s imagination. This type of play helps promote imaginative play with coordination development and gross and fine motor play. Most of all, it creates social and emotional relationships that children have lacked due to virtual learning and isolation.
Is there nothing cuter than a child following Dad around with their lawnmower? We may find yard work daunting, but our littles think it’s the best thing ever. These kids’ outdoor toys encourage their future lawn skills and help with modeling behavior. When a child learns to model behavior or a skill, it helps them learn it faster and correctly. Fostering this type of play will help in other areas of child development as it will encourage them to model other behaviors such as self-care, independence, safety, and more. Here are some of my favorite “grown-up” tools for outdoor play!
Water play outside these days is a far cry from running through your average sprinkler. The possibilities are endless with all the new, fun ways to explore water. It has been shown that water play is such a beneficial type of play for kids as it helps explore different senses, science skills, gross and fine motor skills, patience, cause and effect, and more. Starting at 6 months and up, there is something for everyone in this category of outdoor toys.
Bring Art Outside
Do you have a child who loves to create and make things? Bring that creativity and artistry outside for play. Creating something using nature or even just creating in nature will help make a calm environment for your little one. It may even make them more aware of their surroundings and enjoy what Mother Nature offers. These fun kids’ outdoor toys will help let your little one’s creativity run free!
Gross Motor Skills
When we think about outside play, we may go to the basics of bikes and playing ball. These are still fantastic ways to promote social-emotional skills (sharing) and encourage gross motor development in our littles. Besides your traditional bike, adding more elements to this type of play can help engage your child longer and broaden their gross motor development even more. These are some of my favorite outdoor toys for kids, from sports sets to simple games to play with your neighbors.
Sometimes the simplest thoughts when it comes to child’s play are the most fun! Exploring nature around them opens up so many sensory skills, fine and gross motor skills, and may even expose them to a topic they didn’t even know they liked, such as birds, plants, and bugs, all that can lead to new play through books and puzzles and more. These are my favorite toys and books to help your young bug catcher.
No matter what category your child gravitates toward, the benefits of outside play are endless. These outdoor toys for kids will lead to discoveries and adventures, helping them grow, sleep better, eat better and get a little vitamin D. And it’s all found in our backyards! Happy playing!
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