Back in the day, our parents used to say, “get outside and play.” That old-school thought is still one that is so important to our children’s health, physical growth, social/emotional well-being, sleep, cognitive development, and more. 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 get outside and play? Trust me, once they get out there with the right tools, they won’t want to come in. I have rounded up my favorite outdoor play ideas and toys that will excite your child and have them engaged in play that gets them some fresh air and sunshine for hours.
Best Toys For Outdoor Play
Playhouse and Swing Sets
Kidcraft Seacove Swing Set
Costway 6-in-1 Toddler Swing, Slide, and Climber Set
Kidcraft Andorra Cedar Wood Swing Set
Kidcraft Cozy Escape 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 look at 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, gross and fine motor play, and most of all, it creates social and emotional relationships that children have lacked due to virtual learning and isolation.
ArtCreativity Bubble Leaf Blower
Little Tikes Gardening Tools
Is there nothing cuter than a child following Dad around with their lawnmower? We may find yard work a daunting task, but our littles think it’s the best thing ever. These toys not only encourage their future lawn skills but also helps 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!
Step2 Spill and Splash Water Table
Lil' Canopy Shark Baby Pool
Water play outside these days is a far cry from running through your average sprinkler. With all the new, fun ways to explore water, the possibilities are endless. It has been shown that water play is such a beneficial type of play for littles 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.
Solar System Outdoor Chalk
Do you have a child who loves to create and make things? Bring that creativity and artistry outside for play. Creating things with nature or even just creating in nature will help make a calm environment for your little one. It may even make them become more aware of their surroundings and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. These fun toys will help let your little one’s creativity run free!
Giggle and Go Kids Bowling Set
Red Light Green Light Racing Game
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 encouraging 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. From sport sets to simple games to play with your neighbors, these are some of my favorites.
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, bugs, all that can lead to new play through books and puzzles and more. These are some of 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. Leading to new discoveries and adventures, all while helping them grow, sleep better, eat better and get a little vitamin D. To think that is all found, just in our backyards! Happy playing!
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