The 26 Best Outdoor Toys For Toddlers — So Their Imagination Can Run Wild
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There’s really no easier way to keep kids entertained for hours than to have them out playing in the yard, and that’s why it’s time to stock up on the best outdoor toys for toddlers. We’re talking about the crucial tools that bring the fun and encourage exploration for as long as you and your little one can handle the sun. So go ahead and grab the flip flops, sunscreen, and snacks, and get ready for the ultimate outdoor playtime.
What Do Toddlers Play With Outside?
For this roundup, we organized toys into three categories that promise to delight your toddler:
- Yard Toys: The best yard toys for toddlers are often open-ended ones that they’ll return to again and again. These can run the gamut, including sports, nature kits, and gardening tools; these toys might just be a fated introduction to activities and hobbies they’ll come to love as they grow.
- Water Toys: Sure, it’s hot out there, but water is also an excellent sensory ingredient that lends itself best to outdoor play and helps them cool off. The best water toys for toddlers include water tables, splash pads, sprinklers, and accessories to take it to the next level.
- Playsets: We sourced the best outdoor playsets for toddlers for both small spaces and bigger backyards. From sandboxes to mud kitchens — to the less messy slides and playhouses — everything on this list is destined to bring the fun for hours.
And because it’s helpful to keep dimensions and age recommendations in mind (we’re always thinking safety first), we’ve noted those for each pick. Snag a few of our favorite finds below, and you’re all set for enjoying the outdoors with your kiddo.
In a hurry? Here are a few top picks for the best outdoor toys for toddlers.
1. The Best Bubble Machine: Kidzlane Bubble Machine
2. The Best Water Table: Step2 Rain Showers & Unicorns Water Table
3. The Best Slide: Little Tikes First Slide
The Best Yard Toys For Toddlers
A Durable Bubble Machine For Endless Giggles
Combine bubbles with sunshine? An instant pick-me-up for fussy toddlers. There is something truly magical about bubbles floating through the air, and this bubble machine produces up to 500 bubbles a minute. This bubble machine is quiet and durable enough to handle little hands constantly pushing the buttons. Plus, it comes with an 8-ounce bottle of bubble solution, so you’re ready to go.
Helpful review: “We’ve gone through quite a few bubble making products and this is by far the best we’ve had. It makes TONS of bubbles and is easy enough to [turn] on and off that our 3 year old can do it himself. He also likes to carry the machine around and the design of this keeps it from immediately spilling bubble solution [...]”
Dimensions: 9.02 x 9.02 x 7.01 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
An Award-Winning Ride-On Toy For Easy Rolling
This innovative ride-on car requires no batteries, no charging, and no “Mommyyy! Push me!” energy. The car harnesses inertia, centrifugal force, gravity, and friction to keep your kiddo safely rolling, outdoors (or in). Meanwhile, your toddler can work on developing coordination, balance, and motor skills. (PS: You’ll want to give it a go as well; it’s sturdy enough to support up to 220 pounds.) It’s no surprise this car has earned multiple awards, including the Oppenheim Portfolio Platinum Seal Award (2006).
Helpful review: “This is my very tall 5 year olds favorite toy! Even 6 months later. It's easy to operate, will last for so long because of the weight limit, indoor/outdoor use. I want one for me! Plus it makes no annoying noise, doesn't [light] up, can be used in small spaces. It’s brilliant and I cant say enough good things!”
Dimensions: 31 x 11.8 x 11 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
A Bubble Push Mower For Pretend Play
This bubble mower comes complete with realistic sounds, and the flowing bubbles will keep your tot pushing along as they pretend and play — and/or practice for the real thing one day (a mom can dream). It’s a clear favorite with over 13,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. It comes with three bottles of bubble solution, but you’ll need to provide the three AA batteries required.
Helpful review: “Great bubble machine! I work with preschool children and they are absolutely loving this bubble mower! It was very easy to assemble and included extract bottles of bubbles and a mini-screwdriver. It has a simple push button to turn on and off the motor. The bubbles are activated when the child pushes the mower. Our classroom requests to use this almost daily now! It’s been wonderful for teaching turn-taking and requesting for more bubbles :)”
Dimensions: 2.63 x 14.25 x 9.5 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 18 months old & up
An Obstacle Course That Packs Away Easily
Sometimes the simplest toy gets the most playtime. (Looking at you, Tupperware lids.) These turtle shells may look simple, but they are destined to be a hit when playing the “floor is lava” game on the back porch. With 24 activity cards and five game suggestions, this set of six stepping stones is poised for playtime on the regular. They’re made of durable plastic with non-slip edges to safely hold up to 195 pounds. Plus, they can be used to hold materials for other sensory activities.
Helpful review: “Top 10 toddler/child item in our opinion. These step/ balance turtle shells grow with your toddler into Pre-K and beyond. [...] We love how easy these are to clean and wipe down. Durable shells that are sturdy to encourage safe, open-ended play and creativity.”
Dimensions: 17.25 x 3.25 inches (L x H); 17.25 x 2.25 inches (L x H) | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
A Foam Rocket Launcher For Burning Excess Energy
Run...jump...launch! And repeat. This foam rocket launcher is one of those toys kids want to play with again, and again, and again. This is good if they’ve got some stored-up energy. The harder they jump, the higher the rocket flies — up to 100 feet in the air with the perfect stomp. The highly rated set comes with six foam rockets and a launcher.
Helpful review: “My 3 and 4 year old have spent HOURS playing with this toy. And adults in my family covet it. Its safe enough to play with in the house in a rainy day, but also a blast to take outside and run and jump on it to see how high you can shoot the rocket. Perfect gift.”
Dimensions: none listed | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
A Garden Set With A Fun-To-Push Wheelbarrow
This garden set will make your toddler feel like your #1 garden helper, and it’s perfect for imaginary play by your side. The wheelbarrow rolls around to carry whatever rocks and sticks they're collecting today, and the watering can is perfect for watering (and/or accidentally dousing) the flowers. The comprehensive set also includes a pair of gloves, a hand rake, shovel, double hoe, cultivator, hedge clippers, and an apron that’s washable!
Helpful review: “Such a fun play set that my son can pretend to do garden work like we do. He’s always trying to grab our gardening tools when we are working on the garden but now we have him use his play tools and it keeps him from getting fussy. The quality is strong but still safe for him to play with. [...]”
Dimensions: Wheelbarrow: 26.5 x 9.8 x 13.8 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
A Classic T-Ball Set For Little Ballers
Let’s face it. If you’re a parent of a toddler, some version of a T-ball set is destined to land in your backyard. But there’s a reason this classic toy endures. Aside from the benefit of practicing hand-eye coordination, this toy is truly a fun one for families or little ones on their own. The set comes with five balls, which can be stored in the hangable base along with the bat. Plus, the height is adjustable to grow with your kiddo.
Helpful review: “Purchased for my 3 year old. She loved it and figured it out right away. It’s much sturdier than I expected for the price. My husband has been hitting off of it full force, for my daughter’s amusement and it didn’t break (the bat or the tee). For a plastic ball and bat, the ball can travel a long way. Would definitely purchase again.”
Dimensions: 4 x 11.66 x 27.4 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 18 months old & up
A Classic Dump Truck For Hauling & Dumping
Whether you have a sandbox or a patch of dirt, a toddler can find hours of play with this dump truck. Its 10-inch size is large enough to carry around rocks and sticks from one end of the yard to the other. And when it’s time to come in for a bath due to all those rocks and sticks, the truck can come, too.
Helpful review: “This dump truck has been one of my son’s favorite trucks. He absolutely loves driving it around and filling it with sand and rocks. It makes for good, concentrated, independent playtime. It’s plastic but can take a lot of toddler abuse in the sand box. It’s very sturdy and the wheels are big and durable. Worth the purchase price and we highly recommended this truck!!”
Dimensions: 10 x 5 x 7 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 2 years old & up
An Outdoor Discovery Kit For Kiddos Curious About Bugs
Encourage exploration in your own backyard with this adorable explorer kit. Little nature lovers are all set with everything they need for an adventure outside, including binoculars, a compass, bug containers, some fake bugs, and a hat. Collect, inspect, and learn from the simple magic of the outdoors — just make sure they keep the bugs out of the house when playtime is over.
Helpful review: “Loved this for my 4 year old! The binoculars are great quality, as well as the awesome flashlight that doesn’t require batteries. It has every item you would need for your little explorer. Cute Camo hat that fits great. An awesome bag to hold all the items. The magnifying glasses are great quality. Love that it includes fake bugs to play with. My son loves the small bug container and larger netted one. He also loves the bug net and little gripper tool that can hold bugs in it. This could have easily been priced way higher, so it’s a great find for the price!”
Dimensions: Bug house: 8 x 5 x 6 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
A Soccer Set For Little Feet
You’re well on your way to soccer-mom status with this outdoor soccer set that includes a net, ball, and pump. There’s nothing cuter than a toddler trying to kick the ball and then getting distracted by a butterfly. Pro tip: if the net is too high, you can flip it over for a shorter height. This set is well-loved on Amazon, with more than 2,000 five-star reviews.
Helpful review: “This is such a cute and sturdy little soccer set for my 3 year old. [...]We have had it for a few months now and it is holding up great! It is very sturdy and doesn't budge even when an adult kicks the ball into it or while being exposed to wind gusts. The goal is made of metal bars that are easily pushed into place. Set up only took a few minutes which is another plus when dealing with kids as they are impatient to start playing.”
Dimensions: Goal: 48 x 18 x 30 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 2 years old & up
A Classic Set of Playground Balls For All The Games
A backyard without a ball is just a backyard. But a backyard with a collection of bright, colorful balls? It’s a dodgeball court, a soccer pitch, a kickball field — or simply a place to bounce and kick. Every good yard needs a playground ball and this set of six 8.5-inch balls is top-notch for open-ended play that will last well beyond toddler years. And they even come with a mesh storage bag and pump.
Helpful review: “I'm a boy mom. I have 5 of them ranging in ages from 24 years to 4 months. (Obviously the 4 month old doesn't count in this review.) My boys have NOT been able to destroy these balls yet (sending them over the fence or on the roof is another story). They are HARD on balls. The cheap playground balls you can get at Wal-Mart last maybe an hour on a good day before someone pops them with a hard kick. These hold their own.”
Dimensions: 8.5 inches in diameter | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
The Best Water Toys For Toddlers
A Tiered Water Table With A Unicorn Motif
Just add water for hours of outdoor playtime with this water table. It comes with 12 accessories, including buckets to scoop, pour, and splash. Kids will love the rainfall effect from the top tier. Parents also love the ease of cleanup — just unplug the basin and you’re good to go.
Helpful review: “One of my little girl's all-time favorite toys. She loves playing in the water with the little toys that come with it. It is easy to drain and keep clean. Assembly is a little difficult but if you have two people isn’t a problem. A really fun toy for any child. My little girl especially love the unicorns. We have play dates with other kids and they all love to play in it. It’s also very cute!”
Dimensions: 39.02 x 24.02 x 32.01 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 18 months old & up
A Backyard Splash Pad For Keeping Cool
Hook up a hose and you’re in business. This durable splash pad is a Scary Mommy favorite and not just because of those adorable animals on the base. The sprinkler fills up to create a wading pool that’s perfect for little ones who love to splash. Get ready to fill this up on repeat all summer long. Choose from five designs, including this alphabet and animal one.
Helpful review: “My kids (2/3) loved this splash pad. They spent two hours playing in it, which made me happy. It is not deep at all, which allows me to relax a little but it was deep enough for them to sit in and have some water in their laps. They were laying on their bellies and searching for their dive toys in the little pool, which made for a lot of fun for them.”
Dimensions: 60 x 60 x 4 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 12 months old & up
An Inflatable Dino-Themed Water Park
Inflatable pools are cool, but have you seen this? Little dino lovers will LOVE this play center complete with three inflatable dinosaur buddies, a waterslide, sprinkler, and pool. The set also comes with balls for rolling and rings for tossing. Parent of the year, here you come. Tip: An air mattress pump will inflate this baby fast.
Helpful review: “I must have looked at least 20 different pools like this and finally this one had the best reviews so I decided to go with it and I have to say I’m beyond pleased with this purchase!!! My 2 year old was so excited when he got to play on this! He was able to play with everything and go down the slide no problem, + my smaller one was able to sit and play in the water this was by far the BEST money spent on anything for the kids so far!”
Dimensions: 119 x 90 x 44 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 2 years old & up
A Floral Sprinkler For Splashy Fun Without A Pool
Remember running through the sprinkler as a kid? Guess what — it’s still just as fun. This water sprinkler is nostalgic, easy to use, and it waters the parched grass — a win all around. The floral motif blends right in with the backyard.
Helpful review: “My two year old loves this! Worked great right out of the box. Turned the water up high and the sprinkler handled great. Lots of spray shooting way up there (the kids loved it). Equally fun with the water just ‘cracked’ on for a low spray... which is how we use it the majority of the time (as not to waste water). Good buy, easy to use, lots of fun.”
Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 8 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
A Sand & Water Table For Little Adventurers
Get your sensory play on with a table that has it all. From the sand to the water (and probably a little mixing of the two, let’s be honest) this dinosaur-themed water table is primed for outdoor playtime. It comes with toy dinosaurs and a shovel-rake for the sand, plus your little one will love pouring water into the “volcano” and watching it erupt. And here’s a tip for longevity: when winter hits, pull this inside and fill it with other sensory items suited for indoor play.
Helpful review: “Total hit with my two year old. Super light weight and easy to drain/dump/clean. I say dump because my son like to mix the sand with the water on the side with no drain, but I can still tip it and clean it out at 32 weeks pregnant. The dinosaurs are cute too!”
Dimensions: 29.5 x 33 x 30 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 2 years old & up
A 20-Piece Toy Set For The Beach & Beyond
We all know that sand toys eventually become bath toys that eventually become digging toys, right? This 20-piece set is ready for anything — and especially perfect for outdoor water play. Toss them into a splash pad or a water table and suddenly you’ve unlocked a whole new level of exploration. We love that this set comes with a dump truck and a mesh bag for carrying some of the smaller items.
Helpful review: “[...] This is much higher quality than beach toy sets I have purchased previously, on Amazon or elsewhere. The plastic seems thicker and some pieces like the bucket more flexible and less likely to break. It has unique pieces like the little cloud that you can submerge under water and then "rain" comes out of the bottom of the cloud. The colors appeal to me personally. I kind of think it looks less cheap than a lot of sets.”
Dimensions: Various sizes | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
A Waterfall Wall For Outdoor STEM Play
This waterfall maze can be adjusted to endless variations, creating new discoveries every time. Interchange buckets, wheels, trays, zig-zags, spinners, and more to watch the water move from top to bottom —then do it all again. Plus, it’s double-sided so multiple kiddos can play at the same time.
Helpful review: “This is a godsend! The little one loves being outside, especially when there’s water Involved to play with. Keeps her entertained, and interested. There are so many different ways you can [set] this up, hence why she so interested in it. [...] Very easy to assemble, took about 5 minutes to put together. No sharp edges, no toys that can poke, or scratch the little ones. Has a nice wide base which makes it nice and sturdy, especially when water is filled in it. Honestly great toy, especially for summer.”
Dimensions: 16.25 x 28 x 33.25 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 18 months old & up
The Best Outdoor Playsets For Toddlers
A Cult-Favorite Slide For All Seasons
This beginner slide is one kiddos can start climbing and slipping down as a young toddler and all the way up to 6 years old. A great toy for indoor/outdoor play, Little Tike’s classic toddler slide also sets the stage for plenty of open-ended play. Send babydolls and dinos sliding down, race cars to see which is the fastest — some caregivers even sent the slide into a ball pit! The options are endless.
Helpful review: “Perfect! Early birthday gift for my almost 2 yr old. She immediately climbed up and slid down, and hasn’t stopped for days. We use it indoor and outdoor (wiping down after outside), easily cleaned, sturdy, easy to put together.”
Dimensions: 39 x 18 x 27.5 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 18 months old & up
A Blow-Up Bounce House For Serious Fun
Is there anything more exciting to a kid than a bounce house? Even the most trepidatious of toddlers can appreciate the wow factor of jumping and sliding in this bounce house that inflates and deflates in less than a minute. You’ll appreciate the mesh closure on the sides and the slide for easily getting in and out. Plus, parents confirm investing in this outdoor toy is absolutely worth it for burning up a toddler’s endless energy and getting them tired enough for bedtime. And you’re all set for every party or playdate.
Helpful review: “We call this 'the nap maker' and occasionally 'early bedtime'. We have twin[s], they are exhausting and have more energy than I ever remember having. This awesome toy levels the playing field for us, exhausts them, burns all that crazy energy... They roll out of it begging to go to sleep and that makes this worth every penny. Every. Single. Penny.”
Dimensions: 84 x 84 x 47.5 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
A Playtime Patio For Your Actual Patio
This patio has everything for a summer afternoon with friends. There’s a “grill” with hotdogs and veggie skewers, dishes, and a kitchen sink for cleanup. And there’s a sand and water table for playtime under the pavilion-style canopy. Parents and caregivers on Amazon rave about this “amazing” patio—it boasts a 4.8-star rating after more than 2,000 reviews.
Helpful review: “I didn't believe the other reviews saying their kids could play with this for hours but they really can. My 2yo daughter loves this thing! Got the little tikes grill food for about $17 to go along with it and she has a blast! Perfect height, provides good shade so you dont have to worry about the sun. There is definitely enough room for two or three kids to play comfortably inside. [...] Overall I would say totally worth it!”
Dimensions: 47.5 x 47.5 x 60 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 2 years old & up
A Classic Outdoor Playhouse For Imaginative Play
If you’re on the hunt for the best outdoor playset then you’re likely considering a classic playhouse. Made for imagining, carrying in mud pies, creating an ice-cream shop, and more, this house features a sweet Victorian cottage design, complete with a mail-box slot. You can bundle it with a toddler-sized picnic table if you want to give them a place to rest and eat after all that playing.
Helpful review: “This play house was easy to assemble. Very cute. It has two doors. Small enough to fit in smaller room spaces but big enough for two possibly three children to play in. [...] We play house, store, post office, coffee shop, bakery, and use it to act out stories etc. Money well spent.”
Dimensions: 35 x 42.75 x 49 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 2 years old & up
A “Roller Coaster” They’ll Ride Again & Again
Little thrill-seeker on your hands? For the kids who will fearlessly try anything, this coasting car is tons of fun. The nearly 9-foot track is designed to “ride and hide,” aka, it comes apart quickly for easy storage. Reviewers agree it’s “worth every cent” and the “BEST TOY EVER.” PS: there’s also a unicorn version.
Helpful review: “Awesome fun toy. Very easy to assemble, it's sturdy & durable. It doesn't come apart, lean or act like it's going to detach while your going down. We have ours outside in the grass & we don't have any issues with it. It stays outside in the rain & is perfectly fine. It's super easy for my 2 y.o to push the cart up to the top & then the wheels go in a little divet that makes it stay put while the kids climb up the steps & hop on. It's super easy for my kid to push off & ride down! He loves it”
Dimensions: 27 x 110 x 12.75 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 2 years old & up
A Mud Kitchen For Budding Bakers
Mud pies are on the menu with this outdoor kitchen playset specifically designed for tactile, messy playtime. The kitchen comes with pots and pans and a removable sink for collecting muddy treasures. Tip: reviewers report it helps to have a drill handy for assembly.
Helpful review: “We live in a desert, so anytime you can find something that support water play without a bunch of repetitive setup it is a win. The kiddos love "cooking" and a toy pot and pan set has made this the toy of choice on a hot day!”
Dimensions: 37.4 x 15 x 34.6 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
A Wooden Playhouse That’ll Blend Right In With Your Outdoor Decor
A toddler playhouse but make it worthy of an HGTV show? Yep, this wooden playhouse is adorably stylish, but it’s also got some super fun features. A picnic table, a grill, a sink, and a mailbox round out the features that add up to multiple hours of fun. Plus, the reinforced wooden panels prevent warping and weathering so the house can last through the wind and rain.
Helpful review: “We decided to get this item instead of a plastic playset and we are happy with the results. It was easy to assemble and took about 5 hours total to build it. The best part about this is the materials are wood so it can be customized to add your personal touch. We painted ours to match our house and added shingles to help it last longer. It's been a hit [...]”
Dimensions: 70.9 x 48.9 x 62.25 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up
A Portable Sandbox With A Cover
Finally, what’s a backyard without a sandbox? This small sandbox is an ideal size for when you’re digging out twigs and leaves later (there’s also a lid for that). There’s a working excavator for the kids and plenty of accessories to keep kids digging, scooping, and rolling along. Sand comes separately and it can hold up to 100 pounds, though reviewers claim you could get by with much less.
Helpful review: “I'm writing this review as I relax under the shade of a tree drinking my coffee that's still HOT. That's because this little sandbox is amazing and occupies my little guy for hours :) it is small- but he doesn't seem to mind digging from the outside. I think a friend or 2 could join him comfortably. We filled with a little less than 28 lbs of sand that we bought at Home Depot for $10. We hid little dinosaurs at the bottom so every now and then he finds a ‘fossil’ and gets really excited. Great investment!”
Dimensions: 61.74 x 47 x 13 inches (L x W x H) | Recommended Age: 3 years old & up