Outdoor Toys We Love

Hi. How we doing? This whole thing is not easy that’s for sure. I told Matt the other day, I thought I was an introvert until this all happened. Now, I hear my neighbor’s voice while reading to my kids outside and I run out just to say hi and talk to another adult for a few minutes (from six feet away at least). We’re lucky enough to be spending our physical distancing days in sunny California where it feels like spring and we can be outside the majority of the day which means our outside toys are getting lots of use.

Our favorite outdoor toys - two little girls playing on a backyard jungle gym structure.

We have collected so many great outdoor toys over the years that I thought I’d share them all in one place because now’s a great time to put them into use. I’d also love your input on what outdoor toys are keeping you and your kids sane right now. Let me know in the comments.

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Micro Scooter | My mom bought P this scooter for her 4th birthday. She rode it pretty much every day until she got a bike that Christmas and then Millie commandeered it as soon as she could walk. Now, both girls love to ride it. We have a nice path behind our house that they enjoy zipping down. Peighton has just about outgrown the three-wheeled scooter and is now asking for a two-wheeled one so she can go faster but that thing has lasted a good four years for us and is still going strong for Millie. I think it’s pricey as far as scooters go, but I’ll tell you, it looks and works as good as the day we got it and that says a lot!

Mini Pool | Last spring, when Matt was still in school, I bought a mini pool ( this one is the same brand and appears to be the same pool in a different colorway) for the girls because I didn’t have the energy to put the water slide each day. It has provided countless hours of entertainment. To fill it with air I drove it down to a nearby gas station and used their air compressor to fill it up and then shoved it back in my SUV. It would be a lot to fill from human lungs so if you have a pump or air compressor that would be ideal otherwise, my gas station trick works perfectly.

Water Slide | We bought this bad boy for Peighton’s 5th birthday which means it’s going on three years ago. It’s hard to believe Millie was so small when we first got it. Three summers (let’s be real we use it from March into October) it’s been going strong. I think that makes it a sound investment. It takes a bit to get it set up because it’s just so big. Once it’s out, we leave it out for a few days (draining the water of course), but we would move it around our lawn so it didn’t kill the grass. Matt stores it a big 20 gal storage bin.

Bubble Machine | Bubbles are a huge hit in our family. Both my girls will be outside for hours catching bubbles, making up games, and running around in them. After many, many $1 bubble wands, they received a bubble machine as a gift and it was game over. The continuous stream of bubbles beats the bubbles mom can blow, by far. The one we had was either lost or broken in the move so we got this one as a replacement. It’s not nearly as good as the one we had because it holds such little bubble solution but it’s really affordable. I just ordered this one which seems more similar to the one we had and loved. This is the best bubble solution. It’s about $5 for a giant container of solution (way cheaper than what you’ll find on Amazon).

Water Balloons | There’s nothing better than an epic water fight and a couple of times a year we have just that. I’m honestly not sure who loves it more, Matt or the girls. If you don’t love tying hundreds of water balloons then these fast-fill/self-sealing ones will be your best friend. I’ve noticed that we usually lose a handful in each batch but I’m okay with that.

Croquet Set | We got this as a family gift two Christmases ago. I have great memories of playing croquet and badminton in the summers with my grandparents in their backyard. I wanted to share that tradition with my girls so I got the croquet set as a family gift. We don’t exactly play according to the proper rules but the girls have a lot of fun and I think as they get older they’ll enjoy it more and more.

Jungle Gym | You may have noticed a trend – we love giving outdoor toys as gifts for the girls! We got this fun play structure for Peighton’s 6th birthday. We also purchased the little swing separately and tied it on as well. This was a beast to put together and Matt had some choice words after it was done (three hours later on a hot May day). It was also an absolute WIN for the girls. They loved it. When we first got it, I went to Target and bought a bunch of these plastic air-filled bouncy balls and they had so much fun with that. This jungle gym is quite large and several big kids can climb on it at a time. It’s a solid structure but it’s easy to move around the yard. Whenever we mowed we would just move it to another part of the yard and for whatever reason, that made the girls so happy. It was like the jungle gym was brand new every time it moved.

Water Beads | These might not exactly be outside toys but the way my kids play, I didn’t want them in the house. We’ve made countless sensory bins with them. They love playing restaurant or ice cream shop with them or any other imaginary play they can think of. I put them in plastic tubs and let them go nuts on the patio with the request that they keep them in the bins (that never happens).

Like I said, with all of us at home now, we are spending more time outside. I recognize not everyone has outside weather yet but it will be here before we know it. If you have some tried and true outdoor toys or play structures I’d love for you to share them in the comments! Stay safe out there!

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for this list! I’m always on the hunt for new ideas for our son and this is so helpful. Hang in there through the quarantine and these crazy times!