With warmer weather and more hours of daylight on the horizon, now is the time to start thinking about outdoor play for your kids. After being cooped up more than ever during the pandemic, getting outside will be a breath of fresh air (literally). Playing outside is vital to a child's development. Being exposed to nature and some much-needed vitamin D helps them stay healthy while sparking their imagination and encouraging creativity.
While it can be challenging to drag your kids away from the television and their tablets, luckily there are plenty of outdoor toys available to get them moving and forgoing their screens, at least for a bit. The best combo? A toy that's durable enough to withstand the elements (plus whatever your kids put them through) and fun to play with for more than five minutes. We found several child- and parent-approved options that fit the bill.
These are the 15 best outdoor toys in 2021:
Best Play Tent: Clubhouse Play Tent for Kids
Best Playhouse: Step2 Neat & Tidy II Playhouse
Best Slide: Lazy Buddy Freestanding Kid Slide
Best Bubbles: Lydaz Bubble Mower
Best Water Slide: Intex Jungle Adventure Inflatable Play Center
Best Bounce House: Little Tikes Jump’ n Slide Bouncer
Best Pool: Splash Pad Sprinkler for Toddlers
Best Kite: Hengda Kite 3-Pack
Best Swing Set: Trekassy Swing Set
Best Bike: Schwinn Koen Bike
Best Sandbox: Little Tikes Dirt Diggers Excavator Sandbox for Kids
Best Climbing Toy: Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower
Best Water Table: Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship
Best Scooter: Kid Trax CAT Toddler Kick Scooter
Best Sidewalk Chalk: Chalk City Sidewalk Chalk, 20 Count
All of the options on this list come highly reviewed on Amazon and run the gamut from affordable play tents to splurge-worthy swing sets. We've also included imaginative toys that'll inspire your little ones to create, and of course, water toys for when they need to cool down.
From playhouses and waterslides to scooters and sandboxes, these are the best outdoor toys for toddlers and preschoolers to take the fun outside during the warmer months.
Best Play Tent: Clubhouse Play Tent for Kids
There’s nothing like a play tent to spark a child’s imagination. This one has an adorable clubhouse design and is made from durable fabric that won’t tear easily. Reviewers say that it’s “very sturdy and super easy to put together.”To buy: Clubhouse Play Tent for Kids, $29.97 (originally $42.99); amazon.com.Best Playhouse: Step2 Neat & Tidy II Playhouse
This playhouse has so many real-life details that toddlers will love, including a mail slot, flower planter, fireplace, grill, and a working doorbell. An excellent choice for an imaginative play experience, it’s made from a durable kid-friendly plastic that can withstand the elements.To buy: Step2 Neat & Tidy II Playhouse, $240.26; amazon.com.Best Slide: Lazy Buddy Freestanding Kid Slide
This slide is made with rounded edges to avoid injuries and has a smooth surface that’s easy to slide down. Reviewers seem to agree that assembly is fairly simple and say that it’s big enough for toddlers to use for several years.To buy: Lazy Buddy Freestanding Kid Slide, $93.99; amazon.com.Best Bubbles: Lydaz Bubble Mower
It’s no secret that kids love bubbles, and this toy gets them active while engaging in pretend play. It blows bubbles as it moves and even makes realistic sounds to mimic an actual mower.To buy: Lydaz Bubble Mower, $27.99 (originally $39.99); amazon.com.Best Water Slide: Intex Jungle Adventure Inflatable Play Center
Water slides are a great way to make your backyard feel like a water park. This durable option is safe and fun for toddlers. Complete with sprinklers, it easily attaches to a water hose and has inflatable side bumpers for safety.To buy: Intex Jungle Adventure Inflatable Play Center, $99.99; amazon.com.Best Bounce House: Little Tikes Jump’ n Slide Bouncer
Letting kids bounce around for hours is a great way for them to burn off some energy (so you can keep your furniture intact). This bouncer is made from durable materials and can be blown up or deflated in minutes. Reviews say that it’s especially great for birthday parties and playdates.To buy: Little Tikes Jump’ n Slide Bouncer, $268.41; amazon.com.Best Pool: Splash Pad Sprinkler for Toddlers
This splash pad is an excellent to have on hot summer days. Little ones can cool off while you look on in the 68-inch pool, complete with sprinklers and a durable bottom. The sprinklers can be adjusted to three different heights and the pool folds up when not in use.To buy: Splash Pad Sprinkler for Toddlers, $24.95; amazon.com.Best Kite: Hengda Kite 3-Pack
Kites are timeless toys that can provide hours of fun and a feeling of accomplishment. This three-pack of kites requires no assembly and is easy for kids to fly on their own—in fact, a few Amazon shoppers say that the kites virtually fly themselves.To buy: Hengda Kite 3-Pack, $18.88 (originally $19.99); amazon.com.Best Swing Set: Trekassy Swing Set
If it’s not currently possible to bring your kids to the local playground, why not bring the playground to them? This swing set features a classic seat along with a two-seater saucer. It can support up to 440 pounds, so parents can feel free to give it a go, too!To buy: Trekassy Swing Set, $249.99; amazon.com.Best Bike: Schwinn Koen Bike
Whether it’s their first bike or an upgrade, this Schwinn bike is suitable for kids up to 52 inches tall. It has removable training wheels and an adjustable seat, plus two breaks: kids can reverse the pedals or press the handlebars for a full stop.To buy: Schwinn Koen Bike, $157.99; amazon.com.Best Sandbox: Little Tikes Dirt Diggers Excavator Sandbox
Kids will stay busy digging and exploring in this sandbox that includes six accessories and a large digger that really works. The top lid doubles as a playset with a ramp for cars and trucks. It can hold up to 100 pounds of sand and is easily stored when not in use. You can preorder now with an expected ship date of March 9.To buy: Little Tikes Dirt Diggers Excavator Sandbox, $54.99; amazon.com.Best Climbing Toy: Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower
Rather than watching with bated breath as your kids climb the furniture, have them climb this tower instead. The sturdy play structure features a double-lock system and UV-protected materials that won’t deteriorate in the sun. It can hold up to 150 pounds, and parents in the Amazon reviews section report that it’s lightweight and easy to assemble.To buy: Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower, $194.49 (originally $220); amazon.com.Best Water Table: Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship
Being outside means more opportunities for messy fun. This water table pumps, squirts, and pours water with its many interactive features. Parents on Amazon rave about how much their kids love this toy, including one reviewer who said: “This water table is the only thing keeping my sanity during quarantine.”To buy: Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship, $79.99; amazon.com.Best Scooter: Kid Trax CAT Toddler Kick Scooter
This scooter combines two of child-favorite outdoor activities: scooting and digging. It has a three-wheel design for toddlers to easily balance, and the bulldozer scoop on the front can be removed and played with. The scooter also has an adjustable handlebar and easy steering capabilities.To buy: Kid Trax CAT Toddler Kick Scooter, $44.99; amazon.com.Best Sidewalk Chalk: Chalk City Sidewalk Chalk, 20 Count
A classic sidewalk chalk set will get kids coloring and creating in their own driveway. This set features 20 brightly colored chalk pieces that are non-toxic and washable.To buy: Chalk City Sidewalk Chalk, 20 Count, $9.99; amazon.com.