The Best Outdoor Toys for Kids of All Ages, Even the Screen-Obsessed Ones

Bubbles, water tables, swings, and more fun ways to play outside

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Verywell Family / Lecia Landis

Whether your kids are tiny toddlers or school-aged, one thing that they can definitely agree on is that playing outside is a whole lot more fun with the right toys. Heading outdoors to play can encourage your kids to break away from their screens and interact with the world around them. When the weather shifts from frigid to warm, having fun, durable, and engaging outdoor toys in the backyard or park can be a real boredom buster.

Reviewed & Tested

The Fom Mania Foamalanche is easy enough for your older kids to use on their own and the battery-free design means you can take it to the park, the beach, or a friend’s house. The Step2 Tropical Rainforest Water Table will keep your toddlers entertained for hours and has enough space and accessories to keep a handful of kids engaged in parallel and collaborative play.

The right outdoor toys should be age-appropriate and entertaining. If the toy is designed for an older child, your toddler will likely be uninterested, not know how to play with it, or harm themselves while playing. “With so many options for outdoor play, parents or caregivers should look out for toys that will match kids’ interests," Maddie Michalik, senior editor at Toy Insider, tells Verywell Family. "Kids who are into sports might want options that will test their skills; creative kids will love outdoor crafts; techy kids might love drone[s] and remote-control vehicles!”

Based on Michalik's advice and our own research, we’ve rounded up the best outdoor toys for kids!

Best Overall: FÖM MANIA Fömalanche

4.5
FÖM MANIA Fömalanche

FÖM MANIA

Pros
  • Easy to use

  • Portable

Cons
  • Batteries not included

  • Requires foam solution refills

Who else recommends it? The Strategist also picked the FÖM MANIA Fömalanche.

What do buyers say? 100+ BJ's reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

The Fom Mania Foamalanche machine is rated the highest on our list because it is a unique toy that will get even your most reluctant kiddo outdoors. The easy-to-use machine comes with a foam solution concentrate that creates piles of airy, sudsy foam for outrageously fun backyard play dates, parties, or regular sunny day hangouts. The portable machine has a child-friendly design so your kiddo can simply press a button to get the foam party started. This toy is not recommended for kids under 3 years old due to its small parts. 

To ensure that the toy continues to function properly, you should only use the foam concentrated solution (that should be diluted with water), and purchase refills separately.

Best Budget: WOWMAZING Giant Bubble Wands Standard Kit

WOWMAZING Giant Bubble Wands Standard Kit

Amazon

Pros
  • Non-toxic bubble solution

  • Comes with tips and tricks guide

Cons
  • Only works with bubble solution

It is a well-documented fact that kids go bananas over bubbles, so we know that they will go bonkers for this four-piece giant bubble kit by WOWMAZING. Made for kids as young as 6 years old, the kit comes with two packets of biodegradable, non-toxic bubble solution, a bubble wand set, and a booklet to help your family create the jumbo bubbles of their dreams. Although this is a toy designed for kids, we really think that it is a perfect activity for the entire family to enjoy!

Best for Toddlers: Step2 Tropical Rainforest Water Table

Step2 Tropical Rainforest Water Table

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Big enough for multiple kids

  • Comes with 13 accessories

Cons
  • Doesn’t have pre-drilled holes, making assembly challenging

Toddlers love playing in and around water, especially on a warm and sunny day. The Step2 Tropical Rainforest Water Table allows your toddlers to engage in sensory water play safely. This extra-large water table has enough space to accommodate a few kiddos, as well as 13 accessories to keep all of them entertained. The brightly colored rainforest theme encourages toddlers to use their imaginations while the upper canopy tray creates a cool rainfall effect. Parents will love that the no-leak drainage system will keep the water in place until you’re ready to empty out the basin. 

Best Swing: PEACEARTH Saucer Swing

PEACEARTH Saucer Swing

PEACEARTH

Pros
  • High weight capacity

  • Durable

Cons
  • Requires a tree

This swing will quickly become the most popular toy in your backyard, but don’t worry, your kiddos can share the 40-inch saucer, as it is designed to hold up to 660 pounds at a time. Thanks to the multi-strand braided rope, your little ones can safely swing without the rope tearing, unraveling, or fraying prematurely. We love that the set comes with everything that you’ll need to set the swing up including heavy-duty galvanized locking carabiners and hanging straps. All you need is a try from which to hang it!

Best Water Toy: Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Pretty Petals Sprinkler Toy

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Pretty Petals Sprinkler Toy

Amazon

Pros
  • Multiple waterspouts

  • Small, portable design

Cons
  • Probably not big enough for older kids

What is better than hopping through the sprinklers on a super hot summer’s day? Nothing! This adorable child-sized sprinkler is the perfect addition to your backyard, especially for the days when you want your little ones to engage in more open-ended fun. All you need is a garden hose, which will let you increase and decrease the water intensity. Then the splashing can begin!

Best for Sensory Play: Step2 Crabbie Sand Table

crabbie-sand-table

Courtesy of Wayfair

Pros
  • Two molded seats 

  • Cover included

Cons
  • Doesn’t come with sand

Bring the joy of the sandbox to your backyard with this adorable crab-shaped box from Step2. This roomy crab comes complete with a hardtop to keep pets, bugs, and neighborhood critters out of the sand. With the capacity to hold 300 pounds of sand, this box features molded seats so your tots aren’t sinking into their sandy creations.

Best for Climbing: Lifetime Geometric Dome Climber Play Center

Lifetime Geometric Dome Climber Play Center

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Meets ASTM safety standards 

  • Includes hand grips

  • Weight capacity of 600 pounds

Cons
  • Costly

Get ready for your house to be the go-to hangout spot with this dome climber by Lifetime. This UV-resistant, free-standing dome features high-density polyethylene resin rock hand grips to help kids climb safely while working on their coordination skills. The dome is playground-quality and meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards of safety. With 6 feet of space to climb and explore, this dome will get plenty of play time.

Best for Collaborative Play: Koosh Double Paddle Set

Koosh Double Paddle Set

Koosh

Pros
  • Open-ended game 

  • Comes with ball

Cons
  • Replacement balls are pricey

Encourage your kids to play together, peacefully, with this outdoor paddle set by Koosh. The super lightweight paddles have a trampoline-like bounce that makes hitting the stringy Koosh ball easy and fun. We love that there aren’t any set rules so your kiddos can engage in open-ended, creative play as they make up their games. Ideal for kids 8 years old and up, this set is great for the backyard, beach, or park.

Best for Big Kids: Stomp Rocket Ultra Rocket

Stomp Rocket Ultra, 4 Rockets

 Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Simple introduction to physics concepts 

  • Comes with four rockets

Cons
  • Lighter kids may have trouble launching the rocket far

Your kids will have stars in their eyes as they watch this little rocket soar! Powered by your kid's energy, which we know they have plenty of, this rocket doesn’t require charging or batteries and comes with four rockets for continuous fun. These ambitious little rockets can reach up to 20 stories, or 200 feet in the air, with a single stomp. While it may not look like a STEM toy, it is a great way to introduce your child to the basic mechanics of physics and simple machines.

Best Sports Toy: Aerobie Sonic Fin Aerodynamic Outdoor Football

Aerobie Sonic Fin Aerodynamic Outdoor Football

Aerobie

Pros
  • Can reach up to 100 feet in distance

  • Fins help increase speed and precision

Cons
  • Hard plastic body and fins make it difficult to catch

Calling all football enthusiasts! Your kiddo will feel like a pro football player when they get their hands on the Aerobie Sonic Fin Football. Endorsed by Seattle Seahawks player Russell Wilson, this football has an innovative design that allows it to pick up air as it soars. The ball’s fins help it spin in order to increase speed, reach distances up to 100 feet, and achieve precision with every throw.

Final Verdict

The Fom Mania Foamalanche is a toy that your whole family can enjoy, especially on a hot day. We also love that the Lifetime Geometric Dome Climber is a playground staple that you can set up in your own backyard.

How We Selected the Best Outdoor Toys for Kids

We researched the dozens of toys on the market that are made to be played with outdoors. We considered different types of toys, different types of play, age ranges, and the emerging trends that kids will be looking forward to this year. We also consulted with Maddie Michalik, senior editor of the Toy Insider as well as visited their toy headquarters in New York to learn more about what type of toys kids love to play with outside, the trends to keep an eye out for, and the coolest new outdoor toys available now.

What to Look For When Buying Outdoor Toys For Kids

Age Appropriate

Just like the toys that are made to use indoors, outdoor toys should be age-appropriate. Staying within the recommended age guidelines outlined by the manufacturer will help you identify the toys that will be entertaining and safe for your child to play with. Older kids are unlikely to be entertained by a water table while toddlers can become easily frustrated trying to figure out how to play with a ball and paddle. 

“Age recommendation is super important for purchasing any toy for kids of all ages—outdoor or not," Maddie Michalik, senior editor at Toy Insider tells Verywell Family.  "There are a number of reasons for a manufacturer’s age recommendation on a product, including safety reasons and required skill level. There are instances where it can be up to the discretion of the adult, but we strongly recommend sticking to the manufacturer’s age recommendations in all instances.”

Safety

When it comes to kids of all ages, safety is always a priority. We know that accidents happen, even with eagle-eye supervision. To help protect your little one while they play, age guidelines can be the first step to assessing the safety of a toy. Also, keep in mind that children should have supervision when playing outdoors, especially when they are playing with water toys and ride-on toys, which can sometimes lead to accidents and injury. We also recommend using the toys as they are intended to be used to prevent pieces from breaking off and creating other hazards. 

Outdoor Specific

We know that some toys can be used both inside and outside and that some indoor toys are OK to bring outside (like your child’s favorite doll or jumbo blocks). However, when it comes to buying toys that are going to live outdoors, you should consider the kind that are specifically created to be used outside. Typically outdoor toys are weather-resistant and can withstand more wear and tear, while indoor toys might be totally ruined if left out in a rainstorm.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need to clean my outdoor toys?

    All toys should be sanitized and cleaned periodically. For outdoor toys that are left out in the elements, you’ll want to wipe them down to clean away dirt and debris. Cleaning your outdoor toys will help them stay in tip-top shape longer.

  • Can regular toys be played with outside?

    While your child can take their regular toys outside, it is likely that they will be damaged, sometimes beyond repair. “Pay attention to labels on toy packaging or instructions that may specify that recommended use for the toy is inside or outside," Maddie Michalik, senior editor at Toy Insider says. "Watch out for toys that require batteries that are not specifically made for outdoor use.” 

    Since indoor toys aren’t made to hold up outdoors in the dirt, water, or heat, they are susceptible to falling apart, becoming discolored, or completely shutting down.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Latifah Miles is a commerce editor at Verywell Family and has several years of experience shopping for the best products for parents and caregivers and their families. She thoroughly researches and reviews products to find the best options on the market. 

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The Best Outdoor Toys for Kids, According to Experts. The Strategist. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-kids-outdoor-toys.html

  2. Lifetime Products, Inc. Faq detail.