Buyer’s Guide – Kids Outdoor Toys & Playsets

Kids love outdoor toys – and parents should too!  Outdoor toys provide good and much needed exercise and fresh air for your children, helping keep them healthy and fit.  Easy to use and fun to play with, outdoor toys can be easily set up and used in your backyard.  Following is a selection of great outdoor toys for your kids:

  • Trampolines: Round trampolines are best for younger, inexperienced users.  They can offer a great bounce, but are specially designed to bounce the jumper toward the center.  Rectangular trampolines are suitable for older and more experienced bouncers.  In general, one person at a time should use a trampoline; however, some of the larger round trampolines offer more control so it may be safe for two or three children to jump together – especially if you fit the trampoline with a safety enclosure.  No matter what trampoline you purchase or how many users there are, always ensure that the children have adequate supervision and observe the weight limit guidelines.
  • Playhouse: Playhouses are an ideal extension to your indoor playroom and a great way to get your child to play outdoors.  Plastic playhouses are perfect for younger children since there are no sharp edges.  As your child grows, a wooden playhouse is the best option as they tend to be larger and can be left outside as long as they are appropriately treated.
  • Gym Sets/Swings: You can turn your backyard into a playground with everything your child needs for open-air activity including sandboxes, rock-climbing walls, rope ladders, monkey bars, slides and swings.  Gym sets come in all shapes and sizes and can provide fun for not only your child, but an entire neighborhood.  When selecting a set, pay close attention to durability, height and stability.
  • Water Toys/Sprinklers: Whether for the pool or the yard there are a vast amount of water toys available.  Younger children love to run through sprinklers – find one that contains their favorite character or does something wacky.  Also available for your young child are outdoor water play centers that spray water and have a sitting area for your child to hang out in the water.  Older children enjoy getting wet and staying cool by sliding and splashing on aqua slides.  Most water toys easily attach to any garden hose.  For the pool, consider a number of floats in which children can ride in or on to keep wet while staying afloat.
  • Activity Tables: Sand and water play centers are ideal for your back porch or yard.  These tables nicely blend outdoor textures and colors and some come with an umbrella to guard your child from the hot sun.  These are great alternatives to traditional sandboxes since they provide variety for your child.
  • Cars and Trains: Your driver-in-training will like to play on a kid-sized car or train that allows him or her ride around the house or yard.
  • Skates: Roller and inline skates are available for children of all ages.  First skates help kids learn to skate while keeping pace with growing feet (they go on over your child’s shoes) and rising skill.  Beginners can start by walking in the skates and as their confidence and ability increase, the level of difficultly can be increased.  For beginners, seek out skates that will provide comfort and ankle stability.  As your child grows, he or she can move into a more adult-style skate that offers a hard shell but is both lightweight and breathable.  Some children’s skates are expandable, allowing them to grow with your child.  When selecting your child’s skates, ensure that their foot and ankle receives excellent support.  Keep your child safe by purchasing and encouraging your child to wear protective gear whenever skating – knee pads, elbow pads and helmets are appropriate for children and adults.
  • Scooters: Like skates, scooters are available for a wide age range.  First scooters should feature an extra wide base and two front wheels for maximum stability.  Scooters for older children can provide a fast, smooth ride as well as incredible speed.  Many also come with hand brakes to allow your child to keep their scooter under control.  There is also a range of electronic scooters that require little, if any, manual pushing.  Of course, safety is of the utmost importance – so be sure your child is outfitted with a helmet (as well as knee and elbow pads, if possible) when riding his or her scooter.

By purchasing any of the above outdoor toys or structures you can make your backyard into an adventure playground for your child.  Determine what outdoor activities are best for your child based on their age and skill level and always be sure to supervise your child while he or she is outside.