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Our children are the most relevant beings we could not ever resist. As they become older, our children engage in new skills and play during the early stages of their lives for some reasons and each may contribute to their overall developmental stage which we may discuss in this blog later on. 

What is Play?

In exploring and understanding the environment and world around them, children participate in playing. Play stimulates cognitive development by promoting problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and insights. It encourages language development as children take part in conversations, describe their actions, and use their imagination to create stories. It enhances vocabulary, communication skills, and linguistic abilities. 

Baby Girl playing outdoors

Through play, children acquire essential skills that lay the foundation for formal learning. This includes early literacy and numeracy skills, as well as the ability to follow rules and routines. Even if it is a hot day, our little kids tend to do outdoor activities as it has special benefits and their exposure may create an impact on their growth and that indeed is a great thing!

What are toys and why are they important?

Toys are very well considered as a blank canvas for a child’s wide creativity to flourish. Whether it is a building block, kitchen toy set, or dolls, toys become tools for expression, allowing children to recreate stories and scenarios. Numerous toys imitate real-world scenarios, allowing our kids to practice and understand various aspects of daily life.

Why is playing outdoors relevant?

Playing outdoors is crucial for our 1-year-old child for a variety of reasons, as it contributes significantly to their physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development. For us parents, we may search for the most accurate, fit, and perfect toy that our young kids will surely enjoy. We are skeptical of picking whichever classic toys to purchase that they must play whether for outdoor use or indoor use. 

Cute baby boy playing his toy in the backyard

A child’s age is a factor to consider in picking the perfect outdoor toy. One must have bright colors, be lightweight, and have perfect size are the main things that we parents must focus on. Outdoor playtime is an advantage for us parents, making our kids enhance multiple skills such as motor, physical skills, and social skills. Below are my recommended outdoor toys: 

1. Little Tikes Water Table
The Little Tikes Fish ‘n Splash Water Table is indeed designed for children within the age range of 1 to 3 years old. This water table is crafted to provide a safe and enjoyable outdoor water play experience for toddlers and young children.

The features of the Fish ‘n Splash Water Table are tailored to the developmental stage and interests of kids in this age group. Splash water tables provide a sensory-rich environment for children. The tactile experience of water, along with the ability to touch, feel, and manipulate it, contributes to sensory exploration and development.

Little Tikes Fish 'n Splash Water Table

2. Splash Pad for Water Play
One of the best outdoor toys, The SplashEZ 3-in-1 Splash Pad is a popular water play mat intended for young children, typically suitable for kids and babies. This product offers a versatile and interactive water play experience.

Splash pads offer a refreshing way for children to cool off during hot weather. The water features provide a fun means of staying cool outdoors. Water play involves sensory exploration, and children may use their hands to feel the water, splash, or interact with different textures. Sensory experience is essential for the development of fine motor skills. 

The SplashEZ 3-in-1 Splash Pad

3. Balance Bike

Balance bike devised for very young children by The Sereed Baby, typically between 12 to 24 months old. Balance bikes are designed to help toddlers develop their balance, coordination, and motor skills in preparation for learning how to ride a traditional bicycle.

By using their body weight to maneuver the bike, children learn to control their movements and maintain balance, skills that are fundamental for more complex physical activities later on.  A great toy that may be a perfect birthday gift for our tiny ones. 

The Sereed Baby

4. Ride-On toy

The Radio Flyer Busy Buggy is a ride-on toy crafted for toddlers, specifically for children in the age range of 1 to 3 years. This interactive toy helps in engaging toddlers. The Busy Buggy may include features such as a steering wheel, horn, and other sensory components that stimulate imaginative play.

Ride-On toys help children develop hand-eye coordination. Furthermore, ride-on toys involve a combination of gross motor skills (whole-body movements) and fine motor skills (precise hand movements). This dual engagement helps in the overall development of motor skills and coordination.

 Radio Flyer Busy Buggy

5. Swing sets

Toddler slide and swing sets are popular outdoor play structures developed specifically for our young children. These sets typically provide a combination of climbing, sliding, and swinging activities, catering to the developmental needs and interests of toddlers.  

Regular use of swing sets contributes to physical fitness by providing a fun and engaging way for children to stay active. This can help prevent sedentary behavior and promote a healthy lifestyle. An outdoor space is needed for setting up this child set. Moreover, this set is a physical activity that significantly contributes to the eye-hand coordination of young children.

Toddler slide and swing sets

6. Water Slide 

Costzon Inflatable Water Slide is a specific product that is designed to provide water-based fun for toddlers. Inflatable water slides are popular for outdoor play, especially during warm weather. Picking the best water toys while playing is a great way to have fun. Given many 5-star positive reviews, kids of all ages can now enjoy water activities associated with fresh air, worry-free! Water slides can be enjoyed by the entire family. Family members can participate together, creating opportunities for bonding and shared experiences.

Costzon Inflatable Water Slide

7. Bubble machine

Bubble Maker Machine by The Kidzlane is a device planned to create large bubbles for kids to enjoy during outdoor play and parties. One of my top picks for a toddler’s outdoor games as bubble machines are not only visually entertaining but also provide sensory play for children. Chasing and popping bubbles can be a delightful and engaging activity.

The sheer joy and wonder associated with bubble play allow children to express positive emotions. Bubbles can evoke laughter, smiles, and a sense of wonder, contributing to positive emotional experiences.

Bubble Maker Machine by The Kidzlane

8. Play Tent
The Monobeach Princess Tent is a playhouse with a princess castle theme, providing a magical and imaginative play space for children who enjoy role-playing and pretend play. We all know, that inside this tent, children can execute open-ended play and can stimulate our child’s imagination.

Designing the inside of this tent with our older kids, we find putting pillows, and different things is also a fun activity. You can supervise them in that little space for a long time even during rainy days! Many play tents come with an easy storage bag, making it convenient for parents to store the tent when not in use or for transport. 

9. Foam Ball Pit

Auksay Foam ball pits for toddlers are typically designed to provide a safe and enjoyable play space for young children. A ball pit does not require a weight limit and promotes imaginative play, as toddlers can engage in activities such as crawling, tossing balls, and exploring the texture of the ball and foam pit! Also, foam ball pits are typically designed for indoor use, providing a fun and safe play option for toddlers regardless of the weather. Foam ball pits can be used indoors or outdoors, providing a versatile play option for various environments and weather conditions.

Auksay Foam ball pits

10. Sand Table

A toddler sensory table with a lid is a versatile and interactive piece of furniture crafted to employ younger children in sensory play activities. This can include exploring textures, pouring and scooping materials, and engaging with various sensory stimuli. Sand can cause choking hazards and parents must apply strict supervision to their children.

Sand tables are versatile and can be used in various ways. They can be transformed into mini-worlds for imaginative play, serve as a canvas for art projects, or be used for sensory activities beyond just sand, such as incorporating water or different materials. Moreover, sand tables can be played with in different ways using toys such as sand buckets, toy kitchen items, plastic sand molds, toy trucks and cars, etc. 

Kidoozie | Mega Block Compatible Lid

11. Kiddie Pool

Inflatable baby pools with features like a blow-up padded floor, grip handlebars, and a drain are included to provide a safe and comfortable water play experience for young children. Great addition to that, it has handles that provide additional support for babies who are learning to sit or stand, offering a stable surface to hold onto while in the water. The inflatable baby pool has a padded floor to provide a cushioned and comfortable surface for babies to sit or crawl on while playing in the water. The best part is, it comes with handles for ease of movement.  

Inflatable Baby Pool with Blow Up Padded Floor, Grip Handle Bars and Drain

An Inflatable pool can be repurposed and used as sensory bins for children. Sensory bins are containers filled with various materials that stimulate the senses and boost exploration, learning, and play or even a ball pit!

12. Basketball Hoop

If you’re up to more advanced, updated basketball toys, this one is for you! The VTech Smart Shots Sports Center toy usually features an interactive basketball hoop that allows toddlers and preschoolers to throw soft balls or play with included basketballs. VTech toys often incorporate educational elements into their designs.

The Smart Shots Sports Center includes features that promote learning, such as numbers, shapes, or letters associated with the scoring system. Basketball hoop toys are often adjustable, making it possible for children of different ages and skill levels to play together. This inclusivity promotes a sense of belonging and encourages cooperative play.

The VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

13. Radio Flyer Rocking Horse

Radio Flyer Chestnut Plush Interactive Riding Horse is a kids’ ride-on toy designed to provide an interactive and imaginative play experience. Ride-on toys have a lot of developmental benefits, providing an opportunity for children to develop and enhance various physical and cognitive skills. These include gross motor skills, balance, coordination, strength, spatial awareness, and cognitive abilities related to decision-making and problem-solving, one of my favorite outdoor toys indeed!

Radio Flyer Chestnut Plush Interactive Riding Horse

14. Radio Flyer (Stroll ‘N Trike) Big Kid Bike 

Many Radio Flyer trikes, including the Ride ‘n’ Trike, often have a convertible design that allows parents to adjust the tricycle as their child grows. This typically includes stages for younger riders who may need more support and stages for older children who can pedal on their own. Some models may include a parent push handle that allows parents to steer and control the direction of the tricycle while their child is learning to pedal. 

15. Climbing toys

A toddler indoor/outdoor toy/gym playset with a 3-in-1 model, particularly a wooden climbing toy with a triangle folding feature, is designed to provide young children with a versatile and engaging play experience. Playsets made from wood are often chosen for their durability, sturdiness, and natural aesthetic. Wooden climbing walls/toys are typically well-crafted and structured to withstand the wear and tear of active play. The triangle folding feature implies that the playset can be folded into a more compact shape for storage or transportation. This feature is convenient for families with limited space or those who want to easily move the playset between rooms. Probably best used outdoors under a cover of some kind or moved in and out so as not to wear out with the weather.

toddler indoor toys/gym playset

16. Steering wheel

New outdoor toys are out in the market but the classic remains my fave ones! The Fisca Toddler Steering Wheel Toy is crafted as an interactive learning toy for toddlers aged 12 to 36 months old  This toy is likely purposed to mimic the appearance and function of a real steering wheel.

This allows toddlers to engage in imitative play, pretending to drive like adults. The toy may include interactive features such as buttons, lights, sounds, or music. These features involve the child’s senses and contribute to an interactive and stimulating play experience. Turning the steering wheel, pressing buttons, and interacting with the toy’s features contribute to the development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Get your little one to wear some sunglasses while using this outside and they will feel like a real race car driver!

The Fisca Toddler Steering Wheel Toy

17. Soccer ball

While a soccer ball might be a bit large and heavy for very young children, there are smaller and softer soccer balls structured specifically for toddlers and infants. These types of soccer balls are usually made of softer materials, making them safe for play for children as young as 12 months.

Furthermore, at 12 months, children are likely to develop basic motor skills. They will imitate by rolling the ball back and forth or gentle kicking. This helps improve coordination and motor skills. Use the soccer ball as a tool for social interaction. Play with your babies, toddlers, and older toddlers then demonstrate how to take turns rolling the ball.

Soccer ball

18. Picnic Table

Little Tikes Easy Store Jr. Picnic Table with Umbrella is a child-sized picnic table designed for outdoor use. The table typically has seating for multiple children, allowing them to gather, play, and enjoy snacks or meals together. The inclusion of an umbrella provides shade for children while they are seated at the table, making it more comfortable for outdoor use, especially on sunny days.

These types of tables are usually brought near the beach where big kids usually stay after swimming. Picnic table toys can also provide opportunities for parents or caregivers to interact with their children outdoors. Whether it’s supervising play, joining in on activities, or simply spending time together having a snack, these toys facilitate positive parent-child interactions.

Little Tikes Easy Store Jr. Picnic Table

19. Sidewalk chalk

Sidewalk chalk provides a canvas for kids to express their creativity. They can draw, doodle, create imaginative scenes, and explore their artistic side in an open outdoor space. Holding and maneuvering chalk helps develop fine motor skills in young children.

The act of drawing and coloring on a sidewalk or pavement requires coordination and control of hand movements. Sidewalk chalk opens the door to creative play. Kids can transform a plain sidewalk into a castle, a race track, or an underwater world. This kind of play enhances their imagination and storytelling abilities.

Colorful Sidewalk chalk

20. Kites

One of the greatest outdoor toys are kites. Flying a kite supports kids to spend time outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and connecting with nature. It’s a great way to promote outdoor play and reduce screen time. Managing the string and controlling the kite’s movements require fine and gross motor skills.

Kids develop hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and balance while flying a kite. As we all know, spending time outdoors and engaging in physical activities, such as kite flying, can be a great way for children to release energy and reduce stress.

Rainbow Colored Kite

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, engaging in outdoor play presents a valuable opportunity to enhance sensory integration skills. These activities, where children actively participate, play a crucial role in addressing various developmental domains, including motor, cognitive, social, and linguistic aspects.

Loads of outdoor toys are mentioned above and nothing beats the happy faces that our children give off. Watching them grow is the best fulfilling opportunity ever! 

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