Best Outdoor Toys for Boys & Girls • RUN WILD MY CHILD
We all know how good outdoor playtime is for kids. Running, jumping, swinging, throwing, and especially using their creativity and imagination are imperative for their physical and mental development. Outdoor toys can spark their imagination and get them excited to play. Also, we all want to get them off cell phones and cut back the screen time! Today, Lissy Perna, Cape Cod mom of two, is here sharing some of her kids’ favorite outdoor toys. So, whether you’re looking to build your backyard oasis or just for a birthday or Christmas gift for an outdoorsy kid, check out our list of the best outdoor toys for boys and girls.
Most popular outdoor toys for boys & girls
We all want what’s best for our kids, so we made a list of the most popular outdoor toys for boys and girls. These toys have been tried and trusted by kids of all ages and received high praise from parents and kids alike. Any of them would make a great gift for that outdoorsy kid on your list.
Dome Climber: This jungle gym for kids is dome-shaped and has the option of adding a swing to the center. Another great creative way to utilize this toy is to add a tarp over the top to make a tent! Add some twinkle lights and you’ve got an igloo young kids can play in during cold winter months. While it is a wonderful outdoor toy for kids to climb, be advised that it takes a few adults and some patience to assemble.
Swurfer: Think surfboard meets skateboard meets swing. The Swurfer is a plank-like board suspended from ropes you attach to a tree limb. There are handles to help you maneuver this swing while standing on the plank. It is fun, and compound movements benefit a child’s physical development. Would make a great gift for any kid into surfing, skateboarding, or snowboarding.
Kiddie Pool: A kiddie pool, whether you have an inflatable one or a hard plastic one, can be used for more than just backyard splashing and soaking. It’s a fun way to cool off on a hot day. Or, fill it with sand, and use it as a sandbox; take it to the beach and set it up under a pop-up tent for your toddlers. This multi-function outdoor toy is a must-have for any household with kids.
Slackers NinjaLine: This ninja slackline obstacle course is fantastic if you’re short on outdoor space, but your kids are not short on energy! Kids can test their ninja skills with ten obstacles, providing them with a tremendous athletic challenge. The equipment is easily set up between two healthy trees or posts, and they will be ninja warriors in no time!
Stomp Rockets: Do you remember these foam rockets from your childhood? They are still popular outdoor toys for boys and girls alike. Children can play with them on their own or create a competition to see who can blast their rocket the highest with a friend or sibling. One thing to mention is that it is best to play with this toy out in the open, not near trees or your house. Losing all your rockets to the treetops won’t be very fun!
Sandboxes: Sandboxes are fantastic outdoor toys for boys and girls of all ages and would make a great outdoor gift. Toddlers are happy to sit in the sand and scoop with their hands or little shovels, and older kids can get creative in what they make with the sand. The key to this toy is to purchase one with a cover. Or I have even seen parents set up a sandbox inside a small tent. This cover will prevent other debris from getting into the sand and deter animals from using it as a litter box.
Tonka Trucks: Your child might already be truck obsessed, but these near-indestructible vehicles are fun for all, even if they aren’t! Fill them with pinecones, dirt, or sticks, or have races with a sibling or friend. The metal construction and rugged design have made these toys last for years. We have a joke in our family that my boy’s Tonka trucks have 300,000 miles on them.
Walkie-Talkies: Walkie-Talkies are the perfect gift for outdoorsy kids and can be used by the entire family. Walkie talkies can be used inside or outside, but my boys have so much fun with them outdoors. They play hide-and-seek with them or pretend they are on “secret missions.” We brought ours on a camping trip last summer, and this outdoor toy became a functional tool for keeping track of each other on the campground. One thing to note about these toys is that you want to store them inside to avoid damage.
Trampolines: Trampolines come in all sizes nowadays and make a great addition to your backyard. Sizes range from miniature ones with a handle for toddlers to massive ones that even adults can enjoy. One thing they all have in common, they are a great way to burn some energy! The large ones take time and patience to assemble, so keep that in mind if you pull the trigger and purchase one.
Little Tikes slide: This slide is great for toddlers, but my boys used it well beyond their toddler years. They used it not only for climbing and sliding but for sliding into an inflatable pool and racing matchbox cars down the slope!
Power wheels: Motorized, rechargeable cars that kids can ride are so fun and make really fun outdoor gifts for outdoorsy kids! They are made for most ages, from toddlers to big kids, and have every design you could think of, from Barbie Jeeps to Land Rovers. Kids love being in control of a steering wheel and honking the horns! Be on the lookout for these on swap pages – you can usually get a second-hand car at a fraction of the price and just update the battery.
Splash pads: If you’ve ever been to a community splash pad, you know how fun they can be! You can buy smaller versions that connect to your garden hose, which are bound to impress your kids!
Balance bikes: Try a balance bike before your child is ready to take off on a two-wheel bicycle or even a big kid bike with training wheels! These bicycles are such fantastic outdoor toys and provide the child with the basic skills to build on to successfully ride a bike on their own. Also, They are often adjustable, so as your child grows, so does the bike! Remember to instill in your child that they should wear a snug-fitting helmet whenever they get on their bikes.
Bounce house: If you want to go all-out crazy with action, a bounce house is a HUGE hit for any outdoor play space. It’s a bit of an investment, but it’s guaranteed to be a big hit and keep your little ones jumping and happy for hours at a time. Many bounce houses can be used both indoors and outdoors, so if you have a large enough space inside, it can be used year-round.
Ride-on Dig Cranes: If you have kids like my two boys, they might be obsessed with big trucks, construction equipment, and having their own “job sites” at our house. These ride-on dig cranes turn your kids into operators and would make great holiday gifts. Your kids will have a blast digging in the dirt or sand for hours of outdoor fun. I’ve even seen parents bringing these mobile toys to the beach; what a fantastic idea!
Wagon: Don’t underestimate a solid wagon for outdoor play! You can give your kids rides around the yard, and as they grow older and more robust, they can give each other rides. They are also helpful for parades, trick-or-treating, or walks around the neighborhood!
Water Tables: What is more fun than water play on a hot summer day? A water table is easy to contain and an attractive toy for kids to play outside. Just fill it with water from the hose and let your kids loose with their imagination. My boys have even used their water table in the winter once the water freezes!
Yard games for boys and girls
Card and board games are great options for playing in your living room, but what about the outdoors? Here are a few options to get your kids outdoors and excited about playing together!
Cornhole: Cornhole is a fun outdoor game that people of all ages can enjoy. It’s popular to play on the beach and at barbeques with friends. Children’s versions are collapsible and easy for kids to set up. This outdoor toy is an interactive competitive game that allows your child to participate in healthy competition, all while practicing and improving their coordination and throwing skills.
Oversized Jenga: Jenga is a relatively easy game to teach young children, and most people enjoy it even as they get older. These giant wooden blocks make the game even more fun, and you don’t have to worry about knocking your furniture around or denting your floors when you play outside!
Lasso golf: This game is played in teams to score 21 points first! It promotes competition and accuracy and is easy to set up and break down to store.
Ring toss: When I think of ring toss, I imagine playing at a carnival. But there are at-home versions that are perfect for playing outside. The game is easy for any age to play and understand, and your kids can practice eye-hand coordination.
Croquet: Yes! People still play croquet, and not just your grandma’s friends. This game is an excellent addition to your backyard game’s repertoire and is fun to set up for a barbeque with friends.
Best outdoor toys for boys and girls for the beach
If you’re lucky enough to live near a body of water or even have a backyard or community pool, here are some toys you can use next time you go for a swim.
Kids kayaks: These kids’ kayaks are lightweight, durable, and not easy to tip over! Designed to meet the needs of youth, including front storage and a convenient cup holder so your child can easily switch from paddling near the dock to that all-day adventure. Comes with a padded slip-resistant seat, swim-up deck, paddle rest and stable hull design with great maneuverability and steady tracking.
Foam squirt guns: We know water guns are a hit with kids, but they are so easy to refill that even toddlers can do it independently. They are also lightweight and pretty inexpensive! Bring them to the beach, or use them in the backyard with a bucket of water for refills.
Diving toys: Kids love a challenge, and practicing with these dive toys are a great way to hone their skills in the water while still having fun!
Boogie boards: These boards can be used to float around and kick through the water, but my boys have used them as floating tables, placing their dive toys or rocks and shells they find on the ocean floor on them.
Collapsable buckets: These are great space-saving options for buckets. They are sturdy and ready to make sandcastles, collect frogs, or be water transporters!
Fishing Poles: If you live in an area that allows for fishing, check out these kids’ fishing poles. Younger kids may need some assistance from an adult, but as they age, this is a great hobby to encourage that independence!
Inexpensive outdoor toys for boys and girls
While there are so many outdoor toys for boys and girls to choose from, some of them have hefty price tags. Check out this list of toys you can find at the dollar store. They are relatively inexpensive, and children of all ages will enjoy them.
Sidewalk Chalk: Combine your child’s love of creating art with the outdoors! If you have asphalt to draw on, great! But we have also used sidewalk chalk to color rocks or leaves.
Jump ropes: Jump ropes are inexpensive, easy to store, and provide hours of fun! Once your child gets the hang of simple jumps, there are many tricks to learn!
Wooden planes: You may remember wooden plane kits from your childhood. However, they still make these little sets and are just as fun for our kids. Folding your paper planes can make this activity even less expensive!
Bubbles: Who doesn’t love bubbles? There are many ways to play with them, and they come in different forms. Our favorites are the bubble wands. Pro-tip – tape the bubble container to a tree or table leg outside so the kids don’t spill all the bubble solution at once!
Water balloons: Water games are always a good idea in the summer. You can purchase a pack of water balloons for only a couple of dollars, and it’s an excellent activity for a birthday party or even a fun activity on a warm day.
Balls: This may seem like a no-brainer, but those big rubber bouncy balls you can find at the dollar store provide hours of fun. Watch as your child comes up with their games involving the balls, or start a kickball game with the whole family.
Yoga mat: Do you have a tiny yogi on your hands? Bring that yoga mat onto the porch, patio, or grass, and practice “child’s pose” with your kids!
Magnifying glass: Plastic magnifying glasses are perfect for little hands to get a close-up look at the world around them. Look under logs, at bugs, or even a flower bloom.
Squirt bottles: This multi-purpose item can be filled with water and used outside for open-ended play. While it may not be exciting initially, kids will love spraying down their toys, the garden, or even each other!
FREE outdoor toys for boys & girls
Yes, you read that right! There are hundreds of toys for kids to play with outside, and you can find them all in nature.
Sticks: A stick can be a magic wand, a baseball bat, or a tool for writing in the sand. It can be something your child collects to make a fort or something to paint on to create a personalized hiking stick.
Water: Water is simple, but it can be used for many activities. Let the kids use the hose and make mud pies and stone soup with a bucket, dirt, stones, pinecones, and water. Or, with a younger child, fill a shallow pan with water and let them splash.
Leaves: Use leaves to make a leaf crown, attaching them to a paper strip and placing them on your head. You can also do leaf rubbings by putting a leaf under a piece of paper and rubbing the top of the paper with the long side of a crayon. Make a leaf man after reading the book Leaf Man!
Clouds: Lay on your back on the grass or a sleeping bag and watch the clouds. You can talk about the job clouds have with your older children, or look for animals or objects in the shapes of the clouds with their younger siblings.
Make a nature shelf: This can be an outdoor activity for the whole family. When you play outside, or go on a nature walk, collect little rocks, shells, feathers, or whatever else catches your eye and sparks your interest. Add them to your nature shelf, which you can hang inside or keep outside.
I hope this post can help you find the perfect birthday or Christmas gift or broaden your knowledge of outdoor toys. New toys are constantly hitting the market, but many have stood the test of time, as you may remember playing with them as a child! Now, get outside and start playing!
Which toy do you think your child will love?
About the author
Lissy lives near the ocean on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with her husband, 2 rambunctious boys (aged 4 & 7), and an ever-growing number of pets. She grew up walking nature trails and finding joy in the beauty of nature. She now shares that love for local adventures with her community through her blog, “Get Outside Cape Cod”. Lissy knows that everyone can benefit from spending more time outdoors, and wants to inspire and support families to do just that!
You can find more from Lissy in the following online locations:
Website: Get Outside Cape Cod
RWMC Posts: Lissy Perna