Kids playing on a Gorilla playset outdoor toy for kids.

10 Wonderful Outdoor Toys for Toddlers and Older Kids

As a mom of four kids, having a fenced-in backyard fun zone full of outdoor toys for kids is a lifesaver. I need a space outside the house for my kids to stay occupied and play together, without having to keep track of everyone at a park. To be honest, it’s a bonus if they will play independently, allowing me to keep an eye on them while accomplishing other things.

Over the years, we have gathered a collection of fun outdoor toys for kids that entertain toddlers through grade-schoolers Below is a list of outdoor toys for kids that have provided hours of backyard fun for my family.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Kids playing on a swingset

Swingset or Playset

We started out with a relatively inexpensive metal swingset in our backyard. It is rare that our kids do not go on the swingset when they play outside!

Last year, we were excited to add a Gorilla playset to our backyard. I did a ton of research on playsets, and Gorilla playsets seem to be praised for their high quality and durability. I found one that had:

  • a rock-climbing wall plus a ladder,
  • two slides (so multiple kids could slide at the same time),
  • a wooden roof that I thought would be more durable than a tarp,
  • a large clubhouse (again, we have four kids!),
  • two swings, and
  • a trapeze bar.

It took my husband a couple of days to build, but it is beautiful and sturdy, and our kids have so much fun on it! I’ve got to admit, I enjoy swinging on the Gorilla playset, and when I do, I do not feel like I am going to knock it over!

Our Gorilla play set is the Double Down, and you can find the Double Down II at Home Depot.

We did not buy the Gorilla playset on our own. We asked birthday party guests and family members to pitch in toward the play set in lieu of individual gifts. This approach worked out really well!

Make sure to add a baby swing to your swingset! A baby swing has been a huge hit for all four kids and is a must-have outdoor toy for toddlers. This baby swing is one of the best baby swings out there — made by Little Tikes, it is easy to use and safe for children all the way from 9 months to 4 years (50 pounds).

Slide

There will likely be a slide on your swing set, but if not, a separate freestanding slide is a must. (Even if there is one on your swing set, you can’t really have enough slides—especially if you have a large family!)

If you have smaller toddlers, between the ages of one and two or so, this 3-feet long Little Tikes slide is a great option. Smaller toddlers can learn how to climb up the back and slide down without being too far from the ground.

This 5-feet long slide is better for older kids (ages 2 and up). The smaller slide can lose its luster when the child’s feet start reaching almost to the ground while sitting on top, but this one is tall and can for years. It also folds up and stores easily so you can get it out of the way when not in use.

Outdoor Ride-On Toys for Toddlers and Older Kids

For small toddlers, this push car with a handle has provided loads of fun (and exercise for Mom!). It’s easy to maneuver—in fact, many a time, I have pushed the toddler while holding the baby. As the kids have gotten bigger, they will push one another around in it as well. It has a little storage compartment that opens in the front, so you can only imagine the kinds of treasures they have decided to transport inside. If you live close to your kids’ school, I have seen parents pushing their toddlers in the push cars to school pickup.

Older kids enjoy driving around in Little Tikes Coupes or this Cozy Truck, which we happen to own. Not only are these fun for tooling around the backyard, but they also make for great pretend play. The kids pretend to drive to different “places” around the yard and even stop to fill up the gas tank.

Of course, if you can manage to splurge for an electric car, that would probably take the cake!

Climbing Dome

When my older two kids go to a park, they are drawn to anything they can climb. So, when my mom wanted to buy them an outdoor toy as a gift for becoming a big brother and sister (yet again), I suggested this Lifetime Dome Climber. It has been a fun addition to our backyard fun zone, although they do fight over who gets to sit on the top!

Kids who visit our house also seem to enjoy playing on it. It has held up very well through winter snow, and it is also moveable if you need to mow the lawn underneath or put it in a different part of the lawn.

If you are looking for outdoor climbing toys for toddlers rather than older kids, we have used this fun climber slide in our basement playroom for years, but it also makes a wonderful backyard toy for toddlers and preschoolers. Kids can climb up the small rock wall in the back, stand on the platform, slide down, and even crawl through the tunnel below.  You can even get one with a small swing attached.

Water Table

Our water table sees a lot of use in the summer months. We enjoy the Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table because it’s a good size for the kids, came with lots of toys and accessories, and has an umbrella for coverage. It does not have a drain, so we have to overturn it to empty the water. However, I have heard that water tables with drains sometimes leak, so this might not be a downside!

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Sandbox

A sandbox keeps kids busy with creative play for hours! We got a small turtle sandbox, which includes a cover to keep out rain and pests.

Alternatively, you might choose a sand table like this wonderful Step2 Naturally Playful table that includes an umbrella and sand toys.

Speaking of sand toys, visit my list of beach toys for toddlers. Many of the toys listed will work wonderfully in a sandbox and would be great for older kids as well as toddlers.

Outdoor toys in a sandbox

Tee Ball Set

We recently got the Grow-to-Pro Tee Ball set by Fisher-Price. My kids have had so much hitting the ball across the backyard. It’s nice not to have to be on “pitching duty!” Conveniently, you can adjust the height on the tee. And of course, once they no longer need the tee, you’re left with a sturdy bat and ball for backyard fun.

Roller Coaster

Years ago, my parents brought us a backyard roller coaster they’d found secondhand at a garage sale. This toy has been fun for the kids from about 18 months all the way up to 8-years-old (and probably beyond). I am amazed at how well toddlers can operate it on their own! Although I do not think our model of roller coaster is in production anymore, this roller coaster by Step2 is similar and rated well on Amazon.

Playhouse

My kids love to engage in pretend-play in their playhouse. They seem to prefer larger playhouses with fun features like tables or play sinks, like the Happy Home Cottage by Step2. In addition, they like playhouses that have shutters so that they can play peekaboo. Of course, if your kids are as interested in cooking pretend meals in their playhouse as mine are, you might opt for this Grand Walk-In Kitchen and Grill.

Bounce House

Our bounce house has been an extra special treat for the kids. It is a hit at birthday parties and playdates. (As a caveat, I have not found it to be the easiest toy to store when it’s not in use.) Our Little Tikes Dunk ‘n Toss Bouncer does not seem to be produced anymore, but Amazon reviewers seem to love the similar Little Tikes Jump ‘n Slide Bouncer.

Bonus: Printable Backyard Activity Cards

If you are looking for ways to keep your kids entertained while they are in the backyard, you will love these free printable activity cards. Learn more here or enter your email address below to receive them right away!

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Originally published in October 2018

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