Best Outdoor Toys for Preschoolers [Top 9 Picks for 2020]

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Outdoor toys are loads of fun for preschoolers. Most kids this age naturally want to go outside and there are so many fun toys that promote all types of play, including active, imaginative, and educational play. We have rounded up some of our favorite toys to help you make sure your kids have a great time outside.

Our top pick for kids’ outdoor toy is the Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike. Balance bikes get kids moving and give them freedom and independence. The Strider balance bike is durable and rugged enough to ride on almost any terrain, including grass, concrete, and bike trails. This balance bike is a great stepping stone before moving to a pedal bike.

Our Top Picks
Best Overall
Strider ST-S4GN - 12 Sport Balance Bike, Ages 18 Months to 5 Years, Green
Best Swing Set
Backyard Discovery Mount McKinley All Cedar Wood Swing Set
Budget Option
Jasonwell Sprinkle & Splash Play Mat 68" Sprinkler for Kids Outdoor Water Toys Inflatable Splash Pad Baby Toddler Pool Boys Girls Children Outdoor Backyard Sprinkler Toy Splash Pad
Name
Strider - 12 Sport Balance Bike
Backyard Discovery Cedar Swing Set
Jasonwell Sprinkle & Splash Play Mat
Features
This bike builds confidence to ride a "big kid" bike.
This swing set's several play areas offer hours of fun.
This splash mat keeps kids cool and active on hot summer days.
Best Overall
Our Top Picks
Strider ST-S4GN - 12 Sport Balance Bike, Ages 18 Months to 5 Years, Green
Name
Strider - 12 Sport Balance Bike
Features
This bike builds confidence to ride a "big kid" bike.
More Info
Best Swing Set
Our Top Picks
Backyard Discovery Mount McKinley All Cedar Wood Swing Set
Name
Backyard Discovery Cedar Swing Set
Features
This swing set's several play areas offer hours of fun.
More Info
Budget Option
Our Top Picks
Jasonwell Sprinkle & Splash Play Mat 68" Sprinkler for Kids Outdoor Water Toys Inflatable Splash Pad Baby Toddler Pool Boys Girls Children Outdoor Backyard Sprinkler Toy Splash Pad
Name
Jasonwell Sprinkle & Splash Play Mat
Features
This splash mat keeps kids cool and active on hot summer days.
More Info

Related post: Best Bath Toys for Preschoolers

Best Preschool Toys for Outdoors

Best Overall – Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike

Sale
Best Overall
Strider Sport Balance Bike
This bike builds confidence to ride a big kid bike.

The Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike is our top choice for outdoor toys for preschoolers. This balance bike has an adjustable seat and handlebars, meaning it’s suitable for kids as young as 18 months and as old as five. It is also easy to adjust the heights – no tools required. It has a durable metal frame and foam wheels to give your child a smooth ride. 

We love balance bikes because they are proven to prepare kids for riding a bike more than a tricycle or training wheels. Balance bikes also give kids the freedom and confidence of a big bike, all while developing motor skills. If your family enjoys riding bikes together, you will love a balance bike because it lets your little one go much faster for much longer than a bike with training wheels or a tricycle.

Best Swing Set – Backyard Discovery Mount McKinley Cedar Swing Set

Best Swing Set
Backyard Discovery Cedar Swing Set
This swing set's several play areas offer hours of fun.

Our favorite swing set is the Backyard Discovery Mount McKinley Cedar Swing Set. It is made of solid cedar, making it durable and safe for your kids. It has several different play features, including swings, a slide, fort, rock wall, and rope ladder, so that several kids can play at once. The set comes with several safety features, including wider steps on the ladder and higher sides on the slide.

Swing sets are great for preschool kids because they help develop gross motor skills. This set encourages swinging and several types of climbing. The fort and play features allow for imaginative play. We like this set because it is big enough to last your kids for several years.

Best Budget Option – Jasonwell Sprinkle & Splash Play Mat

Best V
Jasonwell Sprinkle & Splash Play Mat
This splash mat keeps kids cool and active on hot summer days.

Our top budget item is the Jasonwell Sprinkle & Splash Play Mat. It is 68 inches in diameter, making it large enough for three or more kids to play. The splash pad is quick and easy to set up – just inflate the tube and attach your hose. You can control the water height with hose pressure, and the water makes a shallow pool in the bottom, so this mat is excellent for even younger preschoolers. It also has a textured mat to prevent slipping.

We like this splash pad because it is fun for both younger and older kids. You can even fill it up and turn the spray off to use it as a kiddie pool with very young toddlers. It gets kids out of the house on hot days and encourages active play. This playmat is perfect for letting kids play in water if they are not ready for a swimming pool.

Best for Learning Biology – Liberty Imports Garden Wagon & Tools 

Best for Learning Biology
Liberty Imports Garden Wagon & Tools
This garden set lets kids work alongside you in the garden.

For kids who want to learn more about nature and biology, we recommend the Liberty Imports Garden Wagon & Tools. The set comes with 16 pieces, and all of the tools are real, working tools. Some of the parts include a small trowel, fork, and shears, two larger rakes and a hoe, a watering can, and a spray bottle. Everything fits neatly into the wagon. 

We love this set because it allows children to help out in the garden. The tools are the perfect size for little hands without feeling like toys. Planting a seed and watching it grow is an excellent way for small kids to learn about biology. Gardening is also perfect for helping kids develop a connection with nature and a sense of environmentalism.

Best for Future Rocket Scientists – Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Rocket

Best for Future Rocket Scientists
Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Rocket
Learn about physics and engineering with rockets that soar 100 feet into the air.

Our top choice for future rocket scientists and budding engineers is the Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Rocket. This set allows kids to stomp and send their rockets up to 100 feet into the air. This set includes a launcher and four glow rockets, making it fun for playing both day and night.

We love the Stomp Rocket for many reasons. Kids will be fascinated by how high they can make the rocket go and learn a lot about physics as they discuss how the stomping mechanism works. It also promotes physical activity as kids will want to run before stomping and will have to retrieve their rockets after flying.

Best for the Whole Family – gofindit Outdoor Nature Scavenger Hunt Card Game

Best for the Whole Family
Outdoor Nature Scavenger Hunt Card Game
This scavenger hunt will have the whole family exploring the great outdoors.

Our favorite choice of outdoor toy for the whole family is the gofindit Outdoor Nature Scavenger Hunt for Families. It is a set of 33 cards, and each card contains an attribute, such as “furry” or “smaller than this circle.” Players use the cards to find things outside that match the descriptions. The game offers three levels of difficulty.  

This scavenger hunt is a great way to get all of the family outside and exploring. If your kids find family walks dull, then this game can spice things up. We like that it encourages physical activity while also helping preschoolers grasp concepts like adjectives and attributes. Since you can make the game harder, older kids will enjoy it as well.

Best for Water Play – Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

Best for Water Play
Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table
This fun water table has a moveable maze to change the waterfall pattern.

When it comes to water play, we love the Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table. This large table has several features to keep kids engaged, including a rainfall feature, bucket, cups, strainer, squirter, rubber duck, and more. Several maze pieces can be rearranged to create different waterfall effects.  

Water toys are perfect for hot summer days when kids need to stay cool. A water table allows kids to manipulate and explore with an element they all enjoy – water. This table is especially great because the moving maze parts let kids examine cause and effect.

Best for Sensory Play – WISHTIME Kids Sand and Water Table

Best for Sensory Play
WISHTIME Kids Sand and Water Table
This adorable table lets kids play and build with sand.

The WISHTIME Kids Sand and Water Table is our favorite choice for outdoor sensory toys for kids. The table has two compartments, allowing you to fill both with sand or fill one with water and one with sand to add an extra element to your child’s sensory play. The table also has a lid so that your child can use it as a desk. It comes with 15 accessories, including a shovel, scoop, rake, and molds for construction.

Kids naturally love to dig in the dirt, and this table will give your little one plenty of ways to explore through touch. This table is small enough to fit even the smallest outdoor areas and comes with several types of toys to give your child the full sensory experience. It is a versatile outdoor toy for kids that allows for various kinds of play.

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Best for Sports – Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set

Best for Sports
Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set
This adjustable basketball hoop set is perfect for mini-Jordans.

If your child is starting to show an interest in sports, we recommend the Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set. The set comes with a basketball hoop with six different settings, ranging from two-and-a-half to four feet. It also includes three basketballs, and the base can be filled with sand if your little player is rambunctious.

Sports are a great way to boost your child’s physical activity and increase confidence. We like this basketball hoop because the adjustable height lets even smaller players experience success and develop their skills. Your kid can start using this hoop as a toddler and continue to use it until he or she is ready for a full-size basketball hoop.

What to Consider When Buying the Best Outdoor Toys for Preschoolers

Little boys playing with outdoor toys

Skill Development

When many of us think of outdoor toys, we only think of toys that build physical skills and encourage physical activity. While many outdoor toys for kids encourage this type of play, there are actually various toys that promote a range of skill development.

Outdoor toys like a playhouse can promote imaginative play, while other toys such as sidewalk chalk help develop artistic ability. Other toys like stomp rockets can help develop curiosity and scientific thinking. A gardening set or wilderness survival kit allows kids to learn about nature and environmentalism.

Ideally, your child will have a diverse selection of outdoor toys to promote all of these skills and more, while also letting your child enjoy his or her time outside. Some toys will allow kids to develop several skills, such as a playset that promotes both social skills and physical activity.

Safety Features

Kids can get hurt with certain outdoor toys, so it’s always essential to make sure that the toys you choose have the appropriate safety features. Any type of climbing toy or swingset should be made of high-quality materials and come with detailed, easy-to-understand installation instructions. Kids should always wear a helmet while using any sort of ride-on toy.

Outdoor toys should also be age-appropriate. Many accidents occur because preschool-aged children are playing on toys that are too big for them. Make sure your child is the appropriate age and size for any toys.

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Kids playing outdoors with colorful musical toys

Range of Use

Some outdoor toys have limited use and age-range. These toys are often played with once or twice and then thrown aside, either because the child has outgrown it or because it wasn’t enjoyable. The best outdoor toys are multi-faceted and allow for different types of play.

Many toys are fun enough for several years of use. These toys are either big enough for younger and older kids to use or grow with your child. Toys with a broader range of use give you more bang for your buck.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get kids to play outdoors?

Many kids, even younger ones, would rather stay inside and play video games instead of going outside. You may feel like you are forcing your kids to get outdoors. One of the best ways to get kids to play outdoors is to make it a family experience. Do an outdoor activity together, and kids will grow to love their time outside.

Another great way to get kids outside is to find toys that meet their interest levels. Not all kids enjoy sports, but there are plenty of other great toys that will entertain many little ones. Think about what your kid likes and how you can take that outdoors. For example, if your kid loves art, get some sidewalk chalk, and make some awesome outdoor art.

Colorful blocks on the grass

Why is it important for preschoolers to play outside?

There are so many benefits to outdoor play for preschoolers. Kids need to get fresh air and physical activity for both their mental and physical health. Playing outside helps kids build confidence and gross motor skills. It also gives them time to get out their energy.

Kids who play outside are better at problem-solving and reasoning. They develop good social skills and a deeper appreciation of nature. Playing outdoors makes for more well-rounded kids. Studies have also shown that kids who play outside more often have more robust immune systems and are less likely to battle with obesity.

How often should preschool kids play outside?

Preschoolers are still developing a lot of gross and fine motor skills. As a result, kids this age have a lot of energy as they need to practice these skills throughout the day. Kids this age should be engaged in active play between 90 and 120 minutes each day. They should spend time outside twice daily when weather permits. Kids should have at least an hour to play each time they go outside.

Lisa Holliman

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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