Tried & Tested: The Must-Have Outdoor Toys for Kids to Enjoy the Summer
Jessica Ward | 14th June 2023
As the weather warms up and kids spend more time outside, it’s important to have some fun outdoor toys to keep them entertained and active.
To save you hours of internet browsing, we done the hard work for you! We found some of what we think are the best outdoor toys for kids on the market, and put them to the test!
Here are some of the best outdoor toys that we found and our kiddy testers love:
Scooters are a great way for kids to get around and have fun at the same time. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, so there’s something for every age and skill level.
Micro scooter for me is the best brand out there for kids! I remember my very own micro scooter as a kid, even back in the 90s they were THE brand to have.
The brand has come a long way since then and they have developed a 4-in-1 scooter called the Mini 2 Grow Scooter that can grow with your child from 12 months all the way up to 6 years+. at £99.95 that comes in at just under £17 per year of use. If that isn’t a bargain in the scooter world, I don’t know what is!
Our tester kids loved this scooter. Our mini tester Cecelia (as seen above) took to it as soon as it came out the box and wanted to climb aboard before I could even get it outside. It is worth noting that putting the scooter together is super easy and straightforward and requires no skills whatsoever!
Outdoor Activity Sets
Fun for kids of all ages, the Rebo Wooden Lookout Tower Playhouse with 6ft slide and swing is an impressive activity set which will be a hit year after year. Aesthetically pleasing in any garden, this adventure activity set promotes imaginative play with the adventure pack that includes a steering wheel, lookout binoculars and climbing wall up to the tower. Underneath the tower you will find a secret hideout for kids to play in.
Erecting the activity set is time consuming, however as complete beginners, my partner and I had it up in just over three days (doing a couple hours here and there around work commitments) and although not as neat as the pictures – we went into it as TOTAL beginners. The structure is safe and sturdy and we are so proud of ourselves – for not falling out under construction mainly! But we both feel a great sense of accomplishment everytime we look at it. For those who would rather get the professionals in, it is worth noting that Outdoor Toys can provide assembly at an additional charge.
The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE this activity set. When we let them loose in the garden, they flocked to it. The climbing wall to the lookout tower was a hit with the bigger ones, whilst the smaller ones had to learn patience as they all wanted a go on the swing.
What I love about this activity set is that it can grow with your child. The baby swing can be swapped out, with lots of reasonably priced REBO accessories available on their website.
Bikes are a classic outdoor toy that will never go out of style. For older kids it’s a great way to explore their neighbourhood and get some exercise at the same time.
For younger kids, balance bikes are a great introduction to the bike and help them to build the skills necessary to ride a bike when the time comes. The Chicco Balance Bike is easy to assemble, sturdy and lightweight. I am a big fan of the Chicco brand and I have used them for high chairs and travel cots too.
Whilst our older testers were not overly bothered about the balance bike (they could ride normal bikes) our mini’s found it fascinating. We had a few falls to begin with but they soon found their feet!
The Little Tikes Turtle sandbox – a blast from the past! I remember these when I was a kids, nearly every 90s garden had one! The Little Tikes turtle is still as popular today.
My little girl is obsessed with her sandbox and loves climbing inside and exploring the textures of the sand in her fingers and toes. The hand turtle shell doubles as a cover to keep sand clean and protected from the elements, but we also use it as a splash tray on nice days.
Not stopping there, we also have a variety of toys that enhance the playing experience of the little tikes sandbox.
The John Deere Farming Friends Hauling Set from Tomy is a firm favourite for imaginative play, and was a big hit with our mini tester Charlie! So much so he got rather protective over it and loved scooping up the sand with “Mr Digger”.
Finally, no sandbox is complete without a sandcastle! We found that the Large Sandcastle Bucket from The Range makes THE BEST sandcastles!
Kites are a fun and inexpensive way to enjoy the outdoors. Kids love watching their kite soar through the sky and trying to keep it up as long as possible.
Vilac has a range of striking designs, just like this Rainbow Kite that we tried out, all for less than £20, so you can make the most of windy days.
Paddling pool must haves
You know you are in peak summer when it’s time to get the paddling pool out!
Toys for the pool are great as they keep kids engaged and cool as they tend to stay in the water a little longer. We love the rubber band boat from Vilac. At £7.50 this was a huge thumbs up from the kids as they found the boat whizzing around the water absolutely hilarious. The older kids found the simple science behind the rubber band really interesting.
For parents who are keen to get their kids into nature, there are a range of toys we highly recommend that will really spark the curiosity of children.
The Outdoor Adventure Nature Explorer is fantastic for teaching kids about the world around them. We had a great time searching in the garden for leaves and insects we could match. This was top of our list for toys that encourage learning through play.
The Talking Wildlife camera (£82) from GeoSafari features the voice of Robert Irwin (The son of the late Steve Irwin) and takes kids on a journey around the world, teaching them about all the different animals and the different habitats from the savannah plains, the Australian outback and even Antarctica. This one is for the slightly older children, but I would say those from preschool onwards will enjoy, just as our older testers (and parents!) did.
For imaginative play, the Melissa & Doug Let’s Explore Hiking Play Set (£42.99) was a hit with our mini’s. The binoculars were a big hit with all the kids as they took turns looking out from the adventure tower, and the backpack caught the eye of Cecelia who loved to play dress up with it.
Speaking of imaginative play, our little explorers even created their own little garden obstacle course using the EDX step-a-logs (£69.99) which helps to promote balance, co-ordination and gross motor skills, along with the Wubble (£13), a bubble, ball hybrid that all the kids loved to run and jump on causing absolute carnage, but in the best possible way!
So there you have it, Plenty of great outdoor toys for kids to enjoy. Whether it’s a scooter, activity set, or toys for paddling there’s something for every age and interest.
So get outside, enjoy the sunshine and have some fun!