12 Best Outdoor Toys for Toddlers in 2017

The seasons aren’t what they used to be, and summer can last well into fall in some parts of the U.S. Depending on where you call home, you may never meet a snowflake or even dip below 70 degrees. There are many ways to keep the kids busy outdoors, but finding a good, safe toy for toddlers is a different matter altogether.

Children in the toddler range can be dangers to themselves, and when outdoors that factor multiplies. While all of the best outdoor toys for toddlers we chose are safe, most still require parental supervision regardless of the toy type. Without further ado, here are the best choices for toddlers when it comes to outdoor fun.

Top 12 Outdoor Toys for Toddlers Ultimate Table

DesignNameType of ToyCleanup RequiredRating (1-5)
  1. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Crawl Around Car Learning/Play No 4.7
  2. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe First Swing Swing No 4.7
  3. Intex Smiley Giraffe Inflatable Baby Pool Pool Yes 4.6
  4. Little Tikes Light ‘n Go Play No 4.5
  5. ECR4Kids Indoor/Outdoor Buccaneer Play Boat Play No 4.5
6. Intex Lazy Fish Inflatable Baby Pool Pool Yes 4.5
7. Kiddey Ball Pit Play Tent for Kids Play No 4.4
8. Intex Sunset Glow Baby Pool Pool Yes 4.4
  9. Earlyears Whirl ‘n Go Ball Tower Play No 4.4
  10. Little Tikes Big Digger Sandbox Play Yes 4.3
  11. Banzai 54in Diameter Sprinkle and Splash Play Mat Play Yes 4.2
  12. Step2 Splash N Scoop Bay Play Yes 4.2

Choose the Right Type of Toy for Your Child

When children get older, it is a lot easier to decipher their likes from dislikes – they just tell you what they want. Toddlers can be a different story, however, considering most children at that age don’t have the vocabulary to let their feeling be known. Luckily, they are far easier to entertain which makes finding the best outdoor toys for toddlers a bit easier.

Toddlers are considered children aged 1 through 3-years in most cases although their developmental skills will vary. In other words, if your child is still wobbling and sticking everything in their mouths, a sandbox may not be the best idea but a perfect option for a 2 to 3-year-old. On the same hand, simple toys geared for younger children can still entertain older toddlers as well.

Climate and Landscaping

Do you get calm, cool summer nights where you live or torrential downpours every other week? That’s the first question you will want to ask yourself as the weather plays a large part in the type of outdoor toy you should choose. Pools or play mats with sprinklers are always a great idea for summertime fun, but when fall rolls around, they’ll quickly be forgotten. The season’s matter as much as the weather if you want a toy that can go all year long.

Your landscaping also plays a part in the equation, especially if you have uneven ground, spotty grass or other backyard hazards. Play sets or pools need room, and the latter can quickly turn your lawn into a swamp which means mud. If you have a proper patio, it may not be an issue, but consider your grass and how much damage you want your lawn to receive. Some outdoor toys may require a flat surface as well.

Cleanup

This is one area that may make or break that toy you’ve got your eye set on. Kids are messy, but toddlers are just out of the baby stage, so they take messes to a whole new level. They can “get into” more things which directly affect your purchases when it comes to toys. Well, then you should consider the cleanup involved when play time is over as well.

If you purchase any water-based toys, towels will be involved at a minimum or possibly even a bath. You also have to think about muddy feet coming indoors, not good for any parent. If the toy’s made of hard plastic, you can clean it quickly while cloth-based toys can be a disaster outside or ruined. The same goes for any activity sets with smaller parts that could become lost in the lawn.

Top 5 Best Outdoor Toys for Toddlers Reviews

1. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car

Some of the best outdoor toys for kids are also fantastic options indoors. That’s the case with the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car, which is actually made for indoor use. Thanks to its durable (and stable) nature, it is also an option for the yard or patio.

Fisher-Price knows how to put smiles on children’s faces, and this colorful little vehicle will certainly do the trick. It’s perfect for toddlers as no wheels are involved, but they can sit down inside and “scoot” around using their imagination. The interior of the vehicle features a smiling steering wheel, several knobs and a variety of flashing buttons to mash. It can also teach them a thing or two with over 75 sing-a-long tunes included with three modes of play.

As mentioned, this one is a “car, ” but it’s stationary, so your toddler won’t be able to get away from you in this one. Maybe scoot a little, but not very far. We also liked the fact the cut-out door panel allows your child to have a little fun and that it’s available in Pink or Blue.

2. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe First Swing

As we turn into parents, many of us tend to get a little sentimental. That factor multiplies when you consider the toys you owned as a toddler, and there is a good chance you had a Little Tikes car. Those may be a little out of our age range this time around, but the Cozy Couple Swing is not.

Let’s face it, if you have room for one, you cannot go wrong with a swing set. Children and adults enjoy zipping through the air, and your child will overflow with delight at the sight of this swing. It’s based on the popular Little Tikes Cozy Coupe and is safe with ropes running through the bottom of the frame. Just like the original, this swing is built to take years of abuse and will hold up well in the weather. It comes with a seatbelt and steering wheel horn with a weight limit of 50 pounds.

The design of this swing allows it to be used on any existing swing set or a tree branch if you trust it and the ropes enough over time. As with many outdoor products of this nature, UV rays can wreak havoc on the colors so you may want to bring it inside during the off-season.

3. Intex Smiley Giraffe Inflatable Baby Pool

Our first toddler pool comes from Intex and is the aptly named Smiley Giraffe Baby Pool. It’s a cute little inflatable that’s a step up from the old-school plastic waders and even comes with a few things to keep your little one entertained.

Pools are amazing entertainment options for summer regardless of your age. Getting a toddler into the big pool for the first time can be absolutely nerve-wracking, which is where solutions like this one come into play. The Intex Smiley Giraffe Pool is only 28.5” tall and extremely shallow as to not overwhelm children afraid of the water. It comes with a couple of rings that work with an inflatable tail for a ring toss game, and there are two inflatable balls attached in the front as well. You will need to make sure you have at least 44” x 36” of space at a minimum, and plenty of soft grass underfoot.

This pool from Intex is a good option for a smaller wading pool although it’s not quite as thick as we’d like in a few areas. It should hold up for a few seasons use if your toddlers don’t get too rough, and if they do, you’ll be pleased to know there are a couple of repair patches included with the kit.

4. Little Tikes Light ‘n Go Activity Garden Treehouse

When your toddler gets a few more years on them, they will probably want a treehouse – it’s something every kid longs for. Until then, we have something to satisfy them with a miniaturized Activity Garden Treehouse play set from Little Tikes.

This contraption is billed at the Light ‘n Go Activity Garden, and while your toddler can’t climb around on it, they can take it outdoors to have some fun in the sun. The Jungle-themed play set is quite large at over 28” high, which is great, and it’s made from heavy-duty plastics so that it will hold up under abuse. This treehouse does have a door but expands in several different directions to offer up new features including a seat, sliders, ramps and other bits of flair. It will keep your toddler entrained for hours on end, and is roomy enough for several children to share.

We can’t find any faults with this particular toy aside from the fact it needs batteries, which means you do not want to get certain sections wet. It may be a little large for some parents as well if space is a concern or you don’t have a patio or flat backyard.

5. ECR4Kids Buccaneer Play Boat with Flag

Is your toddler already a little explorer you have a hard time keeping track of? When toddlers start to walk and crawl, they can be a handful. ECR4Kids has a solution for children that need a toy that holds their attention, and this pirate ship will allow their imagination to run free.

Whether your child just turned 2 or is heading towards their teens, there is a strong chance the like pirates. This play set looks like a miniature boat complete with a mast, flag, and a nautical wheel for the captain. The ECR4Kids Play Boat can be used indoors or outdoors with a build quality second to none.

The thick plastic parts are going to last and are “Greenguard” certified which means it’s as environmentally friendly as plastic can be. It’s a nice sized playset as well measuring 56.7” x 54.3” x 30.7” and relatively light at 36 pounds fully assembled. On that note, the assembly will be a breeze as this one just snaps together.

Another area we liked with this outdoor toy lies in the build quality. The rounded edges on the boat and all of its parts dramatically cut down on potential injuries. It’s big enough for two children to play, but not the best bet for kids that are just getting into that toddler stage as you will need some motor skill to enjoy this one.