BEST Outdoor Toys for Ages 2-5

If you’re looking for some fun new ideas to get your kids excited again about playing outdoors, these toys may be just the ticket. This list is geared for children from toddlers on up to grade school, but some of them even older tweens and teens will love, although they may hate to admit it. Getting kids of all ages outside, active, and engaged is so very important especially in the current culture of tech, cell phones, tablets, video games, and television.

Importance of Tech Free Time

Nearly all experts agree that too much screen time for the developing mind can be very damaging. Research now suggests that even small amounts of daily screen time can have negative effects on your child, especially those under five years of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against any more than one hour of screen time per day for preschool aged children. The main reason for this is these years are vital to the developing mind of young children. They need to explore their environment and develop the motor skills that are vital to continue to grow and learn. These motor skills are learned by moving around, touching things, letting their curiosity and minds wander, using their imagination and so forth, this just doesn’t happen during screen time.

If this warning isn’t enough, take a quick look at a few of the problems linked to excessive screen time in children:

  • Sleep Problems-the light emitted from TVs interferes with the sleep cycle and can cause insomnia.
  • Obesity-too much time with sedentary activities is linked to increased rates of childhood obesity.
  • Behavior Problems-children who have more than 2 hours of screen time per day are more likely to have emotional, social and attention problems. Excessive time watching television is also linked to bullying tendencies.
  • Educational Problems-studies found that school age children with televisions in their bedrooms do worse on academic testing.
  • Violence-even with parental filters videos, games, and tv shows are increasingly exposing children to more violence, which can lead to desensitizing our young children.


Replacing Screen Time with Outdoor Time

An awesome way to curb the screen time is to set boundaries and guidelines for the whole family. Limiting screen time means you will most likely hear the inevitable phrase “I’m bored…there’s nothing to do”. Instead of giving in, or getting angry, it may be a great time to suggest some outdoor time whether its at a park, the backyard or going on a walk. Time outdoors is linked to increases in serotonin, creating more positive feelings, sleeping better, increases in Vitamin D, and the list goes on. Here are some amazing toys to make outdoor play time that much more fun with your crew.

Best Outdoor Toys for Younger Children


Bubbles never get old, for some reason or another they are a timeless intrigue for kids as young as babies up to school age. This outdoor toy takes bubbles to the next level. Wowmazing Giant Bubble Wand Kit comes with everything needed to take your bubble game to the next level. The kit is made of sturdy material, so instead of buying and re-buying cheaply made small bubble wands and kits, splurge and this one is sure to last. A great value, at around the $15 price point, the kit comes with a two-handle large bubble maker, pack of concentrated bubble solution, and a tips and tricks handbook on how to accomplish giant bubbles. Instead of opting for those automatic bubble blowers, which honestly usually break after a few uses, or get left running without enough solution, this kit requires and encourages movement! Get your little ones running and chasing and moving around at your local park, the beach, on a camping trip or in the backyard. It also stands to mention this toy was a Creative Child Top Toy for 2018.

Gardening Tool Sets

#2 Children’s Gardening Tool Sets make a great gift for younger kids. Let them get outside and get dirty. Kids can use this set to plant seeds or small plants, or just dig in the dirt to get messy. This is a great outdoor activity. It can be turned into a learning experience about plants and how they grow with sunlight and water, or just a fun time to get their hands dirty. Being outside in the sunshine and fresh air is good for all kids, and a great way to get them away from the tablets and TVs inside. The Liberty Imports Garden Wagon, is a great set and at a great price. It’s sturdy enough for the rough play of toddlers and includes enough pieces for sharing with friends or siblings. Little ones will discover bugs, and plants, and love their time “helping” in the garden.{creative}&hvpos={adposition}&hvnetw=o&hvrand={random}&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl={devicemodel}&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583863980028385&psc=1

Water Tables / Sand Tables

#3 Water/Sand Tables are an awesome source of outdoor fun for this age group. Even if you have a very limited outdoor space, such as a small patio or deck, these work great for hot sunny days. If its too cold for water play, many parents use the table as a sand box. This Little Tikes Waterplay Park Table is tons of fun for little ones and at a great price point. These Sand/Water Fun tables can range from simple to elaborate like this Step2 Fiesta Cruise Sand and Water Table, which even comes with an umbrella to provide some sun protection for your little ones. Any model will provide hours of fun for young hands to splash and play. They also provide some small water toys for exploring and imaginative play with boats and cups. Getting young children outside and using their hands and minds to play and have fun is priceless and so helpful in their development.

Banzai Sprinkle and Splash Play Mat

#4 Banzai Sprinkle and Splash Play Mat is a great toy for young toddlers to keep cool in the summer heat. These also come in many sizes and styles, however this is a great selection because it is just large enough for a couple of small children to play and crawl and splash, but small enough to easily wring out and hang to dry. Little ones will have a blast sitting, crawling and jumping around on this soft sprinkle mat. Another big plus is that there is no need to inflate these mats, so no worrying about leaks or deflating it once play time is all done. Just set it out on some grass or softer surface and let the kids splash and play.

Unplugged Explorers Bug Kit

#5 Unplugged Explorers Bug Kit is such an awesome gift for any little explorer. Boys and girls alike love to discover bugs, caterpillars, butterflies, ants and anything else in their own backyard. This 10 piece kit is built for little hands and sturdy and safe. This adorable kit includes a net for butterflies, a small bug catching habitat, a magnifying cup for bugs, small tweezers, and several other items to make their great outdoor adventure exciting and educational. This is a great toy to get little ones into nature and science, and it even comes with a convenient storage bag to hold all their tools when they are not in use. This kit is a great toy to get them out in the world discovering instead of passively watching TV or playing on digital devices.

Scooters and Bikes

#6 Scooters, Bikes, and Skates make the perfect gift to encourage some outdoor playtime for little ones. There are so many choices available that the main thing to keep in mind is safety. Many young toddlers find the scooter much easier to maneuver all on their own, rather than a bike, skateboard or skates. This is a great first choice for any toddler. The Radio Flyer Lean and Glide Light up Scooter is definitely a good choice. Radio Flyer has been making scooters forever and they have it down. The base is wide and the front wheels larger to make it more stable for small toddlers. This newest edition has light up wheels which always adds to the fun for little ones. The soft foam handle bar can be adjusted for different heights ensuring it will grow with your child as well. There is also a back foot brake to safely slow down and stop. Taking the family out for a bike or scooter ride is an excellent family activity that keeps everyone active and healthy, and ensures a screen free break time that is still fun and enjoyable.

My First Foam Pogo Stick

#7 My First Foam Pogo Stick by Flybar is a hot new toy item for the 3 and up age group. It is a spin on the classic toy, the pogo stick. This new version is much safer and toddler friendly, with sturdy thick foam piece at the base and soft grip handles at the top. Since its foam it can even be used inside without scratching up any floors. These things are made so well and can support up to 250 lbs. so kids of any age or size can enjoy some jumping fun. These Foam Flybar Pogo Jumpers come in a variety of fun colors and characters, some even come with counters to keep track of jumps and LED lights for extra fun. This is a great toy to get kids up and active, moving and jumping, helping them stay physically fit, and getting them off their screens.

Outdoor Games

#8 Outdoor Family Games are an excellent way to get the whole family up and active and out in the fresh air. There are dozens of options, but a couple of proven winners are ring toss and cornhole. The great thing about these options are its all ages fun and gets the family all together. For a great 2 for 1 option check out Fat Brain Toys Jumpin Musical Ring Toss game. It converts from a jumping game to a ring toss game and adds in music as well. Toddlers will love the bright colors and music while parents will love the durability and the active play it promotes. Cornhole boards come in all colors and designs, if storage space is an issue GoSports Bullseye Bounce Cornhole Toss is a great choice. The base can fold down making the boards flat and easy to store. It even comes with a convenient carrying case to take it the park or to a friend’s house. This family game is a timeless classic and a great way to get the whole family together for some outdoor fun and healthy competition.{creative}&hvpos={adposition}&hvnetw=o&hvrand={random}&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl={devicemodel}&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583932700949676&psc=1

These are just a few great products that can help encourage outside play and screen free time. Remember to be a good example and take breaks from the smart phone, TV, and computers. Every one of us needs to take time to get outside and get active, especially young kids!



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