The Best Outdoor Toys for Toddlers to Ride, Climb, Splash, Toss, and Create With

From bubble blowers and chalk to ride-on toys and water slides, these toys will keep littles busy outside.

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Best Outdoor Toys for Toddlers

Parents / Marcus Millan

Whether you’re looking to get outside with large-scale fun, like a giant waterslide, or something on the smaller end, like an electric bubble blower, the best outdoor toddler toys help the whole family make new memories together. After all, as the weather warms up and we all start to shake off the doldrums of winter, it might be time to think about some ways to get out of the house with our kids again. 

Getting outside has plenty of benefits for kids and parents alike. “Outdoor play [boosts toddlers’] physical and emotional development, provides a great way for them explore their natural environment, and helps them build essential skills that will serve them well throughout their lifetime,” says Lauren Tingley, a mother of two, elementary school teacher, parenting coach, and creator of Simply Well Balanced. Plus, she points out that spending time outdoors provides ample opportunities for social interaction and relationship-building. 

All good things, right? So, to help make that outdoor play happen, we’re bringing you some tried-and-true favorites from real-life parents, along with some best-sellers and classic outdoors toys, all designed to get your toddler outside and lighten your load. We made our list based on picks our own kids have enjoyed, outdoor toys that can fit a variety of budgets and spaces, and those that promote age-appropriate toddler development with simple designs that let creativity flourish.

Our Favorite Outdoor Toys for Toddlers

Sunny & Fun Ultra Climber Waterslide

SUNNY & FUN Ultra Climber Water Slide


Why We Like It: This double water slide offers twice the fun, can accommodate multiple ages, and is incredibly durable, with a 350-pound weight limit. 

But Take Note: This slide is on the larger side, so you’ll want to be sure you have room in your yard to accommodate it. It also might damage grass underneath if you don’t move it around regularly.

This inflatable waterslide has been able to accommodate and entertain my five children ranging in age from toddler to preteen during the warm weather months.

I love that it has a 350-pound weight limit—which is on the higher end for inflatable waterslides—so even my 10-year-old son has been able to enjoy it. It’s also incredibly sturdy and has held up after being dragged around to different houses for birthday parties, playdates, and even to our daycare provider’s backyard. (She loved it so much, she also bought her own!) 

The built-in air pump makes inflating a breeze, and it’s surprisingly lightweight for how big the slide is; my 12-year-old daughter managed to put it away all on her own when cleaning the yard one day. And because the slide is so large, you’ll want to move it or stash it away regularly to avoid damaging your grass. 

By far, the best part is the different play options the slide provides. There is a pool area at the bottom the toddler loves to play in, a spray gun she surprises people with, and sprinklers set up at the top of the slides. If your toddler is on the younger side, they may need a boost to get up the climbing portion of the slide, so definitely keep that in mind before you buy. For younger kiddos, a smaller waterslide may be a good alternative. 

Price at time of publication: $450

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 3-10 years old
  • Weight limit: 350 pounds 
  • Dimensions: 157.2 x 134.4 x 94.8 inches
  • Material: Nylon
  • Special features: Carrying bag and air pump included

SplashEZ 3-in-1 Splash Pad

SplashEZ 3-in-1 Splash Pad


Why We Like It: You can adjust the water pressure to find the perfect splashing height, or use it primarily as a wading pool. 

But Take Note: As with any splash pad, slippage and water leaking into the yard can create some messy conditions, so proper placement is key. 

Suitable for toddlers 12 months and up, this splash pad and wading pool combines water and sprinkler features for double play power. Of course, any water play with kids will need to be supervised, but a backyard splash pad can make it a little easier to enjoy watching your little one play while minimizing the risk of drowning dangers. 

We love that the mat of this splash pad is BPA and phthalates-free and includes an educational design that can teach them letters too. (That is, if they stop giggling long enough to learn!) The splash feature height is fully adjustable with a hose, so you can keep the sprinklers low for young toddlers to explore or raise it up for older toddlers ready for more adventure. 

To use the splash pad, you will first need to inflate the outer rim with water through an attached hose, so be sure to plan accordingly, as filling it for the first time can take some time. After it’s filled, however, the outer rim will stay inflated, even if you shut the hose off, your toddler can still splash and use the pad as a wading pool. And that rim can come in handy if falls happen, because water + toddlers can be a slippery equation. 

Price at time of publication: $25

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 12 months and up
  • Weight limit: n/a
  • Dimensions: 60 x 60 x 4 inches
  • Material: Polyvinyl chloride
  • Special features: Foldable

Step2 Play & Shade Pool

Step2 Play & Shade Pool


Why We Like It: You get the best of both worlds for fun in the sun and safety with this play pool that comes with its own attached umbrella shade. 

But Take Note: There’s no drain on this pool, so to empty it, you will have to detach the umbrella and tip the whole thing over. 

Pool fun is the best for toddlers, but it can also be a challenge to keep young skin safe in the harsh rays of the sun. This pool solves that timeless dilemma with an umbrella shade. Your toddler will enjoy splashing in the pool, but if that’s not enough, it also comes with its own accessories. You’ll get three three funnel cups for dumping and scooping water, and a spinning water wheel. 

On the side of the pool, there are also two handy steps that can double as seats for toddlers to sit in and splash or enjoy their favorite hydrating poolside beverage. All of the cups and funnels also attach directly to the side of the pool, making clean-up a snap. 

Price at time of publication: $77

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 2-10 years
  • Weight limit: 12 gallons of water or 165 pounds of sand
  • Dimensions: 40 x 40 x 50 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Special features: Umbrella shade and cup accessories

Electric Bubble Blower

Fubbles Electric Bubble Blower


Why We Like It: Toddlers can delight in an endless cascade of bubbles floating around them, while you don’t have to lift a finger to produce said bubbles. Win-win. 

But Take Note: Batteries aren’t included, and you’ll need to set it up on a toddler-height surface to get the best bubbles. 

I am not even joking when I say that I got through a large chunk of the pandemic with a puppy and a baby by spending literal hours blowing bubbles for the two of them. Eventually, I got smart and picked up this electric bubble blower, which was a life-changing decision. 

Now, all I have to do is fill it up with bubble solution, switch it on, and sit back as I watch the two of them chase down bubbles together—all without me dripping bubble solution all over me, having my toddler demand to “do myself” then spill it everywhere, or get dizzy spinning around in endless bubble-blowing circles.  

Price at time of publication: $17

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 3 years and up
  • Weight limit: n/a
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Material: Plastic with metal motor
  • Special features: Requires 4 AA batteries (not included)

Gabby's Dollhouse Jumbo Chalk With Holder

Gabby’s Dollhouse Jumbo Chalk With Holder


Why We Like It: We’re huge fans of sidewalk chalk, and holders help keep the mess at a minimum. 

But Take Note: Broken-off bits of sidewalk chalk can be a choking hazard, so it might be helpful to sweep up any excess pieces. 

You really can’t go wrong with a set of classic sidewalk chalk—except for the mess. But this set featuring favorite “Gabby’s Dollhouse” characters will help your toddler’s coordination in handling the chalk and prevent lots of colored chalk mess on their hands. 

The set comes with four different sidewalk chalk colors in purple, pink, blue, and green, along with already-assembled sidewalk chalk holders, ready to use right out of the box. And when your toddler has completed all of the sidewalk chalk masterpieces they can with the first batch, you can pick up replacement sidewalk chalk and continue using the holders. 

Price at time of publication: $5

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 3 years and up
  • Weight limit: n/a
  • Dimensions: 1.225 x 5.1 inches (with the holder)
  • Material: Chalk and plastic
  • Special features: 4 holders included

Step2 Push Around Ride-on Buggy

Step2 Push Around Ride-on Buggy


Why We Like It: This ride-on buggy is complete with a beeping horn, a “hood” that opens, and a convenient push handle for parents. 

But Take Note: If your toddler has older siblings, just be prepared for lots of “helpers” who want to push!

I have eyed these ride-on buggies for as long as I’ve been a parent, but they always seemed too impractical to purchase, because they can only be used for a year or so until your toddler outgrows it. But the pandemic pushed me into doing a lot of things I never would have done, so I picked up this Step2Push buggy for my then 2-year-old, and she absolutely loved it. 

Now, I wish I would have bought it sooner, because we have gotten so much use out of it. At first, we used it in the house on our wood floors, and then, once the weather warmed up, we pushed her all around outside. Even though the wheels are plastic, I’ve been shocked at how durable they are and how easily they roll. My daughter rides up and down our gravel driveway to get the mail with me, and I push her through the yard on it when doing yard work. It’s been extra handy for the times I just can’t carry her around anymore, want to get stuff done, or just to get some fresh air during the witching hour. 

As far as features go, an attached seat belt ensures your toddler won’t tip out, while the footrests are comfortable to keep little toes from being run over. She also loves storing special items in the opening “hood.” The buggy can hold up to 50 pounds, so we are still getting a lot of use out of it, and my older kids love pushing her around on it too. 

Price at time of publication: $56

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 24 months
  • Weight limit: 50 pounds
  • Dimensions: 34.5 x 18.5 x 43.5 inches
  • Special features: Seat belt, storage

Radio Flyer Deluxe Steer & Stroll Trike

Radio Flyer Deluxe Steer and Stroll Trike


Why We Like It: Two words: push handle. Toddlers are notorious for wanting to bike on their own, but not as well-known for actually being able to move those pedals, so this bike with a parent-push handle solves that problem. 

But Take Note: The pedal brakes are fully working, so be prepared for some stop-and-starts. 

Now that I know how amazing an outdoor toy with a push handle is, I wish I would have invested in this three-in-one tricycle years ago. It starts a toddler bike with a push handle, so you can push and steer your child (you can also disable the steering if you have a NASCAR wannabe), then as they get older, you can remove the push handle to make it a fully functioning independent tricycle. The bike also has pedal brakes, so you may have some rocky stops as your toddler adjusts to use. 

Price at time of publication: $69

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 2-5 years
  • Weight limit: 49 pounds
  • Dimensions: 27 x 19.7 x 24.2 inches
  • Materials: Steel frame
  • Special features: Storage, adjustable seat, bell

Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler

Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler


Why We Like It: This vehicle can tackle any terrain, from grass to gravel, with two passengers and lots of accessories in tow. 

But Take Note: Be sure to pick up at least seven additional AA batteries to get all of the accessories, like the radio and “working” microphone, ready to use. 

For car-obsessed toddlers and preschoolers ready to ride, there’s nothing better than a set of Power Wheels. This Jeep Wrangler version comes with a lot of accessories, like a light bar and voice-changing microphone, plus realistic driving sounds to make hitting the open road even more exciting. 

You get two speeds (2.5 mph or 5 mph) in forward and reverse directions, and like a true Jeep, it can handle a lot of different terrains, including both hard surfaces and grass. Plus, there’s a parent-controlled lockout to prevent your adventurer from getting too fast and furious. 

Price at time of publication: $298

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 3-7 years
  • Weight limit: 130 pounds
  • Dimensions: Not listed
  • Materials: Not listed
  • Special features: 2 seats, voice-changing microphone, toy shovel

Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse

Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse - Blue


Why We Like It: It’s a classic playhouse cottage that all ages can enjoy, plus, it’s easy to put together on your own without any tools. 

But Take Note: It is lightweight, so if you get a lot of high winds or severe weather, you may want to move it indoors so it doesn’t blow away or get damaged. 

Our family has personally owned this Little Tikes playhouse for over 8 years now. I really appreciated how easy it was to put together. My 7-year-old, 5-year-old, and I assembled it without any tools required. The playhouse is also very lightweight, at only 32 pounds, so I could move it around the yard, and during the winter, I put it in our basement for the kids to play with all year round. (This year, I forgot to bring it inside, and it did end up blowing away, so be sure to learn from my mistakes!)

The playhouse includes two working doors, a flag holder (flag sold separately), and a mailbox slot for all of your toddler’s important deliveries. My favorite feature: the opening windows that work for playing “drive-through.” I’ve enjoyed many a delicious meal of sand fries from this fine establishment.

Price at time of publication: $139

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 2 years and up
  • Weight limit: n/a
  • Dimensions: 42.8 x 35 x 49 inches
  • Materials: Plastic
  • Special features: 2 working doors and windows, mail slot

Sand Toys With Mesh Carrying Bag

Click N' Play Sand Toys With Mesh Carrying Bag


Why We Like It: You get everything you need to create a sand castle masterpiece, all in one convenient carrying bag. 

But Take Note: If you have more than one kid, you may want to pick up extra toys to avoid sibling fights, because the set includes only one shovel and one rake. 

If you’re planning a trip to the beach or have some other sandy place to enjoy, this is a must-have. The mesh bag is a nice bonus for carrying toys on the go, and along with a classic sand castle mold, you’ll find a bucket, shovel, rake, seahorse, crab, fish, lobster, and watering pot. Choose from a 13-piece set, or upgrade to 18 pieces for more choices to create a sand castle masterpiece.

Price at time of publication: $11

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 3-10 years old
  • Weight limit: n/a
  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.8 x 11 inches (in box)
  • Material: BPA-free plastic
  • Special features: Seahorse, crab, fish, lobster, and castle molds included

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

Strider 12 Balance Bike


Why We Like It: Balance bikes help even young toddlers learn the necessary skills and coordination before they ever hit the road with pedals. 

But Take Note: Your kid might catch on really fast, warranting a quick upgrade.

Strider balance bikes take a twist on teaching kids to ride a bike and transform the classic parent-holding-onto-the-seat-and-running method that many of us grew up with. Instead, the balance bike comes without pedals and teaches kids to first grasp the fundamentals of learning to balance on the bike before they ever even touch a foot pedal. 

Kids with inseams of 12-20 inches can use this bike starting as young as 18 months old, all the way up until they are 5 years old—both the seat and the handlebar are adjustable to use as they grow. At just 6 pounds, the Strider is lightweight enough to throw into your vehicle for travel or new local adventures. Plus, it can handle rough and smooth terrain. Choose from eight different colors for every toddler style, and when your child is ready, you can add foot brakes or rugged tires (sold separately) for more off-roading adventures. 

Price at time of publication: $120

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 18 months-5 years with 12-20” inseam
  • Weight limit: 60 pounds 
  • Dimensions: 33 x 15 x 22 inches, 12-inch wheels 
  • Material: Alloy steel frame
  • Special features: Option to add foot brakes or rocking kit

Kids Coloring Co. Gardening Kits

Kids Coloring Co Gardening Kits

The Black Toy Store

Why We Like It: From a company owned by two Black nurses, the all-in-one kits allow you to grow daisies, sunflowers, herbs, flowers, or organic vegetables. 

But Take Note: While basil can be safely grown and kept indoors, you’ll need a large planter or outdoor garden space for your carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers if you choose the vegetable kit. 

Gardening enthusiasts will appreciate picking up an all-in-one kit to introduce your toddler to the art of growing vegetables, herbs, or flowers. Each beautifully-packaged kit from this Black-owned company comes with everything you need to get started, from a pot to plant in, soil pellets, seed packets, and labels with accompanying decorations so you know what’s growing. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up a watering can for your toddler to keep their new flowers or veggies growing strong. 

Price at time of publication: $30+

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: Not listed
  • Weight limit: n/a
  • Dimensions: Not listed
  • Materials: Terra cotta planters, biodegradable liners, seeds
  • Special features: Kits include pots, seeds, labels, and decorating accessories

Little Tikes Fish 'n Splash Water Table

Little Tikes Fish 'n Splash Water Table


Why We Like It: It comes with extra accessories, like a fishing pole and a tipping fishbowl that’s sure to make toddlers giggle. 

But Take Note: The plug to keep water in can be tricky to install at first. 

Water tables are usually a hit on their own, but this Little Tikes Fish `n Splash version takes things up a notch with the added excitement of fishing fun. Your toddler can enjoy fishing for the included critters, filling up the fishbowl at the top that will tip over into the attached lily pad when it’s full for a splashing surprise, and playing with the included water cup too. Thanks to all of the bonus accessories, it’s also an ideal table for multiple toddlers to play with. 

The table does include a plug so you can drain the water out when you’re done using or to clean it, but you may need a set of pliers to set it up initially. If you prefer, you can also fill the table with up to 50 pounds of sand for tactile play. 

Price at time of publication: $49

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 2 years and up
  • Weight limit: 50 pounds of sand
  • Dimensions: 29.25 x 29.13 x 7.25 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Special features: Tipping fishbowl, fishing pole, water cup, and 5 “critters”

3-in-1 Micro Kickboard Scooter

Micro Kickboard 3-in-1 Deluxe Ride-on Micro Scooter


Why We Like It: This three-in-one scooter can be used by toddlers as young as 12 months old, and converted as they grow. 

But Take Note: The seat-on-a-scooter concept might take some getting used to, so be wary of falls with your tot. 

Little kids of all ages love scooters, but for toddlers that want to join in, traditional scooters can be a little outside their skill set. The 3-in-1 Micro Kickboard solves that by offering a low-to-the-ground seat that a toddler as young as 12 months can sit on while “scooting” with their feet. 

Then, when they’re ready to move up a level around age 2, you can remove the seat and the scooter is ready to use as a stand-on scooter with a short O-bar. As one last level, swap the O-bar for a T-bar, and the scooter transforms into the Micro Mini Original scooter that can be used all the way up to 5 years old. 

Price at time of publication: $120

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: 12 months-5 years
  • Weight limit: 75 pounds
  • Dimensions: 21 x 4.5 x 25 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Special features: 2-year manufacturer warranty, seat included, various colors

Classic Playground Ball

Champion Sports Classic Playground Ball


Why We Like It: A playground classic, this Champion sports ball is virtually indestructible. 

But Take Note: There’s no inflation pump included, and it does ship deflated. 

Bring back the nostalgia of the playground with this classic Champion sports ball. It’s soft enough for open-ended toddler play, yet durable enough to endure endless games of kickball by older kids. (Ah, the memories.) The ball does ship deflated and an inflation pump isn’t included, so you may want to pick one up if you don’t have one at home already. 

Price at time of publication: $9

The Details: 

  • Recommended age: n/a
  • Weight limit: n/a: 
  • Material: Nylon
  • Dimensions: 10 inches diameter
  • Special features: Also comes in a variety of sizes and colors

Our Review Process

We handpicked all of the toys in our outdoor toddler toy list based on real toys that our own toddlers use and love, classic outdoor toys that have stood the test of time (hello, playground ball of our youth!), or are best-selling outdoor toddler toys. 

We also choose outdoor toys that could fit a variety of budgets, needs, and outdoor spaces. Not everyone has access to their own backyard and some outdoor toys will need to be portable and easy to use in shared spaces. 

To gain expert insight on how to choose age-appropriate outdoor toys for toddlers, we also interviewed Harold Hong, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist at New Waters Recovery, in North Carolina; Lauren Tingley, a mother of two, elementary school teacher, parenting coach, and creator of Simply Well Balanced; and Angel Mitchell, director of A Royal Academy in Western Washington. And because real-life parental expertise helps, mom Karissa Whitman of Mom After Baby and Kacie Barlow, a nurse and mom of four, also provided their experience on choosing outdoor toddler toys

Factors to Consider When Choosing Outdoor Toys

Some outdoor toys, like a ball or bubbles, may not require a lot of consideration ahead of time, but there are other factors parents and caregivers might want to consider when choosing the right outdoor toys for their family. Here are some factors to consider for outdoor toddler toys.

Purpose and Function 

When shopping for an outdoor toddler toy, consider the type of activity it encourages, says Dr. Hong. Look for toys that foster imaginative play, stimulate the senses, or focus on gross motor skills like balance and coordination. 

“Toddlers also love copying their parents, so a child-sized tool set or lawn mower could be a great option for outdoor play,” he suggests. 

Age and Developmental Stage

Before purchasing an outdoor toy, Dr. Hong suggests parents read the product label to ensure it is safe for their child's age and development. For instance, while both a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old can be considered “toddlers,” there could be wide ranges in their physical abilities and developmental levels, so checking manufacturers’ recommendations for ages can be helpful. 

Additionally, he recommends avoiding overly stimulating toys with bright lights and sounds, and instead, sticking to low-tech toys that won’t be overwhelming. 


Simple designs are best when selecting an outdoor toy for toddlers, adds Dr. Hong. Look for toys that have smooth surfaces and rounded edges to prevent any injuries or cuts. “Toys should also be lightweight, easy to grasp, and brightly colored to help capture a child's attention,” he says.

Creativity Potential

Tingley recommends looking for open-ended toys that allow toddlers to use their imagination. She also suggests avoiding overly structured toy options, such as cartoon themes or battery-operated remote control cars. Examples of open-ended outdoor toys include:

  • Stacking blocks
  • Sandboxes with an array of tools and accessories
  • Sculpting kits with sand or clay
  • Colorful chalk for art projects on the driveway or sidewalk

“Generally speaking, the more a toy can do, the less the child has to do, so try to avoid toys that have all the fancy lights, features, and instead keep it simple,” Whitman says. 


Last but not least, especially if you’re investing in a pricier toy or have multiple children, it might be helpful to consider the longevity of the toy. Can it convert to use as your child grows? Does it have other functions that can be used in different ways? Is it durable enough to be passed down to another child safely? 

How to Play Outdoors Safely

And speaking of safety, that’s also another important factor to consider, not just for outdoor toddler toys, but when playing outside in general. Gone are the days when parents could kick kids outside and go about their days. Now, most parents will be outside playing with their toddlers, or at the very least, supervising them to ensure they stay safe. 

Dr. Hong recommends checking that the toy you’re considering is made of quality materials and meets all safety standards before purchasing. Especially if you’re using the toy regularly and/or storing it outside, inspecting it for damage is always a good idea.  For battery-operated toys, always make sure the batteries are sealed and secure, and replace them when necessary.

Parents should also avoid outdoor toys that have small parts or sharp edges, as these could be choking hazards for young children. And as Angel Mitchell, director of A Royal Academy, points out, a little common sense will go a long way: “We live in a world full of plastic, and let's face it, toddlers chew things, so use judgment on what this means for your toddler and the toy you're considering,” she says. 

Your Questions, Answered 

What kind of toys keep toddlers busy? 

Toddlers love to explore and test out new physical abilities, so toys that spark their imagination, let them move their bodies, and have surprising elements to discover will always be a hit. Think ride-on toys, toys that let them run and climb, and toys with things to open or stash their treasures (read: rocks and leaves) in. 

Do toddlers need to play outside every day? 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does recommend daily outdoor playtime for all ages, even babies. There are many differences in families’ abilities and access to outdoor spaces, so the AAP stresses that even small amounts of time outdoors can have health benefits. The most important thing is to get outside as often as you can and enjoy the time together, not stress about how much time you toddler is or isn’t getting outside. 

How much should I spend on outdoor toddler toys? 

You don’t have to spend any money on outdoor toddler toys! The beauty of being outdoors is that nature is its own playground. Toddlers are naturally creative and simple things like taking a walk, picking up rocks, or playing with sticks can serve as natural toys. If you do decide to invest in outdoor toddler toys, you can use our guide as inspiration and spend as little as $5on sidewalk chalk or as much as $500 for a large waterslide to explore new ways of creativity outside. But the bottom line is that it’s not the toy, it’s getting outside together that matters. “The great thing about toddlers is they don't need anything extravagant, they just need you,” notes Kacie Barlow, a nurse and mom of four. 

Who We Are 

Chaunie Brusie is a mom of five kids, ranging from teen to toddler, and a registered nurse from Michigan. She lives on a small hobby farm and is frequently on a quest to get her kids to play outside so she can sit on her yard swing alone. 

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