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Best outdoor toys: get your kids active with great toys and games for your garden

Get ready to upgrade your kids' outdoor playtime with the latest and greatest outdoor toys. From classic swings to trampolines, we've rounded up the best of the best to keep your kids entertained all summer long. 

By Laura Cooke | Last updated May 26, 2023

best outdoor toys collage

If you’re lucky enough to have your own outdoor space then you’ll know a garden is a great place for your children to enjoy fresh air and have the sort of messy play that’s best avoided in the house. And with summer just around the corner there’ll be more opportunities to spend time having fun outside. The best kids' outdoor toys can make a garden into a wonderland for kids of any age - from toddlers to teens. 

We’ve spent several hours trawling through the Mumsnet forums and expert review sites to find the most highly-recommended outdoor toys - from the best trampolines to the best paddling pools. By drawing on the knowledge of thousands of UK parents who post on the Mumsnet Talk forum, our picks have been tried and tested by parents and their children, taking into account everything from entertainment value to age suitability.

From climbing frames and swings to den-making kits and swingball sets, here are the best kids' outdoor toys to help you and your family make the most of warmer weather and time spent outside, whether you’ve got a huge lawn, a little yard or you’re heading down to the local park.

Here are the best kids' outdoor toys, as recommended by parents.

1. Best outdoor toy overall: Swingball Classic

swingball classic

Price on writing: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age range: 3 - 18 years | Size: Height adjustable up to 1.6m

What we love

  • Fun for the whole family
  • Easy to set up
  • Encourages competition 
  • Develops hand-eye coordination

What to know

  • Needs to be sunk into the ground
  • Unsuitable for decking or paved gardens

What Mumsnet users say

“Our Swingball has been a godsend over the last few days! DD happy to play with it alone.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter AngelsWithSilverWings)

“Swingball. My teens love it and both my partner and I have admitted to playing it on our own as well!” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter MaryBerrysBomberJacket)

“Swingball is awesome but make sure you get the proper one that you hit into the ground if you can. Then you can really whack it and it won't fall over like the ones you fill with water.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Coffeeandcrumpet)

Our verdict

If you want to let your children burn off some energy outside then Swingball Classic is a sure-fire way to do it. This fab family game is extremely easy to set up - all you have to do is push the spike into the ground, adjust the height, attach the tethered ball to the pole, pick up your racquet and let the fast and furious fun follow. Unlike other garden ball games, you won’t have to keep knocking on your neighbour’s door to ask for your ball back, unless you’re playing against a budding Serena Williams with a killer forehand. And it’s still amazing for building hand-eye coordination skills and getting little bodies moving.

The manufacturer says the game is suitable for kids aged three to 18, but of course there is nothing to stop competitive parents or grandparents from getting in on the action. The big downside to swingball is that the pole needs to be stuck into the ground, which is no good if your garden is decked or covered with paving slabs. But this doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun, as Swingball also makes an all-surface version for just a few pounds more. We think Swingball is the best overall outdoor toy you can buy because it’s great value, small enough to work well in most size gardens, can be used alone or with a partner, keeps kids active, and encourages coordination and focus.

2. Best budget outdoor toy: John Lewis Lawn Mower

john lewis toy lawnmower

Price on writing: £10 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Age range: 3 years and up | Size: H56 x W32 x D27cm

What we love

  • Great value for money
  • Encourages imaginative play
  • Improves gross motor skills

What to know

  • Foldable handle can sometimes move during play

What Mumsnet users say

“Depends on the kid I suppose but my two had hours of fun with a push along mini mower” (Recommended by Mumsnetter YoComoManzanas)

Our verdict

A toy lawn mower is a brilliant buy for encouraging creative play out in the garden, especially for children who love to copy the things they see the grown ups in their lives doing. We especially love this one from John Lewis because it’s brilliant value for money, is lightweight enough for young children to use, and it looks realistic but still fun with its chunky design and bright colours.There are other toy mowers available that make bubbles as they’re pushed, but we love the simplicity and realism of this particular mower.

The lawn mower is perfect for developing gross motor skills and pushing it on different surfaces around the garden can help children develop their sensory perception skills. Parents who’ve bought this for their children say that it’s a great size for toddlers and young children and that the adjustable levers and dials add an extra layer of fun for them. It’s pretty sturdy considering how lightweight it is and parents love the fact that the handle folds down for easy storage, although it does sometimes fold down if the mower is pushed too vigorously too, so that’s something to watch out for.

Related: The best scooters for kids, tried and tested by Mumsnetters

3. Best ride-on outdoor toy: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Car

little tikes cozy coupe

Price on writing: £64.99 | Buy now from Very

Key specs

Age range: 18 months to 5 years | Size: ‎74.93 x 41.91 x 85.09cm

What we love

  • Timeless classic toy
  • Hours of fun
  • Durable and hardwearing

What to know

  • Needs plenty of space

What Mumsnet users say

“A slide, a Cozy Coupe Car and a playhouse would be my top three played-with outdoor toys.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter PinkWaferBiscuit)

“Cozy Coupe Car. Still using it now and DS is five.” (Rated by Mumsnetter Dsisproblem)

“Not sure how old your little one is, but the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe has been very popular here (seven-year-old still tries to squeeze in!).” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Equimum)

Our verdict

After 30 years, the ubiquitous red and yellow Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Car is still a firm favourite and can be found parked up in gardens across the land. Toddlers will love scurrying across the patio or lawn Fred Flinstone-style, or you could even use it indoors if you’re feeling brave and have hidden the breakables away.

The car features a petrol cap that opens and closes, a clicking ignition switch and a working horn. And if red and yellow aren’t to your child’s taste, the Cozy Coupe comes in a range of other colours and designs, including a dinosaur, ladybird and a police car. Mumsnet users love how many years of play their children have had from the Cozy Coupe car and say it’s the toy they run to time after time.

Looking for more like this? Take a look at our round-up of Mumsnetters' best ride-on toys for 1-year-olds and up.

4. Best outdoor toy for toddlers: Chad Valley Sand and Water Table

chad valley sand and water table

Price on writing: £35 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

Age range: None specified | Size: 70 x 52.5 x 52.5cm

What we love

  • Great value
  • Easy to assemble

What to know

  • Lid is a bit flimsy

What Mumsnet users say

“I got this for my two-and-a-half-year-old. He’s enjoying it. It's not the fanciest one and is a little basic but it does the job well... It comes with a cover which is useful, and the little spade, fork, boats etc. Just a tip: I don't use sand and water at the same time on different sides or it becomes one big slush as my one tips sand into water and vice versa. One day is sand day and another is water day!” (Recommended by Mumsnetter eyesbiggerthanstomach)

Our verdict

If you can’t get to the beach, bring the beach to you with the Chad Valley Sand and Water Table. The set comes with two moulds, a sand rake, a scoop and two boats, so there’s no need to fork out on additional items to enjoy sand and water play in the garden. The table also comes with a storage lid, which means you can leave the table outside in all weathers (providing you remember to put the lid on, of course). Each side of the table holds around 7.6 litres of either water or sand, and with a drainage hole (and plug) on both sides it’s simple to empty out when you’ve finished playing.

It’s super easy to put together, and you can take the legs off so that it can be placed on the ground and enjoyed by younger children. It’s true that there are other water tables out there that come with more exciting features, not to mention a higher price tag attached. But if you’re looking for an affordable first water and sand table for your toddler, then this comes highly recommended by parents.

For more Mumsnetter-approved picks, check out our guide to the best water tables.

5. Best outdoor slide: Little Tikes Slide

Little Tikes Slide

Price on writing: £64.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age range: 18 months to 6 years | Size: 99 x 46 x 58cm

What we love

  • Can be used outdoors and indoors
  • Folds up for easy storage
  • Can be used with a hose for wet play

What to know

  • Handles can be fiddly to attach

What Mumsnet users say

“The Little Tikes toddler slide is great. And they can do it themselves as it's nice and stable.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user AnnaSW1)

Our verdict

For classic playground fun it doesn’t get much better than a slide, and this one from Little Tikes will keep children entertained for hours. You can use it in the house on rainy days and it folds up to be pretty compact for easy storage. Once it’s up it’s stable and sturdy and will stand up to a lot of use from busy toddlers.

What we really love about this particular slide though is that you can attach a hose to it for water to spray through little jets in the side, making it perfect for hot summer days in the garden. Suitable for children aged 18 months to 6 years and with a maximum weight limit of 27kg this slide will last your family for years and provide endless fun whatever the season - we think it's the best garden slide out there.

6. Best outdoor toy for 5-year-olds: The Original Stomp Rocket Duelling Rockets

The Original Stomp Rocket Duelling Rockets

Price on writing: £17.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age range: 5 - 15 years | Size:  ‎21.77 x 54.03 x 75.01cm

What we love

  • Lets kids blow off steam
  • Easy to assemble

What to know

  • Needs a large space or rockets will get lost

What Mumsnet users say

“Definitely a Stomp Rocket. My four-year-old is obsessed.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Hellandcoldwater)

“Stomp Rockets are good to take to the park.” (Rated by Mumsnetter stressbucket1)

Our verdict

Mumsnetters love the original Stomp Rocket, which provides hours of entertainment for kids both big and small. However the Original Stomp Rocket Duelling Rockets take things one step further by introducing a competitive edge to the game. The premise is simple: just jump or stomp on the powerful air-launch pad to send these durable foam rockets up to a whopping 200 feet into the air. 

This kit comes with two launch pads, meaning two kids can play at the same time to see who can send their rocket the furthest. It’s dead easy to assemble, with no batteries required. But in order to avoid falling out with the neighbours, you do need a large open space for this one. If your garden is on the smaller size, it might be best to head to your local park instead. The kit comes with 4 ultra stomp rockets, and if you do end up losing a rocket or two you can order replacements easily enough.

7. Best outdoor toy for tweens: JumpKing UFO Swing

JumpKing UFO Swing

Price on writing: £200 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age range: From 3 years | Size: 206 x 200 x 200cm

What we love

  • Fun for all ages
  • Well built

What to know

  • Pricey

What Mumsnet users say

“My Neighbour has a UFO Swing by JumpKing and it's brilliant. All the kids love it, right up to the teens.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter Humina)

Our verdict

Famous for making some of the best trampolines on the market, JumpKing has also managed to impress Mumsnet users with this fun basket swing. Young kids will love swinging up high, while teens and adults can enjoy lazing around in the summer sunshine. Because why not?

The swing is attached to a robust black and yellow powder-coated frame by a strong and durable rope, so while it is quite an investment it really is built to last. The whole thing is rust and weather resistant and it’s covered by a 3 year limited warranty too. It’s easy to adjust the height of the swing to suit different ages and the seat is made with the same material as a trampoline bed so it’s nice and comfy. These types of swings are always popular at the park so any child would be beyond excited to have one of their own in the garden.  

8. Best outdoor toy for small gardens: TP Toys Deluxe Picnic Table Sandpit

TP Toys Deluxe Picnic Table Sandpit

Price on writing: £129.99 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Age range: From 2 years | Size: 48 x 110 x 91cm

What we love

  • 2-in-1 design is a great space-saver
  • Perfect for summer
  • Loads of play value

What we know

  • On the pricey side

What Mumsnet users say

“When we had a small garden, we had a picnic table where the centrepiece lifted out and the middle was a sandpit or could be used as a water tray or a variety of things. It worked well for quite a while as you could change around what was in the table and they could have a picnic at the table too.” (Rated by Mumsnetter teaandcakerules)

“My grandad treated us to a wooden picnic table where the lid comes off and you have sand inside it. It's great if you have a smallish garden because it's also somewhere for the kids to have a picnic/sit for a BBQ etc. But it’s definitely a slightly pricier option.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter Littlehouseinthebigcity)

Our verdict

If your garden is short on space then you may want to invest in this handy picnic table and sandpit in one. This traditional wooden picnic bench is perfect for family barbecues and alfresco dining, and the top lifts off to reveal two plastic containers for sand or water play.

It’s on the pricey side, there’s no doubt about it, but Mumsnetters who’ve tried and tested this particular outdoor toy say it’s well worth the investment. We love that you can use it for eating outside and for arts and crafts activities as a normal table, then take the top off and enjoy water and sand play as well. There is so much play value in the table that it’s well worth the initial investment.

9. Best outdoor toy for free-range fun: The Original Den Kit

The original den kit

Price on writing: £45 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age range: 6 years and up | Size: 2.4 x 1.8m tarpaulin

What we love

  • Creative, open-ended play
  • Den-building tips and inspiration included
  • Builds STEM and motor skills

What to know

  • Den is on the small side once built

What Mumsnet users say

“Den kit is a massive hit if you have a couple of trees.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user notagaim)

Our verdict

For real back to basics outdoor fun you can’t get much better than building dens, and this kit has everything kids need to build their own amazing dens outside. The kit has a tough waterproof camouflage tarpaulin and green waterproof groundsheet as well as a wooden mallet, natural jute rope, and 8 steel tent pegs for erecting the perfect small den. It also has an enamelware mug and camo face paints to add to the fun.

We love that this kit comes with a handy guide with tips and inspiration for building the best dens possible and that the whole kit is packed inside a durable cotton satchel for taking out on adventures. The den isn’t massive once it’s up but you can easily fit two young children under it and it makes the perfect base for outdoor activities and creative fun. 

10. Best outdoor toy for creative play: TP Toys Ahoy Wooden Play Boat

TP Toys Ahoy Wooden Play Boat

Price on writing: £199.99 | Buy now from TP Toys

Key specs

Age range: 3 - 12 years | Size: ‎92 x 180 x 118cm

What we love

  • Includes sun shade for safe outdoor play
  • Versatile
  • Includes storage

What to know

  • On the pricey side

What Mumsnet users say

“I've bought my daughter a wooden sandpit/play pirate ship for her fifth birthday (younger sister is two).” (Rated by Mumsnet user DockOTheBay)

Our verdict

This cute wooden boat is so much more than just a sandpit. The captain’s wheel and compass will allow your child to set sail on a maritime adventure, plus there’s a blackboard, removable splash bowl and a sturdy wooden surface to boot, making it a great outdoor space for the sort of arts and crafts that you don’t want in the house. And when you’re done, the play surface lifts up to provide some handy storage.

It’s a little on the pricey side, but the versatility and longevity of the TP Toys Ahoy Wooden Play Boat means that you’ll almost certainly get your money’s worth.  We love how the play boat encourages creative and imaginative play as well as keeping kids active and busy out in the fresh air.

11. Best garden game for families: Tactic Mölkky Outdoor Game

Tactic Mölkky Outdoor Game

Price on writing: £36.21 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age range: From 3 years | Size: 31.5 x 23 x 19cm

What we love

  • Educational
  • Fun for the whole family

What to know

  • Carry box could be sturdier

What Mumsnet users say

“For children (and adults) who can count, [Mölkky] is good fun.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user MrsCollinssettled)

Our verdict

A firm favourite across the continent, Mölkky is a simple game that involves throwing a piece of wood at 12 numbered wooden skittles. The first player to score dead on 50 points wins, but watch out, if you score over 50 then your total gets taken back down to 25. It sounds deceptively simple, but you need tactics, a good throwing arm and maths skills to be a Mölkky champion, which makes it great for older children and adults alike.

Ideal for family get-togethers, Mölkky is great for taking to the park, beach or on holiday. Some reviewers have said that the carry box feels a bit flimsy though, so you may want to consider investing in a separate carry bag, just in case.

12. Best paddling pool: Bestway Family Rectangular Inflatable Pool

Bestway Family Rectangular Inflatable Pool

Price on writing: £24.96 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age range: From 6 years | Size: 2.62 x 1.75 x 0.51m (larger size also available

What we love

  • Great value
  • Perfect for hot summer days

What to know

  • Basic design
  • Not suitable for younger children

What Mumsnet users say

“Very easy to use. It's our second summer with it this year.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter CacenCrunch)

“Second Bestway. Easy to inflate.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user maggienolia)

Our verdict

Bestway is one of the most reliable names when it comes to inflatables and this family-sized paddling pool is robust, sturdy and shouldn’t let you down. It’s a good size, so you’ll be able to fit the whole family in there without a problem, although the depth of the pool means it’s unsuitable for younger children.

Granted, it’s not the prettiest pool out there, but it does the job along with the best of them and will keep you and the family cool on hot summer days. It can take a while to inflate and fill the pool, but once it’s up reviewers say it stays well inflated for ages and is great fun for kids to splash around in and for adults to cool off in. On balance, we think it's the best paddling pool out there for summer 2023. 

13. Best outdoor trampoline: Zero Gravity Ultima 5 Rectangular Barrel Trampoline

Zero Gravity Ultima 5 Rectangular Barrel Trampoline

Price on writing: £329.95 (12ft) | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age range: Not specified | Size: 12 x 8ft (smaller and larger sizes also available)

What we love

  • Rectangular design
  • Lots of safety features

What we know

  • Pricey
  • Best suited to experienced bouncers

What Mumsnet users say

“Zero gravity is good and you can get storm straps to stop it from blowing away.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter trashcansinatra)

“We have a 12ft x 8ft Zero Gravity barrel-shaped trampoline. Really pleased with it. Fits well tucked away in the corner of the garden. Kids love it aged 13, 11 and seven. It seems safe and well constructed.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user MasterFlamingo)

Our verdict

Love them or hate them, no list of the best outdoor toys would be complete without a spot for the best trampoline. Trampolining aficionados will know that a rectangular trampoline gives a better bounce than a round one, so the Zero Gravity Ultima 5 Rectangular Barrel Trampoline is great for the experienced trampolinist who has outgrown their previous trampoline and wants to hone their skills.

Parents love this particular trampoline for its high-quality construction and safety features, including its state-of-the-art safety enclosure with a wired top ring and extra-thick padding. But if your child is new to trampolining, you may want to try something a little less intense (and kinder to your pocket), such as the Chad Valley 6ft Trampoline.

What to consider when choosing outdoor toys

There are a number of things to consider when buying an outdoor toy for your child.


How much space do you have in your garden? Pick a toy that’s suitable for your garden size and can be used safely in the space that you have available. A trampoline may be your dream garden toy, but if it doesn’t leave you enough room to sit outside, you may want to reconsider.

You should also think about whether you want a toy that’s a permanent fixture or one that can be easily packed up and stored away when not in use. Always check the measurements carefully before buying.


Price is, of course, a key factor in every purchase. Consider cost per use as a way to determine the value of your prospective play equipment. Bigger items like trampolines and climbing frames tend to cost more but will remain popular with your kids long after they've outgrown smaller toys.

That said, you don’t want to splash out on an outdoor toy that turns out to be a five-minute wonder. Shop around and choose wisely.


Does the toy suit the ages of the children playing with it? Some toys have a limited shelf life, while others can be used by kids from toddlerhood all the way to their teenage years and beyond. Whatever toy you opt for should be safe and appropriate for the child you’re buying for. And, of course, you should always supervise young children when using any toy that involves water.


Outdoor toys are often more expensive than indoor ones due to the wear and tear that they endure. With this in mind, consider the build and structure of the toy. Is it tough enough to withstand the great British weather and your kids?

What’s the best way to store outdoor toys?

Outdoor toys can be easily stored in sheds, garages or any other outbuildings. Or you can invest in some waterproof outdoor storage boxes to stash them in. If you lack any outdoor storage, then it’s worth considering whether the toy you buy can be brought inside and stored in a cupboard or even in the loft.

Other toys can be safely left outside, but you must make sure that they are able to withstand the elements. It may be a good idea to invest in a waterproof, dust-proof and windproof cover to protect your toys when not in use. This way they’ll last much longer and stay looking vibrant and colourful.

How do you keep outdoor toys clean?

It really depends on which outdoor toy you have. Soap and water or a simple wipe down may be enough, or you can always call on the old favourites vinegar and baking soda. Magic erasers are also great at dealing with scuffs and marks on outdoor toys. 

A brush with soft bristles, gentle soap and a careful hand is the best option for wooden structures. But always read the care instructions before attempting to clean your toy.

What’s the best outdoor toy to buy?

An oldie but a goodie, Mumsnet parents and their children love Swingball Classic, which is why we think it’s the best outdoor toy for kids. Durable, easy to assemble and simple to play with, it will provide hours of entertainment for the whole family.

How we chose our recommendations 

Our expert parenting writers and journalists spend hours researching the very best quality products for our Swears By articles.

All the outdoor toys on this list have been tried and tested by Mumsnet users and their children who have recommended their favourites based on factors including entertainment value, versatility, price and age suitability. We use this method so you always know that real people are behind our recommendations.

Finally, we collated all that information and then looked at other online reviews to see which outdoor toys for kids have received the best recommendations among both consumers and experts.

This article is not intended as a countdown of the ‘top 13’ best products, but rather a list of tried-and-trusted recommendations so you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re getting honest and reliable advice on choosing an outdoor toy that will keep your child entertained for many years to come.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

Swingball Classic
“Swingball. My teens love it and both my partner and I have admitted to playing it on our own as well!”


Best overall outdoor toy


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