Best outdoor toys for toddlers and children

27 June 2019

girl playing on a climbing frame

Come rain or shine (though, hopefully, shine), there’s nothing better than having fun in your garden with the kids. But it can be tricky to keep them entertained - especially if you struggle with endless imaginary play. Take a look at the outdoor toys that Mumsnetters swear by and let the good times roll.

Things to consider

Size

How much space do you have in your garden? A two-storey playhouse might be the dream but it’s just not practical – or safe – if your garden is on the small side. Take measurements and opt for toys that fit the environment – not the other way around.

Price

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.

Age

Does the toy suit the ages of the children playing with it? Whilst a baby’s first climbing frame might be fantastic for their development, it’s unlikely to have the same effect on a 10 year old.

Longevity

Outdoor toys are often a little more expensive due to the wear and tear that they endure. With this in mind, consider the build and structure of the toy. Is ti tough enough to withstand the British weather (and your kids)?

Premium Trampoline with Safety Enclosure, Net, Ladder and Anchor Kit, from £84.00

Premium Trampoline with Safety Enclosure, Net, Ladder and Anchor Kit, from £84.00

When it comes to outdoor toys, trampolines top the list for kids of all ages. This premium trampoline from Kanga includes a safety enclosure and net so you can rest assured that your children are as safe as possible while they bounce out their energy. It also includes an anchor kit for you to keep the trampoline safely grounded.

“Trampoline. Best thing ever. Add a safety net and they're good to go.”

“My two sons are seven and twelve so they need a large trampoline. It’s the one thing they'll go and enjoy independently in the garden.”

Buy now from Amazon

Wooden Kids Playhouse, £329.99

 Wooden Kids Playhouse, £329.99

You can’t beat classic wooden outdoor toys and this playhouse is as charming as they come. Made from sustainable PEFC timber, it has a ten-year anti-rot guarantee so you can rest assured that your children will be able to enjoy this cottage-style playhouse for years to come. Robust construction, shatterproof styrene windows and a finger trap prevention design make it safe and sturdy, whilst the pretty canopy roof and door details will delight kids young and old.

“My kids love their real Wendy house in my mums garden. They're not fussed over the small plastic one in our garden but they love the wooden one with real doors, windows, and curtains!”

“Our playhouse is an ice cream shop, a fire station, a police station, post office, secret batman hideout – the list is endless.”

Buy now from Amazon

Related: Looking for the best kids scooters? Mumsnetters pick their favourite scooters for their children this summer.

Wiltec Sandbox, £42.45

Wiltec Sandbox, £42.45

This stable and environmentally-friendly sandbox from Wiltec is made of fir wood and a non-woven cloth floor, with edge protection for little fingers. It includes two built-in benches that fold down to provide a cover for the sand when it's not in use, keeping it clean whilst also providing practical seating for children. You can rest assured that this sandpit will be enjoyed for many years.

“We have a sandpit which is a huge hit for my kids and any friends that they have over.”

“Sandpit is a winner and lasts for a long time.”

Buy now from Amazon

Redstone Hammock with Metal Stand, £40.79

Redstone Hammock with Metal Stand, £40.79

You might not have considered them before, but savvy Mumsnetters swear by hammocks when it comes to outdoor toys for all the family. This huge standalone hammock is easy to assemble with steel hooks that fix the hammock in place, so you know your little ones are safe and secure. The hammock itself is made from breathable woven cotton and the built-in wooden stabiliser bars prevent it tipping too much.

“My absolute killer outdoor toy is a hammock. When the kids were younger, we would all snuggle in together and sing songs, look at the leaves, etc. Now my son is four, it is a constant source of both adventure play (how high can I swing it?) and imaginative play (it regularly doubles as a pirate ship etc).”

Buy now from Amazon

Looking for more wants to entertain your children this summer? See our favourite trampolines, with options for every garden size and budget.

Summer Escapes 9ft Octagonal Family Pool, £50

Summer Escapes 9ft Octagonal Family Pool, £50

Paddling pools are an outdoor toy staple – and with good reason. They're great for keeping the kids cool and entertained, and maybe even having a dip yourself! This nine-foot inflatable paddling pool from Argos is big enough to comfortably accommodate children and adults alike. Taking just 15 minutes to inflate, kids won’t have to wait long to jump into this funky, octagonal shaped pool with – drum roll please – built-in wine cup holders.

“Definitely paddling pools in the summer. The kids love them on warmer days.”

Buy now from Argos

Little Tikes Seek and Explore Climber, £234.99

Little Tikes Seek and Explore Climber, £234.99

The range of Argos outdoor toys is extensive but this Little Tikes activity centre is a winner when it comes to outdoor toys for toddlers and younger children. Ideal for physical development, the Seek and Explore Climber is a playground, slide and jungle gym all in one. With ramps, ropes, ladders and slides, kids will improve their motor skills whilst having plenty of outdoor fun. The fun, castle design will be sure to have their imaginations running wild too.

“The climbing frame is definitely the most well-used and loved outdoor toy by kids of all ages, from when they are walking up to 10 years old.”

Buy now from Argos

Looking for a fun and active holiday this summer, but don't want to break the bank? See which tents we think are best for family getaways this summer.

Kid Connection Sand & Water Activity Table, £30.00

Kid Connection Sand & Water Activity Table, £30.00

If you’re looking for outdoor toys that don't take up too much space, look no further than this sand and water activity table from ASDA. Mumsnetters praise this classic toy’s longevity and fun factor, which comes with a range of accessories including buckets, sand moulds and boats. With a quick draining function for easy cleaning and a fabric cover which keeps the table clean and tidy when not in use, you can all enjoy this low-maintenance toy.

“Mine can't get enough of their sand and water table.”

“My son’s absolute favourite garden toy is his sand and water table. He got it for his first birthday and plays with it for hours – day in, day out.”

Buy now from ASDA

Airwave Cirrus Garden Swing and Glider Kids Outdoor Play Set, £54.99

Airwave Cirrus Garden Swing and Glider Kids Outdoor Play Set, £54.99

A swing set is a ubiquitous outdoor toy and Mumsnetters love this model from Airwave Cirrus. Combining a swing with a glider, this outdoor play set is durable and great fun for kids. With chunky, blow-moulded seats, children will feel safe and secure as they glide through the air. Additional ground pegs also come as standard to anchor the frame into the ground, offering more stability.

“My grandson loves this swing. It has grown with him and I can see him getting even more use out of it as he gets older.”

Buy now from Amazon

Prices correct at time of publication. Mumsnet carries some affiliate marketing links, so if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale (more details here).