Outdoor Play

These backyard toys are perfect for a magical time outside.
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The Best Backyard Toys To Turn Your Yard Into A Magical Oasis

Add a dollop of imagination and one of these toys and you’re totally set.

Originally Published: 
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There are few things better than being outside, and there is truly nothing better than watching your children live out their childhoods by making up stories, climbing trees, and running wild in your own backyard. It's one of those happy Norman Rockwell moments for me, and this season gives you the perfect opportunity to create an actual wonderland with some fun backyard toys.

Whether you need some warm weather toys or have cooler climates, there’s something for every family on this list. This can be the summer your kids spend an entire hour chasing each other under a giant dinosaur sprinkler. It can be the fall your kid spends reading books inside a boat swing hanging from a tree. It can be the winter of building, and imagination, and wonder, and some good old building-a-fort and digging-in-the-dirt fun.

You don't have to have a bunch of toys to make a great backyard, but this list has a lot of ideas to turn whatever space you have into a magical oasis. Whether you have a ton of trees for a forest-like feel or a big open space to set up all the water toys (don't forget the sunscreen), there's something here that will totally make your kid happy. The backyard is all about freedom and imagination, and luckily there's a lot of it right there in yours, just waiting for your kids to discover.

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Waterfall Discovery Wall

Honestly, half of being a fun parent in the summer is just adding water. Water tables are always a hit, but I love how different this discovery wall is with all of it’s little cups and tunnels for water to flow through. The’ll love watching it and reorganizing the pieces to make the water flow in different ways.


Totter Balance Beam

For the child with dreams of being an Olympic gymnast — or just the kid who’s always walking on brick walls — try this adorable balance beam. You can set it up in a few different variations for your kids to practice balance, but you can also separate the pieces for tottering.


Rainbow Play Center

More water play! With a water sprayer, a sweet inflatable slide, and accessories like inflatable rings and balls, this is just a tiny oasis for your water babies. It blows up pretty quickly, and can hold kids ages 3 and up (always supervise) with plenty of room for fun and splashing.


Little Tikes Big Waffle 18-Piece Building Set

If your kids love blocks and Legos, they'll love taking that engineering brain of theirs outside with these giant waffle blocks. I remember these from my own childhood, and they're great for building forts, making train tracks, and creating obstacle courses. The individual blocks are totally lightweight, and are made for kids as young as 2, so your toddler should have no problem clicking them together to build. (Although full disclosure, you'll totally want to play with these, too.)


Canvas Regatta Boat Swing

Two words: boat. swing. A swing is always lovely, but when you can pretend to be captain of the ship as you swing in the sunshine, it's especially brilliant. I love the bright colors of the flags, and the boat itself has mesh seats, so even if it rains, your boat won't hold water.


12-Foot Trampoline

Gone are the trampolines of the ‘90s where we catapulted ourselves into the sky like a rocket and landed... somewhere... eventually. Now your kids can bounce safely (and you can join in!) on this 12-foot Plum Play trampoline. My favorite part is how the enclosure bows out a bit like a bubble to give kids maximum jumping room.


Hobbit Hole House

I can not tell you how desperately I want this hobbit hole for myself. Made by a family-owned business, these hobbit holes come in different sizes (they even make them as chicken coops!) and look just perfect in a big backyard. The kits come with everything you need, and the only tools required are a drill and a level. In certain areas, you may be able to have someone install it for you.


Inflatable Soccer & Basketball Court

For the tiny sporty ones, this is a dream come true. This inflatable court is 24 feet long, so up to eight kids can bounce and run and jump at the same time as they play basketball, soccer, or a combination of both. It blows up pretty quickly, and kids ages 3 to 8 will have a blast exhausting themselves on this.


Dome Climber

For your kids who love to climb, swing, and dangle, this dome climber is a great piece of equipment. I love that it sort of looks like a spaceship, and it offers them the chance to hide underneath like it's a fort or secret lair, too.


Throw & Stick

Don’t underestimate the power of a simple toy like this throw and stick ball set. Do you remember these from your own childhood? So fun and easy, and it’s the perfect outdoor toy to throw in your bag and take to the park, the beach, or to grandma’s house.


Barbie Dream Camper

I know you remember your own Barbie Jeep from the ‘90s, but now there’s a whole Power Wheels Barbie Dream Camper. Literally squealing. Barbie provides directions, and your kids can drive to a spot to “set up camp” with this sweet little camper, which includes a pretend campfire and grill, a bunch of pretend play food, and goes up to 5 mph.


Ride-On T-Rex Truck

If your child has ever wanted to pretend like they have a pet T-rex to do their bidding, now’s the time. Made for kids ages 2 and up, the dinosaur makes roaring and chomping sounds, and kids can store things in the back of the truck. It works well with kids pushing their own feet, but you can also get behind it and use it as a wagon if your kid wants to take a rest.


Giant Bubble Wand Kit

Talk about wearing your kids out. These giant bubbles will take their imaginations (and their arms) to great new lengths as they try to make the biggest bubble of all time before it pops. Pure magic.


Inflatable Rolling Wheel

OK, do you know how much my siblings and I would've chased each other in this thing? This giant inflatable wheel can support up to 200 pounds and offers your kids a lot of play opportunities. They can roll in it with someone, they can lay down in it and roll like a log, or they can just use it like their own persona space bubble in the grass.


Zipline Kit

If your backyard has trees, then this zipline kit really needs to go home with you. At more than 150 feet long, you can string it between two sturdy trees and let your kids really fly. Everything comes with the product, including the tree grips and the seat, so all you have to do is install it.


Inflatable Water Slide

Inflatable water slides have been a big hit for a long time, but I love the simplicity and fun of this one. It has a climbing side, a basketball hoop, and a water slide all in one, with plenty of room for multiple kids to splash. It’s perfect for kids ages 5 to 10, so you’ve got a wide range of play here.


American Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course

The great thing about having a big backyard is letting your child run out all their energy while you keep an eye on them from the window. It's even better when you can design an actual obstacle course in the yard with this American Ninja Warrior kit. They'll spend forever jumping, running, and pretending to be a total athletic superhero.

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Ocean Front Playhouse

I just love a playhouse, and this one from KidKraft is so sweet. I love the coastal vibe, and I really love the mailbox to drop letters in for your children. There's also a working doorbell and a little chalkboard so they can write out a menu, messages, whatever they come up with inside the playhouse. So many opportunities for play with this.


Scavenger Hunt

Do you know how long kids will spend on a scavenger hunt? For literal ever. At the beginning of spring, we did about a dozen of these, and my daughter was just thrilled every time. Even when the hunt was a list of me writing things like "a mailbox, a black bird, a patch of dead grass." This little game comes with three 60-card packs — one for outside, one for inside, and one for on-the-go — so your child has ample opportunity to find all the things. Just give them a few at a time and let them go to town.


Roller Coaster

I mean. If you're going to build a magical backyard, why not, right? Easy to assemble, the little coaster car just hangs out in a well up at the top of the track until you're ready to give it a push. Just be prepared for a whole lot of "AGAIN!!!"


Big Dig Sandbox Excavator

Again with the digging. If you have a spot in your yard that you don't mind your kid using as their own archeological dig site, then give them their very own excavator for maximum fun.


Rainbow Hand Kite

Too many kites are a pain in the butt, but this one is a sweet version of a hand kite that your kid can do themselves. With long rainbow ribbons, they can run back and forth, watching the colors whip behind them with an easy-to-hold wooden ring.


A-Frame Hideaway & Climber

OK, I’m obsessed with this and want to get in it myself! I love the little rock wall that’s perfect for kids as young as 18 months, and the little bell for them to ring when they reach the top is so sweet. They’ll love popping in and out, and it also offers some cute aesthetics to your backyard.


Camping Hammock

It's like a Hobbit house hanging from a tree. This little camping hammock is easy to install, and is such a cute little space for your kids to climb into and read or just rest. I love how it looks a little like a Dr. Seuss tent.


Forest Trail Kit

One of my daughter's favorite things to do in our backyard is "go on an adventure" with a bag packed full of things. Instead of hunting down every item they need in the house, you can give them this little kit instead. Inside is a giant waterproof groundsheet that they can use to sit on or use as a shelter or tent if they're pretending to really go deep in the woods. There's also a magnifying glass, a trail card with ideas of things to find, a compass, a card for finding leaves, and a card for building the perfect forest den.


Spinning Teeter Totter

A teeter totter that spins? I mean, it might make me feel a little queasy, but I guarantee kids will love it. There’s a 77-pound weight limit on each end, so big and little kids alike can play and spin and bounce.


Archery Set

You can pretend like it's summer camp with this cute archery set. The arrows have suction cup tips, so no worries about anyone being hurt, and the target can be adjusted so everyone gets a chance to feel like Robin Hood.


Light-Up Roller Skates

My family owned a roller skating rink when I was a kid, so maybe I'm biased, but these are the best way to get around when you're little. Roller skates are pretty easy for kids to try, and the light-up option on this pair is just perfection.


Rainbow Climbing Triangle

Everything about this is peak childhood. Climbing a tree, rainbow colors, swinging from the bottom — it’s perfect. It’s also super easy to assemble and throw together, too.


Wooden Sandbox

I had a sandbox as a kid that kept me busy for literal hours. This one is so cute, and has great storage capabilities with a section for sand toys and tools. It’s also lined with a sand play liner so that grass and weeds won’t grow through the sandbox, and water can drain efficiently.


Pogo Stick

A pogo stick requires so much coordination and strength that your kid will thoroughly exhaust themselves in minutes with this thing.


Mermaid Train Table

Train tables are always a popular choice for kids, but this mermaid train table is really unique and cute. Set it up on a porch or deck so you all can enjoy the sunshine while your child plays with mermaids, sea castles, underwater creatures, and more. (Bonus: easy to clean up.)


Nature Journal

I love a journal, and this nature-themed one comes with stickers, a magnifying glass, pens and pencils (and a sharpener!), along with the cutest little notebook. Your kids can take it on all their adventures and write down everything they see with the little sticker prompts urging them to describe a tree or an animal.


Mini Scooter

My daughter got a scooter for her birthday two years ago and it's still her favorite mode of transportation. This one comes in purple or green, and has the "learn to steer" technology so your little one can understand moving the handlebars to go a certain way while they scoot. It's also very lightweight and small, so it's easy to store or take on a trip with you.


Glow-In-The-Dark Lawn Darts

Lawn darts are fun enough, but add a glow-in-the-dark element, and they’re extra great. This is a fun activity for those late summer nights where your kids chase fireflies and you enjoy a little bit of stargazing. (Or, you know, dodging the lawn darts.)


Shark Escape Climber

Whether you have a kid who loves sea creatures or a kid who’s obsessed with all things Baby Shark, this little shark climber is so cute. For kids ages 3 to 8, kids can climb up and over the shark, or dip inside to feel like they’re swimming along in the ocean with all the colorful fish. It’s so sweet, and I bet they’ll wear themselves out climbing up, over, and in.


Ride-On Ladybug

For kiddos who just want a little rolling around and not a full 6-volt battery, this cute little ride-on ladybug is perfect. Easy to store and pull out, grab a couple of them for a little bug race down the driveway.


Body Bumpers

My siblings and I would’ve absolutely demolished each other in these inflatable body bumpers. Your kids can bump belly to belly in these giant things and will eventually exhaust each other as they roll all over the yard.


Giant Dinosaur Sprinkler

Giant sprinklers have been popular for some time, but why not try out a dinosaur version? Over 6 feet tall, it looks like water shoots straight out of the dinosaur’s mouth to soak all the lowly little cavepeople children. It’s so easy to blow up, too, and easy to move around the yard.

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