When kids get stir-crazy, parents know that a trip to the playground is one of the best ways to let off steam. But what about when you can't make it to the park? Somehow a trip to the backyard doesn't seem to work as well when it comes to breaking up the monotony... but maybe that's just because you don't have the right backyard toys for your kids.
With the right items, you can make your humble yard just as appealing as the playground. From simple pleasures like bright sidewalk chalk to more extravagant options like your very own bounce house, these outdoor toys and activities will brighten up your whole family’s day. It's rough when your kid can't follow their pals down their favorite slide or spin with their buddies on the tire swing, but having something new and fun in your own backyard should make it a little easier to play alone or with a sibling. Plus, when your kids are busy playing outdoors, you might find yourself with a few uninterrupted minutes to read or just to sit and think without being asked 500 hard-to-answer questions. Read on, because everyone wins really with these 12 outdoor activities.
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1. Stomp Rockets
Kids will love watching their stomp rockets sore (as much as 200 feet) into the air. The lightweight foam rockets won't hurt if they accidentally land on someone, but the Learning Express website does recommend this toy for kiddos 8 and up. Adults may get a kick out of these too, and it's really fun when your kids see how far you can make the rocket fly.
2. A Water Table
It's no secret that water is a great way to keep kids busy, but it's also a great way to flood your bathroom. This table takes the fun of water and brings it safely outdoors. The upper deck has holes in it so water can "rain" down to the lower basin. You won't even need to take the bath toys outside as the set comes with 13 accessories.
3. A Wheelbarrow & Gardening Tool Set
If your kiddo always wants to "help" you in the garden, then it's about time they got their own tools. These sweet wheelbarrow rolls just like the real thing, plus it comes with an easy-to-grip hand rake and trowel. Now if there was an easy way to get your kids to remember what plants they're allowed to pick...
4. A Personal Bounce House
Birthday parties may be cancelled and you probably won't be visiting the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese anytime soon, but you can bring the bounce house to our own backyard. It blows up quickly, plus this design has two "rooms" which is a gamechanger if your kids can't stop plowing into each other.
5. An Explorer Set
Your backyard can become vast and uncharted territory with this explorer case which includes all the essentials: binoculars, a compass, water bottle, a travel book, plus the case to keep all their treasures (random rocks) safe. Moulin Roty is a French brand so your littlest explorer will have an aura of je ne sais quoi as they scour your yard for all sorts of treasure (and if you're feeling ambitious, you can even set up a scavenger hunt for them).
6. Chalk With Stencils
Never underestimate humble sidewalk chalk. The classic hopscotch-making tool gets an upgrade in this set which includes chalk in special shapes (like diamonds), holders so your little ones don't get dusty hands, and stencils so you can turn your patio into a summery mural featuring ice cream, pizza, watermelon, and for some reason, a cute little panda bear. Chalk messages are also a sweet way to communicate with neighbors from afar.
7. A Sandbox With A Cover
There can be something kind of nice about not having to share the sandbox, and this backyard box is perfect for relaxed afternoons outside. You can pull out the beach toys and have your kiddos make castles, or they may have fun digging for buried "treasure" (little figurines work well for this). It comes with a cover, too, so the sand won't get soupy when it rains.
8. A Funny Sprinkler
This sprinkler attaches easily to any hose and makes for hours of fun cooling off in the sun. As the weather gets warmer, chances are that you may be skipping the crowded pool, so a sprinkler for summer is a must, especially when it's this cute.
9. A Backyard Roller Coaster
You can have a mini amusement park with this coaster designed for kids ages 3 and up (and under 75 pounds). The car is light enough that most kids can push it to the top of the ramp themselves, then hop in and go for a ride. This is so fun you'll wish you could go for a spin too, just make sure that there's nothing for several feet in front of the ramp because the car actually goes pretty far once it's off the track.
10. A Basketball Pit
Now you can combine basketball with your very own ball pit (just be sure to buy the accompanying balls). Little ones will love playing in this inflatable structure, plus you know they're at least somewhat contained in one area. This is a great option because you can set it up inside or outside, depending on the weather.
11. Little Tikes Cozy Truck
Kiddos will love cruising around in this updated take on a classic Cozy Coupe, equipped with a real working horn and a gas cap that opens. While not specifically designed after the beloved children's book character, this little blue truck looks a lot like another Little Blue Truck, which is sure to delight little fans.
12. A Sweet Pool
An inflatable pool is more versatile than you might think. Sure, it's great for cooling off on hot summer days, but pools make perfect ball pits on cooler days (and if yours is shaped like a donut, all the better).