In the modern world, kids have so many things around the house vying for their attention. It's easy for them to forget there's a whole world waiting just outside the front door. With the best outdoor toys and games, your children will want to be outside, soaking up the sun and getting exercise.
Today, kids are often distracted by screens. Whether it's a tablet, a gaming console, or a phone, you'll find them glued to something. If you want to get them to go outside, you'll need to break out the big guns. Fortunately, there are fun options for children of all ages -- and even some excellent games for adults!
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The Importance of Outdoor Play
Studies show that children today spend half as much time playing outside as their parents did. This means less time spent running around and exploring. Naturally, this isn't great for your child's health.
Of course, you can't ignore the importance of outdoor play. Naturally, you'll find plenty of benefits for both you and your kids.
It's Peaceful for You
When you're trying to get work done around the house, sometimes all you need is a little peace and quiet. With outdoor games, you earn yourself a little free time to finish up chores, or just relax for a bit. Of course, you'll want to be sure that younger children still have proper supervision when playing outside.
It's Healthy for Them
It's common for children to view exercise for exercise's sake as a chore. And children hate chores. The best way to get kids living healthily is to make exercise fun. With outdoors toys, play becomes an active endeavor. Children run and jump and throw balls. While to them it's just a fun game, to their body it's an outstanding workout. When being healthy is fun, it's easy to raise a healthy child.
They're Not Just for Kids
Kids may just want to have fun, but they're not the only ones. Adults deserve to have a good time too.
Many of the best outdoor toys for kids are also great for adults. Yard games let you channel your competitive energies into a healthy outlet while having fun with friends and family. Even toys that are "just kids' toys" are a great opportunity to bond with your kids. Pick up the laser tag blaster and get in the game, or show off your trampoline skills. Your kids will love having fun with you.
How We Picked the Best Outdoor Toys for Kids
We compiled our list of the best outdoor toys and games for kids by consulting with expert lists as well as buyers. Using a combination of expert recommendations and the reviews left by actual customers, we found the toys which left their users happy. Of course, no one person's opinion is the definitive one. So we believe that this combined approach is vital to finding the best outdoor toys.
Budgeting your Outdoor Toys
Not everybody shopping for the best outdoor toys is doing so with the same budget. Thankfully with such a broad range of options for toys, it's easy to find something that fits within your budget. Some toys are available for as little as $20 to $30. On the opposite end of the scale, a high-end trampoline costs up to $490 - $530. Some toys are available in a variety of sizes. So you can try out smaller versions before investing in larger, more expensive toys and games.
The 10 Best Outdoor Toys for Kids
We know that the last thing any parent wants to do is buy a toy for their child only for it to be a flop. Every toy chosen for this list has a history of happy kids. This minimizes the risk of your next purchase falling flat.
Bocce is a yard game classic where players attempt to roll their balls as close to a target ball as possible. The player with a ball closest to the target ball scores a point. He or she gets additional points if they have more than one ball closer than their opponent's closest ball.
Bumping the other scoring balls, or even the target ball, to move them is a legal play and a great way to shake up a round's status. A top-rated bocce set costs between $ and $$$, depending on the materials used to make the set.
Jumping on a trampoline is an outdoor activity that is as fun as it is healthy. Every bounce your child takes gets their heart pumping. While netting around a trampoline used to be a luxury, it is now a standard fixture on modern trampoline designs. This helps keep jumpers from bouncing off. Highly-rated trampolines cost between $ and $$$. Common variables determining price include the size and weight capacity of the trampoline.
Another backyard classic, in croquet players use large wooden mallets to strike wooden balls. Each player attempts to navigate their ball through a series of small wire gates. After clearing the final gate, a player strikes their ball against the peg to win. Quality croquet sets are available for as low as $. Astonishingly, deluxe sets can cost as much as $$$.
Physical play is an important part of a young child's development, and water tables are a great way to engage your child outdoors. Water tables can be simple designs with just a basin for water, and some flat surfaces on which to play. Others have complex designs with sandboxes and additional gadgets to play with.
They are great for families with multiple young children as kids as young as one year old enjoy them, but they remain fun for children into their early school years. A reliable water table costs between $ and $$$.
In ladder ball players attempt to toss sets of two balls attached with a string, called a bolo so that they land on a three-rung ladder. Each rung is worth a different amount of points, from one to three, though home rules often change which rung is which. Players compete in teams, with a player from each team standing behind each ladder and throwing bolos at the other ladder. Plastic ladder ball sets start at $, while more sturdy metal sets cost as much as $$$.
Laser tag is a safer alternative to paintball. In this game, players attempt to shoot infrared guns at other players. Targets, contained in sensors in the guns, or separately worn accessories which players wear receive the infrared blast. Players get eliminated after getting hit a set number of times. A laser tag set costs between $ and $$$, depending on the number and type of guns and the number of body packs included.
A popular yard and beach game, Cornhole features two angled wooden goals. Players take turns tossing bean bags at the goals, scoring three points for a shot through the hole and one point for a bag on the board. A basic cornhole set starts at $. But additional perks like special designs and higher-quality bean bags are available with prices reaching up to $$$.
Sometimes the best outdoor toys are also the simplest ones. Participation in team sports is common for young children and a backyard goal lets you bring the game home with you. Goals are available in a variety of sizes and types, with metal and PVC pipes most common. Depending on the type of goal you seek, you should expect to spend between $ and $$$ on a sports goal.
The hottest game in backyards is spikeball, and with good reason. It's fun and energizing, earning its spot as one of the best outdoor toys. A more frenetic take on volleyball, instead of having three hits to return the ball over the net, teams instead have three touches to bounce the ball back off the trampoline. Spikeball costs $ for a one-ball set and up to $$ for a three-ball set.
Made famous by Slip 'N Slides, backyard slides turn an everyday hill into hours of fun. Designs range from simple tarps to complex designs with pools and sprinkler systems. Short backyard water slides are available for as little as $, with longer slides costing up to $$$.
The Toys, Games & Stuff Choice
We have selected three of the toys above for special consideration as the best outdoor toys for kids. For young children, the water table is a must. Children develop through tactile play, and the variety of play areas will keep young children entertained for hours.
If your family has kids covering a wide range of ages, pick up a Ladder Ball set. It's easy enough for younger children to play. But with enough skill to entertain older kids and adults alike. If you're buying for an older child, they will love the challenge of Spikeball. It's an opportunity to jump and dive, and never disappoints.
The best outdoor toys will keep your kids happy. And any of these stand a great chance of doing so.