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Sure the playground is fun but the world that is a toddler’s backyard can be a blast as well! As a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom of two kids, we spent A LOT of time entertaining ourselves in our backyard all spring, summer and fall. Check out these 8 backyard must haves for toddlers that don’t cost a lot and can be used through many seasons for man years!
It’s officially summer but we’ve been enjoying the beautiful outdoor weather for a few weeks now! Besides visiting the nearby park, we’ve also enjoyed plenty of time in our beautiful backyard space. Here’s a quick list of what I’d consider must haves for fun summer toys for a toddler so you can stock your backyard!
- Water Table – We started using our Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table when my oldest was just under a year old. She could stand at it and splash til her hearts content. We went onto use this table for another 3 years for outdoor play! Pair the table with a few lightweight balls, assorted cups and sifters and you’re on the way to a fun activity to last a while! UPDATE: If you follow me on instagram, you’ll see we recently got this new Step 2 Water Table and both my girls are having a blast making it rain! I still highly recommend the other model, just don’t leave it out in winter as ours collected water, froze and cracked!
- Sandbox – No matter where you live a sandbox is great for toddlers! You can hide things inside the sand, build stuff with it or just sift. 2 tips for you with sandbox play. #1 Get one with a lid to help keep out the elements and the neighborhood cats thinking it’s a huge litter box! #2 Do a little research about sand and what type you want to include in your sandbox. Our sand is SUPER fine and not good for building, which is fine now for her younger age in which she just digs, sifts and hides things but older children might be disappointed that it’s not actually play sand which allows for sandcastle sculptures. (UPDATE: Check out 3 outdoor activities to do in summer, including some sand box play!)
- Watering Can – This seems like such a small and simple toy but can bring endless entertainment to a toddler. Add it to the water table for a new sprinkling sensation or encourage filling it up and watering the plants around the yard. Regardless it’s simple enough for a toddler to use and cheap enough to pick up at any big box, dollar or grocery store.
- Sprinkler – We love our Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Blossom Bright Sprinkler as it doesn’t do any crazy movement but is loads of fun. Turn the water on higher or lower for a bigger or smaller stream. Set it up near the water table and have the water go into the table for an added element. Tip: Keep water shoes on during sprinkler play to give a better grip in the wet grass. (Those looking for a more boy or gender neutral sprinkler will want to check out their Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Grub Scouts Sprinkler, which I bought for my nephew’s first birthday a few years back).
- Bubble Mower – Brielle got this Fisher-Price Bubble Mower for Christmas and enjoyed it’s bubble-less life for months before we were able to take it outside. She still loves to push it, bubbles or not, but these special additions make it for an extra fun day! I especially love when she pushes it around as daddy is mowing the lawn with his big boy mower. It’s so cute to see them side by side by side :)
- Sidewalk Chalk – As long as you have some sort of hard surface on your property, you should pick up a pack of sidewalk chalk. Stone tiles, decks, garages, and fences are all great surfaces for creative art time that simply washes away with a hose or rain water. Tip: get a new Tupperware container to store the chalk. It’s nearly impossible for an adult, let alone a toddler, to get the pieces back in properly so just give in and buy a new container for easier storage.
- Wagon – We LOVE our Step2 Wagon for Two Plus since there are two seats with seatbelts (which Toddlers love to buckle), a door for easy entry, an area for drinks, and a flip up storage area (since toddlers also love to put things inside other things). And YES it does comfortably fit in two toddlers, as shown in this example of the above photo 2 years later with a younger sister in tow!
- Picnic Table – We LOVE our Lifetime Kid’s Picnic Table and I consider this a big backyard must have! This able comfortably fits up to four kids, folds flat for easy storage in the off season and is very easy to clean up spills! We use it to eat at, play at, craft at, oh and shuck corn at, and have done so for 4 years now!
Tip: Whenever planning outdoor playtime, don’t forget the sunscreen!
Looking for more favorite toy suggestions for toddlers, then check out this follow up post!