Our Editors’ Go-To Backyard Toys for Summer

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backyard toys
Source: @shapinup

Warm sunny afternoons beckon our kids into our backyards. After a long winter and another school year marked with uncertainties, what could be sweeter than days spent adventuring in the great outdoors?

To help inspire hours of outdoor play, we put our heads together to build a comprehensive backyard toy guide that hits every price point and interest. From items that will spark imaginative, open-ended play to a bevy of toys that promise to get them moving. Summer standards like sandboxes and water tables are included alongside some newer favorites like mud kitchens and elevated obstacle courses. This list brims with fun, creative ways to make the most of your outdoor space.

Read on for our favorite backyard toys to keep your kids entertained this summer.

the everymom minnidip pool
The Everymom x Minnidip

Minni-Minni Luxe Inflatable Pool

The pool includes a padded, inflatable bottom to keep little bums comfortable and safe.

Order yours today—inventory is very limited!


Water Table

When it comes to entertaining littles outside, you will never regret buying this staple for summer play.


Splash Pad & Sprinkler

A fresh take on the outdoor sprinkler set-up, this splash pad promises hours of summer fun.

more cute themes available

ride on car outdoor toys

Ride-On Push Car

This push-powered ride-on car features a working horn, storage under the hood for trinkets, toys, or other summer outdoor finds.

best gifts for 2 year olds

Micro Kickboard Scooter

This scooter has incredible customer reviews and is an editor favorite for its adjustable handles to grow with your child, three-wheel stability, and easy steering and braking.

many colors available


Toddler Slide

You can feel good about adding this slide to your outdoor play space; it's made using recycled plastic and can be recycled itself (or passed on to another family) once your child outgrows it!

Home Depot

Kids' Rocker & Seesaw

This kids' rocker brings playground fun to your own backyard.


Sand Digger

An extra-special touch to a sandbox, this sit-on digger tool will make your little one feel like a real construction worker.


Aqua Maze Marble Run

Just add water to this marble run for STEM learning this summer. The set includes 96 building pieces, 20 floating marbles, an inflatable plastic mat for easy clean-up, a large scoop, and a dropper.

recommended for ages 4+


Travel Corn Hole

This portable corn hole game is perfect to help your little ones practice their hand-eye coordination skills and have fun while doing it.


Gas 'n Go Mower

Not many things are cuter than your kid pushing their own lawn mower around the yard behind their parent cutting the lawn. This mower comes with turnable knobs and a gas can to "refill."

Etsy | Whiskey Rose Studio

Kids Bowling Set

Set these bowling pins up on the sidewalk or driveway for outdoor fun this summer. Plus, you can play with them in a hallway inside for year-round fun.


Adjust 'n Jam Basketball Set

This Little Tikes basketball hoop has stood the test of time with its adjustable height rim and durability (plus it's small enough to add to an indoor play space).


T-Ball Set

Your little on can learn T-ball basics like hand-eye coordination and motor skills safely with this oversized plastic bat, five balls, and tee.

outdoor toys slingshot

Wooden Toy Slingshot

We love the old-school entertainment spurred by this wooden slingshot and soft felt balls.

more color options available


Glitter Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Sidewalk chalk, but make it sparkly!

more color pairings available

outdoor toys croquet
Shop PBS

Woodland Creatures Kids Croquet Set

Get the kiddos interested in a game 200 years old—croquet! Can be used indoors, too.

outdoor toys tunnel

Indoor/Outdoor Play Tunnel

A must for outdoor obstacle courses and hours of endless play, this indoor/outdoor tunnel has great reviews and is less than $15.


Colorful Rolling Wheel

This rolling wheel offers endless play possibilities for active outdoor fun!

recommended for ages 5+


Obstacle Course

Mount this outdoor obstacle course for kids between two trees for tons of summer fun—and plenty of burned energy!

Etsy | Tiny Nest Studio

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Add a scavenger hunt to your next nature hike or backyard adventure with this printable download.

outdoor toys gardening set
Discovery Toys

Children's Gardening Set

Let your child help with the gardening this year (maybe they're in charge of weeding!). Set includes a hardy tote with a child-sized spade, fork, rake, and real metal watering can.


Collapsible Buckets

For easy storage and use, you can cart these collapsible buckets to the park, the beach, or the backyard.


Marshmallow Roasting Sticks

S'mores and summer just go together and these color-coded roasters extend to 32 inches for a safe (supervised) distance between little ones and the campfire.

Etsy | Sweet Swinging

Fabric Baby & Toddler Swing

This swing is so beautiful, you won't mind mounting it inside after summer for year-round fun.


KidKraft Playhouse

A reader and editor favorite, this playhouse is primed for imaginative play.

covered sandbox

Outdoor Summer Sandbox

You won't mind having this adorable sandbox in your backyard with a scalloped canopy for shaded play all summer long.

outdoor toys mud kitchen

Mud Kitchen

Give kids a spot you won't mind getting messy with this mud kitchen with wet and dry activity areas; includes removable splash sink, chalkboard, and cupboard "oven" as well as complete with a starter set of stainless steel pots and pans with a mixing whisk.


Bounce House

Bounce houses saved many-a-parent's sanity during the past few years by promoting tons of active energy-burning playtime.


Regatta Ship Swing

What kid wouldn't love this Peter Pan-inspired "flying" ship swing? Fun and imaginative play is calling with this one!

fiat push car

Fiat Push Car

Your little one will be riding in style with this Fiat push car. Doors open and close, steering wheel plays music, and LED headlights make for perfect evening strolls with your little speed racer.

also available in pink


This article was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated for timeliness. 

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