11 Best Outdoor Toys To Brighten Your Child's Summer
One of the first studies to ever comprehensively take on the question of reduced time spent outdoors by children found that 12% of all kids living in England (amounting to approximately 1.3 million under 16s) hadn't visited a 'natural environment' in the preceding 12 months.
To say these figures are worrying would be an understatement; children who don't play outside are being starved of essential vitamin D which the skin can only produce when exposed to sunlight.
Many parents worry that their kids are sat in front of a screen far too much and would like to encourage them to go outside and play more. This is easy enough to do - if you make the outdoors fun!
As ever, the OnBuy team has got your back: we've put together a list of the best outdoor toys you can buy in order to incentivise your kids to play outside this summer. These top summer toys will allow your child to develop an appreciation for the natural world around them and establish a healthy life-long habit of spending time outdoors.
Whether your kids already have a developed appreciation of nature or not, these toys will motivate both you and them to get outside more.
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Best Outdoor Toys To Buy This Summer:
1. Toy Vehicles
Not just for boys, toy vehicles are one of the best outdoor toys which both genders can enjoy.
If you live next to a body of water, you could opt for an RC aquatic vehicle such as the Mini Remote Control Atlantic Racing Yacht or the R.C Mini Sub Palm Submarine. Most kids will love controlling these and will soon be begging you to go outside for a play session.
Even if you don't have access to a water source, buying your child a remote controlled vehicle such as the 6 Channel 1:18 Die Cast RC Bulldozer will make him want to visit the park sandbox more often. These RC toys are great fun, even for adults. They work much like the real thing and kids can use them to set up their own mini-construction site, perhaps with a little help from friends as well.
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2. Ride-On Toys
Ride-on toys - need we say more? Even though we probably don't, we still will.
These are an all-time favourite amongst little ones, and they've been around for ages. They give your children a bit of independence to roam around the park or any other outdoor location you choose to go to.
The Homcom Pedal Go-Kart is an immensely fun way for kids to explore their outside surroundings while also getting some exercise in; both fun and healthy, what more could you ask for?
If you're fine with splashing a bit more cash on a ride-on, you can opt for the Kids Ride On Quad Bike Pro Raptor Style Toy ATV Car or something similar. Perfect for children who are passionate about cars, ATVs allow them to cover even more ground and explore their natural surroundings.
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3. Building and Construction Toys
Toys that your children can build will keep them still for a while and provide them with an outlet to spend their energy.
LEGO, such as this Island Adventures set, is a sure hit with most kids! The great thing about this particular one is that the pieces can be used to make three different aquatic-themed objects: an island hut, a speedboat, or a twin-engine sea plane. Your little ones can just put together one of the other models when they grow bored with the one they've been playing with.
Choosing something summer-themed such as the PLAYMOBIL Summer Camper might be a good idea. Young ones can assemble their toy while you set up the cookout and then play pretend picnic while your entire family enjoys a meal outside on the grass.
4. Sports Toys
Often the best outdoor toys are the simplest ones. Sport-themed toys such as a football or basketball are an excellent way to encourage your child to be active outside. These work particularly well if you've got a few other kids that your little one can socialise with.
The Bigjigs Toys Wooden Farm Skittles are perfect for younger children who aren't quite coordinated enough to play any other sports, but will still have a ton of fun outside trying to strike all of the farm-themed skittles.
Kites are definitely some of the best summer toys you can get for your kids; we're sure some of you will end up loving kite flying at least as much as your little ones do. It's quite a relaxing pastime for kids and adults alike, meaning it'll make for an enjoyable bonding experience between you and your son or daughter. And the best part is you'll both be out in the warm summer air, soaking up all that beneficial vitamin D.
This X-Kites Star Wars Deluxe Millennium Falcon kite is sure to be a hit with young fans of the movie franchise.
6. Playhouses and Play Tents
Buying a playhouse or play tent will provide your children with a nice little shaded oasis, allowing them to spend even more time outside without having to worry about overexposure.
If you've got a private outdoor space, we suggest buying a playhouse such as the AXI Wooden Children's Playhouse. This beautifully crafted playhouse boasts a small porch, a rung ladder and a wave slide. Granted, a playhouse might be a big investment, but it will deliver many summers of endless outdoor fun for your kids!
For those of us not lucky enough to have our own outdoor area, a tent will do nicely. It's much lighter, and you can take it with you to the park on weekends. Your little one will have a place to go when they want a break from the sun's UV rays; the tent can also house their toys and any spare clothes you might want to bring with you. A tent such as the SUNNY Teepee Tent Lumo will have your kid requesting more and more long trips to the park.
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7. Target Games
The next entry on our best outdoor toys list for this summer is target games. These are a great way to get your child outside and on the move. Throwing objects at a target and then going to pick them up is an excellent way for your kid to get some aerobic as well as cardio exercise in - all while enjoying the fresh outdoor air!
This Crazy Can Alley Fairground Target Game provides all of the benefits mentioned above. Moreover, because the cans are numbered, it can also be used to teach young ones how to count.
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8. Lawn Games
Lawn games are great outdoor toys. As their name suggests, they're designed for use on your lawn. Of course, if you don't have a front lawn or back garden, you can always set them up in the park and watch your son or daughter and their friends enjoy their time in the sun.
The Ouaps 64002 Hoopla set is a fun little game which most kids will enjoy. If you want to go all out though, you could buy a bunch of NERF guns and ammo and set up a game for your children and their friends.
Equipping your son or daughter with the automatic 15-dart NERF N-Strike Elite Surgefire and everyone else with single fire 4-dart NERF Doomlands Persuader Blasters will ensure your kids have loads of fun!
9. Trampolines and Bouncy Toys
Trampolines and bouncy toys such as the Homcom Bounce House Inflatable Kids' Jumper Bouncy Castle are perfect for both garden and park play. Even if you don't have a garden to set them up in, you can buy a pump and set a bouncy toy up at the park. Your kids will love bouncing up and down, getting some cardio in while enjoying the fresh summer air.
Bouncy castles are also a great way to attract other kids and for your child to socialise and make new friends. Your kid will be the star of the park - the king of the castle, if you will.
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10. Educational Toys and Games
Next up on our best summer toys list are educational toys and games. Playing these outside in the garden or in the park will provide the added benefit of teaching your child valuable information about the world around them.
Toys and games which have a nature theme will obviously work well. These Creative Educational Discover Birds Flash Cards are ideal for taking your kids bird watching and helping them identify different types of birds.
If you're dealing with particularly torrid summer days, you could always pick up a telescope and go stargazing during the evenings. The National Geographic Series AZ Telescope is powerful enough to get a good shot of our moon and most of the planets; it's a great way of introducing your child to the mysteries of the universe (or at least the mysteries of our solar system).
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11. Sand and Water Toys
You don't need to live close to the beach in order to enjoy the summer sun and water combo. If you don't have a beach nearby, you can bring the fun to your own back garden or balcony with these great outdoor toys.
Inflatable pools and sand and water tables are a terrific way of getting your children excited about playing outside. Splashing around in the water while building sandcastles - ahh, what could be better?
If you've got a garden or large balcony, the Blue Bestway Kids' Play Pool will provide plenty of space for your child and their friends to enjoy on a hot summer day.
Alternatively, for those who don't have that much space to work with, the Intex Play Box Pool doesn't take up as much room; your kids are still guaranteed to love it though!
As far as the sand element goes, you've got a few options.
The Pirate Ship Sand and Water Table will definitely be a hit with the little ones. Kids will be able to build pirate-themed sand structures using the anchor and skull and crossbones sand moulds, as well as the easy grip shovel.
If you've got a garden, you can install the Step2 Play and Store Sandbox. It can hold up to 90kg of sand, enough for even the most industrious of builders.
Remember to use plenty of sunscreen so that your children are well protected from the sun's rays, especially if your play sessions take place around noon as this is when the sun is at its peak strength. Furthermore, head protection (headscarves, hats etc.) should always be worn when out in the sun.
If you're interested in learning more about sedentary behaviour among today's children, check out our blog post analysing the plummeting activity levels among British kids. Also, if you ever want some peace and quiet, read through our guide on how to keep your children occupied during the summer holidays.