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25 Best Outdoor Toys for Kids, According to Experts

Two words: rocket launcher.

outdoor toys for kids
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We updated this article in April 2022 to add more information about the extensive testing done by the Good Housekeeping Institute. Our original top-rated picks, selected by the GH Institute Parenting Lab, remain the same, but we've included an additional 10 picks for your consideration.


Convincing kids to ditch their screens for the great outdoors is no easy task. But thanks to our list of the best outdoor toys, hand-picked by the Good Housekeeping Institute Media & Tech Lab, your little ones won't even want to watch Paw Patrol. (Ryder who?) These toys can withstand being left in the backyard, are tons of fun for kids and are easy for parents to set up and supervise.

But which one to choose? If you're creative enough, you can take any kid's favorite indoor activity and move it to the backyard. Are they artsy? Give them a sidewalk-chalk upgrade that'll keep them drawing for hours (and keep their fingers clean too). Into STEM? Try out a stomp rocket, and see if you can find the variables that make it fly higher and higher — or test out what makes a solar-powered car go faster or slower. What about tiny athletes? Try a glow-in-the-dark football and keep playing past dusk. And when your learning activities are done, be sure to stock up on the usual summertime staples, like bubbles, scooters and kiddie pools, which they'll keep returning to year after year. With our best outdoor toys of 2022, you can just slather the kids in sunscreen and keep them in the backyard all day.

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Stand-Up Sidewalk Chalk Holder
Walkie Chalk
Walkie Chalk

Invented by parents, this sidewalk chalk holder means you no longer have to bend down to draw your next game of hopscotch. Genius!

Best for: ages 3+

Best Inexpensive Summer Toy
Nabi Compete
Nabi
Nabi

The Nabi Compete introduces kids to the idea of fitness trackers. They can challenge each other to walk equivalent distances of the path around famous landmarks (like the Brooklyn Bridge in New York or the National Mall in D.C.), or see how quickly they can burn off the calories in a slice of pizza.

Best for: ages 6+

RELATED: Backyard Games for Kids That Will Get the Whole Family Up and Moving

Best NERF Gun
Fortnite HC-E Mega Dart Blaster
Nerf
NERF
Now 16% off

Take the fun of Fortnite off of screens and into the backyard with this powerful Nerf dart blaster, which is designed to look like the weapons in the game. The blaster comes with three darts.

Best for: ages 8+

Best Bubble Toy
Gazillion Bubbles Incredibubble Wand
Gazillion
Gazillion

This easy-to-use wand creates big bubbles that don't pop right away. It comes with 16 ounces of solution that'll keep kids busy for up to two hours of constant play.

Best for: ages 3+

RELATED: Fun Lawn Games for Some Serious Backyard Competition

Best Stomp Rocket
Stomp Rocket Ultra Rocket
Stomp Rocket
Stomp Rocket

With this game, kids "stomp" on the included pump to send rockets flying up to 20 stories high. Setup is super fast and easy, so you can start having fun right away.

Best for: ages 6+

Sunny Patch Pretty Petals Sprinkler Toy
Melissa & Doug
Melissa & Doug
Now 47% off

How does your garden grow? With lots of water, of course! For families that don't have a lot of space to set up a kiddie pool, this is a smaller (and less expensive!) way to cool off in the backyard.

Best for: ages 3+

Best STEM Toy
GeoSafari Solar Rover
Educational Insights
Educational Insights

With this solar-powered car, kids can create a shadow to turn the vehicle around or stop it completely. Then, they've gotta move out of the way to gain more power from the sun.

Best for: ages 8+

Rainbow Arch Spray Pool
Intex
Intex
Now 60% off

Cool off in the backyard with an inflatable pool that, if you hook it up to a garden hose, is also a sprinkler. The rainbow arch also provides some shade.

Best for: ages 2+ with adult supervision

Grogru Bubble Machine
Disney Star Wars
Star Wars

Snag this out-of-this-world bubble machine that features a baby Grogru in his carrier. Blow an endless stream of non-toxic bubbles, no hard-work required! This machine is great for Star Wars fans of all ages.

Best for: ages 3+

Glow in the Dark NightBall
Tangle
Tangle

Get the teams in a huddle for a game — at night! This football glows using LEDs, giving new meaning to "Friday Night Lights."

Best for: ages 3+

Flickin’ Chicken
University Games
University Games
Now 36% off

Move over, cornhole and horseshoes! The Flickin' Chicken game is the best precision-tossing game for kids, because throwing a rubber chicken is just hilarious.

Best for: ages 6+

Wooden Indoor/Outdoor Fishing Duel Set
T.S. Shure
TS Shure

With two wooden rods and 25 magnetic fish, this kit has all the fun of fishing, without the mess. Everything zips up into the included travel case, so it's easy to bring along when heading to the park.

Best for: ages 5+

Fun Zone Fountain Factory Water Table
Little Tikes
Little Tikes

Kids will flock to this water table once it's set up in the backyard. They can switch around the pipes and fittings for STEM know-how, and there's an easy draining plug so it won't make a mess.

Best for: ages 3+

Popdarts
PopDarts
Popdarts

Try your hand at hitting the bull's-eye with this family-friendly set of Popdarts, great for outdoor or indoor play. No need to worry about avoiding the pointy end as these darts use suction cups on either end to stick to their target. Players aim to hit closest to the target marker and first to 21 points wins.

Best for: ages 3+

GHI Winner
Mega Grave Digger RC
Monster Jam
Monster Jam

This remote-controlled monster truck won a 2019 Good Housekeeping Toy Award for its ability to roll over a variety of obstacles put in its path. We also love that it's surprisingly light, which is good if one of those obstacles turns out to be a foot.

Best for: ages 4+

Gus Climb-N-Crawl Caterpillar
ECR4Kids
ECR4Kids

Get those little bodies moving! Kids can crawl through the caterpillar tunnel, climb on top of it and peer through the different windows. You can configure the segments in different ways to keep things interesting.

Best for: ages 3+

Bubble Mower
Fisher-Price
Fisher-Price

This bubble mower promises hours of creative play. With a pretend motor that visibly spins and makes realistic sounds, this multi-functional toy is more than just a bubble machine. We love that it helps with gross motor coordination.

Best for: ages 2+

RELATED: The Best Bubble Machines to Keep the Kids Happy All Summer

GHI Winner
Ocean and Sand Sensory Bin
Creativity for Kids
Creativity for Kids
Now 28% off

This adorable sensory bin won a 2021 Good Housekeeping Toy Award because reviewers loved its easy setup and cleanup. Not only does it take the DIY aspect out of creating a sensory bin, but it comes with sand, water beads, sand toys, river rocks and even plastic animals to ensure your child will never get bored.

Best for: ages 3+

Backyard Bouncer JR
Radio Flyer
Radio Flyer

Bring the carnival to your own backyard when you take home this backyard bounce house. It inflates easily and quickly for a fun outdoor activity. While we enjoyed the unlimited fun this product offers, we advise parents to keep an eye on their kids at all times while bouncing and to adhere to manufacturer instructions.

Best for: ages 2 to 8

Create Your Own Garden Stones
Creative Roots
Creative Roots
Now 47% off

Perfect for little artists, this kit includes three different ready-to-paint stepping stones, 10 paint colors and instructions on how to mix colors to create different shades. Not only do reviewers love how creative this kit is, but kids will have a beautiful item to display afterward!

Best for: ages 5+

Hideout Hollow Toddler Climber
KidKraft
KidKraft

This mini jungle gym is great for both outdoor and indoor play and is perfectly sized for tiny toddler hands. It features a variety of fun tasks that help improve kids' gross motor skills, muscle development and coordination, so reviewers like that this climber is as beneficial as it is fun.

Best for: ages 18 months to 3 years

T-Ball Set
Little Tikes
Little Tikes

Do you have the next baseball star in your family? This T-ball set is great for teaching little ones about America's Pastime. With an adjustable tee that grows with your child, five plastic balls so you don't have to worry if one gets lost and an oversized bat, it's designed to let your little sports fan play to their heart's content.

Best for: ages 18 months+

GHI Winner
RV Camper Set
Green Toys
Green Toys
Now 31% off

Take an exciting trip with this colorful RV camper set that includes a camper van, pick-up truck and boat, alongside some additional fun accessories. This camper set won a 2021 Good Housekeeping Toy Award for its dedication to sustainability and its well-constructed pieces that require no assembly.

Best for: ages 2+

Clicker Crab Toss and Grip Game
Melissa & Doug
Melissa & Doug
Now 24% off

Pick up this two-person game that's great for encouraging hand-eye coordination and early motor skills. It's also the perfect size for packing in a bag and taking with you to the beach or park while on vacation.

Best for: ages 3+

RELATED: 20 Best Beach Games for Adults and Kids of All Ages

Best Ride-on
Whisper Ride II Push Car
Step2
Step2
Now 22% off

Zoom around the neighborhood in style in this bright blue ride-on. Not only does it look pretty snazzy, but it features a working horn, safety belt and cup holders for both kids and parents. Rev those engines!

Best for: ages 1.5+

RELATED: 10 Best Ride-On Toys, According to Toy Experts

What to look for in outdoor toys for kids
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When it's finally warm enough for kids to go enjoy themselves in the great outdoors, you're going to want to supply them with hours of play. Here are a few things to consider before you add toys to your cart:

✔️Age range and safety: Keep an eye out for the recommended age range for each toy. Using toys within the proper age range mean that they're safer, more suitable and offer the right amount of challenge for each kid. And always keep an eye on your kids when they're playing outside!

✔️Space: If you have a large backyard, you can opt for something like a fun climber or playhouse. For those with smaller outdoor spaces, sensory bins and thoughtful art projects will be your best bets.

✔️Materials: These toys will likely be thrown around, left out in the sun, rained on and dropped in the dirt. Make sure the materials that make up each toy are sturdy enough to withstand the elements.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?
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The Good Housekeeping Institute provides expert reviews and advice on everything parents and children love, including strollers and funny jokes. As the Senior Parenting & Relationships Editor, Marisa LaScala covers everything from toys to kids' TV shows.

In her role as Parenting & Pets Reviews Analyst, Jamie Spain brings years of experience to the GH Institute, having reviewed products for Good Housekeeping and BuzzFeed. She previously covered parenting and pets for People.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
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