Outside Toys for Toddlers

Updated on March 29, 2011
L.H. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
14 answers

Hi Mom's Spring is on its way, I think, it's actually snowing today :( but it can't last forever! So I am gearing up for the summer and want to get some fun outdoor play things for my 2 year old. We have a huge back yard, and while we go to the park a lot when it's warm, I also want him to make our yard more fun! We already have a little swimming pool, and he got a little electric 4 wheeler for christmas he can ride around outside. But I would also like to get him a slide (I've been looking at the Step 2 folding slides) and maybe a sand and or water table.

So my question is, what are some of the outdoor activities/toys you have bought that you love, and are worth the money (because they are expensive) I am thinking a full blown swingset might be something better to wait until next summer when he is a little bigger. But I like the idea of the climber/slide combos possibly. Any suggestions?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from New York on

Buckets and shovels are great. I always got the metal $1 hand shovels because they lasted longer than the plastic ones and could be used for a little gardening. My kids loved planting sugar snap peas when they were little and then spent time watering them and picking.

My son loved his little plastic lawn mower when he was a little guy. We also had a chalkboard outside since we didn't have a paved driveway. A friend of mine used chalkboard paint on a sheet of plywood and the kids use to have a blast doodling all over it and then using the hose to clean it off and start over again.

More Answers



answers from Chattanooga on

Our favorite outdoor toy growing up was the big blocks. My dad cut 2x4s into little rectangles, and we were only allowed to play with them outside. We had enough that we could make outlines of houses, build forts, houses, and furniture for our dolls, all sorts of things. Really cheap and easy to replace too!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

they dont have to be expensive. my 19mnth olds fav outdoor toy is a huge playball that is almost bigger than him

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Bubbles and sidewalk chalk are our faves! :)

The sand box is a lot of fun too. My children also love to work in our vegetable garden. Our two year old and the neighbor's toddler love their bikes (they each have a big wheel type bike).

We have not invested in a swing set. We know many people who have one and after the novelty wears off it doesn't get used too much. Plus we live in Texas and those suckers get HOT. Instead we visit the local parks during the morning time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I like the sand and water tables are fun. But if you are going to get a sand box, make sure to have a lid on it so the neighborhood kitties dont use it for a potty box. Never a good thing. What about a bounce house? Those are always fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We also have tons of play balls--different sizes. I bought a used toddler climber with a slide off Craigslist and will probably be looking for a bigger one this year when we decide if we will move or not. My older kids scrubbed it really well and we hose it off in the Spring. My daughter loves chalk and bubbles even though last year she did not quite "get it" for blowing them. A toddler sized bat and ball or even one of those little golf play kits are also great. We keep all the outside stuff in a box on our backporch so it can easily be taken out but does not crowd the house.



answers from Oklahoma City on

A folding 2 step slide is a bit young for him, he'll be bored with it before a day is out. Spend the money on something a bit bigger and more complex. The Step2 website has lots of options but they are very expensive. We got a Kangaroo Climber at Sears, very similar to the Koala Climber, that we kept in the house and it was used every day all day. It is still small for outdoors though. Step 2 stuff ages in weather and is crumbling within a few years.

I think for the money something like the wooden playsets from a hardware store would be a better choice. It will grow with him. We have one in our yard and it's a hand me down hand me down. We are the 3rd family to use it. You don't have to buy all the sections at once but you could get the swing part with a toddler swing and maybe a seat type swing where 2 people can sit facing each other. Then as your family grows you'll already have outdoor equipment that is able to grow and adjust to their needs. Instead of buying new stuff each time they outgrow the small toddler stuff. Wood stuff just has to be resealed/stained every 5 years or so.

Buying a swingset at Walmart is perhaps not very economical. They tend to be lightweight and blow over in the wind and they bend with older kids. My friend has one and it lasted all of one Summer.

Here's a link to the stuff I was mentioning.

I bought the water table from Walmart for my child care center and it leaked all over the carpet. It was great fun but I wanted it for indoor play. It would be great for outdoors. Toddlers can fall over in ot it and drown so be right there with them when it's open and water is in it.


answers from Salt Lake City on

We have a small slide/climber thing. I believe it is a Step 2 and we bought it for $35 at a garage sale. It is a square, with 4 little "ladder like" steps that go up to a platform with sides. The ladder is on one side & the slide is on the other. You can climb up either side & squeeze under the sides. There is also a doorway and a little "hideout" underneath. We got it for my daughter's 2nd birthday.

My kids have always loved the little lawn mower & wheel barrow. We got our lawn mower & wheel barrow at Deseret Industries for $1 each. We also have a homemade sandbox. I got a large underbed storage container (with a lid) and 2 bags of sand from Home Depot. It is on the small size as far as sandboxes go, but I can drag it to the front yard if I'm working in the flower beds and the kids can play right by me. I'm into the whole thing for less than $10! We also got it for my daughter's 2nd birthday. She'll be 6 next month & still loves to play with it (now she's too big to fit inside, she & her brother (2) sit next to it). I have a friend that bought 2 hard sided swimming pools. One a bit bigger than the other. In the smaller one, she put the sand. Then, she used the larger one as a cover & a pool. When they wanted to use the pool, she'd take the "cover" off & fill it up. When they were done, she'd dump the water out & cover the sandbox with it. She put a couple of pieces of 2x4 across it to keep the wind from blowing it off.

We play A LOT with sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and balls. Hoola Hoops are fun too. We have done "obstacle courses" with them. My kids like to jump through them, try to throw a ball into the circle, and jump in and out of them.

If you have a large tree, you can go get one of those baby/toddler swings and hang it from the tree.

My kids have also loved riding their trikes/bikes. They're hand-me-downs or bought from KSL classifieds ($15 or less). Good luck & have fun! This is the best age for exploring and having fun outside! (It only gets better as they get older too!)

Enjoy the spring & summer with your little guy!




answers from Great Falls on

I have the step 2 folding slide and it has lasted 2 summers so far! It is very sturdy and will not tip. It is high enough for it to be fun but not so high that you go into cardiac arrest when you spot your toddler on his own at the top :)
I also have a great snadbox (I believe its step 2 also) it is the one with the attached table andbench seat and comes with an umbrella which is nice and also a lid. I got it from toys r us and it was reasonable especially as you get a table too! We like to have picnics out there for lunch and my 2 kids love it! I am holding off on the big playset for another year as I think they can be quite high and frustrating for the toddler if he isn't allowed to climb all over it. Have a fun summer!



answers from Philadelphia on

Climber/slides are the best, especially at age 2. Yes, wait on the swing set. If your yard is fenced a big bouncing ball is fun. A sprinkler too on low. Buckets to play with the water. A bubble blowing machine is great! They run between $10-14, and then a big jug of bubbles for a few dollars and you can have a long time enjoying that. Balls are just fun. Another fun thing is a "clubhouse" where they can go in and hide and play house. Bubble lawn mowers are fun, or any kind of lawn mower for outside. A sturdy push cart since kids love to pile stuff in carts and push them around. A small basketball hoop. A t-ball stand set. Golf set. Music is fun outside too.

Your best bet is to check Craigslist and area Yahoo groups that do online yard sales and stuff. You can get good used items for cheap. This is how we've always done it!

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets


answers from Dayton on

We have the Step 2 sand/water table. Got it when DD was 1.5. Well worth the investment. She loves it!



answers from Boston on

Any thing that is all plastic I look for on craigslist or at tagsales little tykes and step 2 last forever. Ours climber/slide was a freebie and is 12 years old it's faded but otherwise fine. If you lived out here I'd say come get it.

My boys favorite outside toys are/were a large tonka dump truck, water guns, a cozy coupe, and a wagon.



answers from Milwaukee on

I had an outdoor plastic climber for my kiddo. It had a tube and two slides and a little house. It's from either Step 2 or Little Tykes. I picked it up used on craiglist for $250 and 2yrs later sold it for $175 so it really keeps it's value! Plus, she loved it. I had this when she was 2yrs old, so yours is the perfect for one too.


answers from Dallas on

A climber slide is great! I have one for my 3 year old. It has a playhouse, climbing wall, slide and landing. I got it on Craigslist.
She has also been enjoying the sandbox for 2 years now. Big hit! I got ours on Craigslist for $10.
Cozy Coupe, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, balls, and a playhouse are all good ideas too.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions