February 25, 2011

the glorious outdoors

So we live in a place where outdoor play is king. Seriously, on just about any given day of the year, we can be outside with the most fantastical weather on God's green earth. I love it. William is nearly 16 months and he's growing more and more in love with being outside every day. Yes, he has lots of balls and cars but unless you have someone to play with at this age, he's just not into it. I'd love a play house but we can't afford one nor do we really have space for one (but we are moving to a place with a backyard with grass (!) - more on that later.)
So, here's my question: What are the best outdoor toys for your kids? What's fun? Do I get a slide? A tent (oh, I'd really love a teepee)? Should I get a kiddie pool? What do your boys (and even girls) like?


  1. We have 2 little boys (6 and 3) and a 3 month old little girl. The boys LOVE their sandbox that Daddy made for them and the kiddie pool is a must in the summer. You don't need to spend a lot on either. We also have lots of dump trucks, loaders etc.

    Another thing that is fun are those mesh pop up tunnels. Our set came with a tee pee. You can put them up in minutes and then put them away after play.

    How exciting that you are moving to a place with a yard! What a blessing.

  2. A toy lawn mower - It has been such a favorite for our son.

    Don't give up hope on a play house. We found one on Craigslist that was in great condition and was a great price.

    Enjoy the sunshine.

  3. I agree with searching Craigslist- you can find stuff in great condition for a steal!

    My little guy is a little older than yours and he loves little slides, the sandbox, and his little tricycle.

    Also, I am super jealous of the gorgeous weather that allows you to play outside every day! It's snowing today in Utah and we're headed to gymnastics class- the only option for getting the wiggles out in this weather!!

  4. Go for the Little Tykes Cozy Coupe. Every kid has one and they'll use it for years and years. The possibilities are endless!

  5. My kids couldn't live without their sand box (yes, even though we LIVE in San Diego where there are beaches galore...they still never tire of digging in the sand)! I scored a sweet turtle shaped sand box with a lid at the local thrift store for $10 (it retails at Toys R Us for over $50). It's small enough that it would fit right on your balcony too until you move. :) My girls would also NEVER tire of a slide (although I have yet to buy them one...not sure why). We do have one of those Step 2 "vans/cars" that fits two kids that they can drive around (or push each other). They love that little thing as well. We have used it both indoor and outdoor.

  6. Seconding the Cozy Coupe

    and/or this: (especially if there is no paved area for the cozy coupe to ride on)
    I have never ever met a kid who was not obsessed with it. Hours of fun.

  7. I actually recommend a sprinkler-hose attachment instead of a kiddy pool. Less trouble to set up, easier to store, and he can just run through it (no possibility of drowning and less likely to slip and fall). I've tried both and the sprinkler was a much bigger hit. I was not fond of the sandbox, but that depends on your own kids--my boys throw sand so it was always a terrible mess!

    We got a play house on sale at target and it's wonderful! They never get tired of it. But a small slide/play set would be just as cool if you can get it cheaper than a house.

    For smaller toys: buckets and a big plastic bat and ball set are our favorites. But the truth is, our guys play with rocks and sticks more often than anything else.

  8. Porter loves his bike, scooter, and electric car. He also likes to play on slides and on a community car that sits in our apartment complex...He usually ends up throwing rocks and running around with the other kids.

  9. My vote is for the cozy coupe. Also, a little slide, no more than 3 or 4 steps high. He'll enjoy that for a few years. We found a plastic playhouse at Toys R Us for $50. It is pretty simple, but the kids LOVE it and it still looks good 4 years and a million "lets roll the playhouse down the hill" later. My children are 7,5,3 &1. Your son is ADORABLE. :)

  10. -balls (of course), all shapes and sizes
    -tools for digging
    -a t-ball set or golf set
    -a swing set, or at least a swing that attaches to the porch
    -any water play stuff

    I'm excited for you!

  11. A picnic table with an umbrella, a sand/water table with umbrella, and a swing.

  12. Balls of all shapes and sizes for throwing or kicking.

    Mower or bubble mower. Or bubbles!

    Kiddie pools are wonderful and seriously cheap (like $4 at Toys R Us).

    I'm a fan of anything that gets them outside, moving and is easy to store when put away. Tents and teepees bring them "indoors" and they tend to spend more time running in and out of them. The pop up tubes are fun and keep them active.

    (Can you tell I'm married to a K-12 phy.ed. teacher and personal trainer who is obsessed with youth fitness? LOL)

  13. we bought toys both kids could share. and we rotate our toys between both kids rooms, the attic, and the porch (because blocks in a bedroom are very different than blocks out on the porch you know)
    that said our favorite outdoor toys are:
    1. tire swing
    2. bubbles
    3. various balls: sizes, shapes, weight, color, textures.
    4. animal figurines
    5. teepee
    6. pets: dog and 5 chickens
    7. the garden
    8. bushes
    9. basket of monster trucks
    10. broom
    11. hose
    12. bucket with bath toys (squirt guns and floatie boats, also cups)
    13. ikea plastic rocker (like horse)
    14. big chair for sitting and relaxing
    15. bird feeder
    16. net and magnifying cup (for putting in finds)
    17. a ride on dump truck (target, like $35,
    boy liked and our girl loves)
    18. kiddie pool yes.
    19. watering can
    20. rain boots

  14. i picked up a giant yoga or exercise ball and the kids love kicking around the 'soccer' ball. sandbox, dumptrucks, mini trampoline from the exercise store, sprinklers are fun because you don't have to watch them every minute. we have a little tent from ikea that the kids love

  15. I have to agree with Kirsty about the roller coaster. We bought ours in Iowa and kept it inside our 1200 sq ft house during the winters where it was ridden ad nauseum.

    Five years later we STILL use it almost every day (outside, of course). It's tough as nails and everybody from the ages of 1-10 can't stop riding it (especially if you have a slight slope in your yard like we do).

    Best outside toy we ever spent money on.

  16. My two little ones love their $7 plastic kiddie pools with random bathtub-type toys in it. I bought an extra kiddie pool for a makeshift sandbox. This water and sand is extra fun with the dump trucks. They'll play for hours!


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