The Best Outdoor Toys for Toddlers: jungle gym, sandbox, blow-up pool?

Toddler playing at the side of a blow-up pool. Play with outdoor toys is the best.
Thanks to Ashton Bingham for sharing their work on Unsplash.

In many areas of the world today, it is impossible to use playgrounds, now that we are distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Parents are designing their outdoor activities for the back yard, balcony to alleyway beside the home. What are the best options for outdoor toys for toddlers?

Photo by Ivan Philipov from FreeImages

How Much Time?

“Toddlers and preschool children should play actively several times a day. Toddlers should get at least 60 minutes active play every day and preschoolers should have at least 120 minutes active play every day. This time should include planned, adult-led physical activity and unstructured active free play,” according to KidsHealth

You can slot in at least two 30 minutes or three 20 minutes periods of active time. Certainly, if your toddler is engaged in active play, there is no harm in extending the time. If your toddler cannot sustain 20 minutes of activity, it is helpful to have several types of play to encourage him or her to extend the time for large muscle activity. You may start with some climbing equipment, play a sport type of activity and then end with a bicycle ride.

Why Is Active Play so Important?

All parents want to raise their kids to have a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately in our modern society, there seems to be less opportunity for physical fitness. The statistics for the United States are alarming.
“Obesity prevalence was 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are concerned about the physical fitness of your child, you are taking the first step to provide them with a healthy lifestyle. It will take a few well-planned toys to stimulate their activity.

Young children do not need to exercise in a formalized environment in a gym setting as many adults do, but they need opportunities to build on strength, flexibility, and endurance. Certain types of activities promote these three areas of physical fitness. When you see children chasing each other in the playground, they are developing their endurance. Every time they bend over to pick up a ball, stone, or insect, they are increasing their flexibility. And as they climb on the jungle gym, they are exercising their strength. In the outside play environment that you set up, your child is taking the first steps to a life long healthy lifestyle.

What to Do?

There is no question in any parent’s mind that toddlers love to climb. Finding structures that are suitable for their age group is critical.

Jungle Gyms

Tikes Little Jr. Activity Jungle Gym This first jungle gym is so adaptable. Not only can your tike climb on it but with a little imagination it becomes a castle, pirate ship or a witch’s lair. Its size makes it safe to use.

Climber and Swing Set: If the swing is the thing, your toddler will love this outdoor climbing set that comes with a slide and basket ball hoops too!

Jungle Gym Playset: Perhaps throwing things is more of a favorite activity. This set comes with 50 balls for the pit. Again, the size makes this first climbing adventure safe.

Bouncy Houses

Inflatable Bouncer: If your toddler is very active, you will love this bouncy house. Allow your son or daughter to spend as much time as they want, jumping just before a quiet time such as before supper or bedtime. It will get the wiggles out.

Sensory Experiences

Take the messy play to the outdoors.

Sandy Lagoon: Fill this sensory play area with both sand and water for a beach experience. Add a large shady umbrella to protect your kids from the sun.

Art Center: Just add the materials and this area is ready for your child’s creations. If you have several kids, there is room for everyone. Keep this protected from the rain under your balcony or a tarp.

Building Blocks: These hollow plastic blocks are suitable for taking them outside. Your kids will enjoy building with them or using them in the sand and water centre.

Dramatic Play supports Socialization

Cook & Play Outdoor BBQ: The food items add to the excitement of BBQing just like mummy and daddy. This set is big enough to share with brother or sister to learn how to cooperate.

Clubhouse Tent: Provide some shade and privacy for small muscle play or reading a book in this made for your toddler sized tent. With a little imagination turn the playhouse into a castle or pirate ship.

Ride On Sand Digger: Many toddlers are enamoured with diggers. This toy version will keep your son or daughter happy for hours. You will need a sand pit to complete the set-up, to at least a corner of the garden.

Sand Box: This rounded corner sandbox has a small footprint for families that may be using a balcony or any other small space for play.

Big Muscle Activities for Physical Fitness

T-Ball Set: This is the perfect size for a toddler but it will grow with your child as the height is adjustable. Since it comes with 5 balls, that means your future star can take many swings before starting over.

Easy Hit Golf Set: Pack up all of your golf equipment in the cart to move from location to location on the golf links in your backyard or parkland setting. It can be used indoors as well for practice in putting.

Kick Croquet: Dispense with using the stick and go straight for fun. Kids will enjoy using their feet to kick the ball through the hoops to the flag at each end. You can play taking turns or it can be a free for all race. After all when you are a toddler, the score is unimportant.

Croquet Set: If your toddler has the skills to use a mallet, they can start to learn how to play croquet with this set built for their size. Move the hoops little by little into more difficult positions for more challenges.

Easy Score Basketball Set: Your toddler will play with this set day after day for years. The stand is a suitable height for a young child and can grow taller as your kids grow.

Pop Up Soccer Goals: Start your toddler off with practice in kicking the soccer ball into a goal. The games can be fun for the whole family to play.

First Foam Pogo Stick: Toddlers do not have the coordination to jump rope but they can use this first pogo stick to satisfy their need to jump. Since it is adjustable, your child will enjoy it for a long time.

Paw Patrol Hopper Ball: This is the perfect size for a toddler. It is hard to image any toddler who is not excited by the characters from Paw Patrol.

Keep Cool

Sprinkler, Slash Pad and Shallow Wading Pool: Cool off in this 3 in one pool. This version comes with letters on the bottom for some fun with learning to read.

Rainbow Arch Sprinkler: This versatile arch is a sprinkler if you hook up a hose, but it can also be inflated as a decoration for a party or used indoors for fantasy play.

Climb and Slide Trampoline: Is your toddler full of energy? Most are. Trampolines are a lot of fun for kids but they are also great energy burners. If you have a large enough space you can bring it inside for the winter.

Mobility Plus

Strider bike for 6 months to 5 years. Give your toddler a step-up in developing riding skills with this unique set up. You can start the learning early and then transition them to a full balance situation.

Velo Flippa 4 way Toddler Trike: This trike will take you from the first moments of learning to ride right through to independent striding on a 2 wheeler balance bike. It is a transformer trike-bicycle.

Junior Toddler Bike: The double back wheel eliminates the need for training wheels. The set up can be changed for a single back wheel once your child masters balancing the bike. This model has 11 options.

So now that the weather is changing, now is the time to take advantage of the great outdoors.

Combine your child’s exercise with fresh air and sunshine.

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