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The first day of spring arrives on March 20 (yay!) and that means more sunlight and longer days for children to play outdoors.
And we all know that’s the most beneficial environment for kids to play. According to Harvard University, getting outside helps produce vitamin D (which makes bones grow strong), offers additional opportunities and variation for body movement, and is an inventive avenue to learn how to take safe risks, socialize, and get into nature, which beats stress and nurtures that little explorer instinct.
But you don’t need to put too much thought into how to keep kids entertained outside — we’ve done the hard part, researching and selecting the most interactive, engaging, and age-appropriate toys on the market right now that best serve outdoor play as we head into spring and even summer. STEM kits like this water rocket will satisfy children’s interests from crafts to science and space, and those with green thumbs and a healthy belief in magic will love this unicorn garden. And children wanting to push the boundaries of bedtime and expend their energy won’t turn down a glow-in-the-dark backyard sword fight.
The best news (in our parenting book): None of the toys we’ve included in our list exceed $50 — plus, you can score some on sale — so you can feel really good about the value you and your child are getting. So get started and browse this awesome outdoor toy selection that lets your family enjoy the beauty of nature for as long as possible.
Growsland Splash Pad
Want the thrill of a splash pad but without the inconvenience of traveling to a local park? The 67-inch Growsland Splash Pad, which is hooked to a garden hose, can be set up in the privacy of your backyard during warm afternoons when your kids need cooling off. It’s big enough to fit anywhere from two to three children and parents can adjust the water height to accomodate kids up to age eight.
Glow In The Dark Rock Painting Kit
Send your kids on an outdoor adventure by collecting rocks outside, giving them a glow-in-the-dark makeover, then distributing them throughout the neighborhood for others to discover. The activity is a great way for kids to explore their surroundings and make them even prettier.
The kit comes with gloves, disposable cups, a table cover, and an apron for mess-free fun, plus white, red, yellow, and blue paint colors that are weather resistant. The kit is also available in holiday, hydro dip, paint pour, and original versions.
Portable Swing Set
You don’t need an expensive backyard play structure to give your kids a legit playground experience. This DIY Jungle Gym Kingdom Swing Set can be fastened to a tree or a porch and can hold up to 300 pounds of weight. The product is fully assembled however the hangers are sold separately.
Water Rocket Kit
Launch a water bottle 90 feet into the air with this simple rocket kit.Just fill the bottle with water and hook it to a bicycle pump (not included) along with the packaged accessories. Then watch it fly to the skies.
Create Your Own Unicorn Garden Kit
What’s better than a miniature garden? One fit for a unicorn! The Create Your Own Unicorn Garden Kit lets kids create a magical outdoor home for the mythical beasts and comes with butterfly, mushroom, and castle figurines, plus a planter (although soil and plants are not included). The set, which is recommended for kids ages eight and up, is also available in gnome or fairy themes.
Fixin’ Fun Outdoor Grill
Keep your kids (ages 3 and up) occupied during summer BBQs with the Fixin’ Fun Outdoor Grill. The toy set comes with a lid which lifts up and down, clickable knobs to “adjust” the temperature, a sink to rinse tools, and an oven. And no grill would be complete without food! Hot dogs with buns and condiments like ketchup and mustard are included. Yummy!
Outdoor Bean Bag Can Toss Game
Ready for a little friendly competition? The Hey! Play! Outdoor Bean Bag Can Toss Game will liven up any outdoor gathering or playdate. Stack the 10 numbered tin cans and throw the bean bags (three are included in the game) at the display to knock them down.
Got a future MLB star on your hands? The Little Tikes T-Ball Set is the perfect practice tool. Suitable for kids between the ages of one and six, the set can be adjusted for different heights and there’s storage space for five plastic balls and a plastic bat.
Glow Battle is the ideal after-dinner outdoor activity that lets kids between the ages of eight and 12 blow off residual energy from their day. Players can engage in a two-person or four-person battle using glow-in-the-dark foam swords in pink and green.
Ride-On Crane Digger
A Ride-On Crane Digger will inspire kids to explore the earth and its buried treasures and we love the model from Svan because it can be used all year round in snow, sand, or dirt. The stabilizing base and 360 degree rotation will help prevent kids from falling off and at 8.6 pounds, you can easily transport it from your backyard to the playground.
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