Outdoor Play: Your Key to the Most Fun Summer Ever!
Summer is a magical time of year when our children have a chance to unlock all of nature’s treasures. We all remember simpler times when summers were about spending time outside with family and neighbors. Somewhere along the way, kids went from running around chasing butterflies and playing pretend firefighter with the garden hose to binge-watching cartoons and playing games on tablet devices.
This year, we’re taking back summer and leveling up your outdoor play with our editor’s picks of favorite outdoor toys and activities. These toys are sure to get your kids excited to be outside and enjoy physical activity, which studies show helps improve cognitive function, develop coordination, build confidence and social skills.
You may be reading this and thinking, “Well, my kid just doesn’t like being outside or getting dirty.” We hear you loud and clear. For some children, the sensory experience of being outdoors may be difficult. They’ll either be under-responsive to conditions outdoors and may need extra convincing or may be sensitive to the summer heat and getting dirty and want to avoid it altogether. In our experience, it may be best to start with small activities that then build up their tolerance for various outdoor play experiences.
Here are our favorite outdoor play ideas for this summer.
Top Toys for Outdoor Play: Let’s Explore Play Sets
Our Let’s Explore™ line of toys focuses on creating activities that connect kids (ages 3+) with the natural world through imaginative play.
Nothing screams summer more than s’mores by the campfire. The Let’s Explore Campfire S’Mores Play Set comes with 23 pieces that will have your kid feeling like they’re camping in the wilderness (even if they’re just in the backyard!) Saw the four-piece log, add the logs and flames to the fire pit play mat, then follow the illustrated activity card to make your delectable imaginative s’mores.
Now, your child can enjoy the wonders of fishing from just about anywhere! Our Let’s Explore Fishing Play Set comes with two wooden fishing rods, pretend worms to use as bait, and a net to scoop up the wooden fish they hook. The best part, the young anglers can play with this one all year long as the set comes with a reversible play mat with a winter and summer motif on either side.
Whether you’re walking around the neighborhood or hiking the Grand Tetons, our Let’s Explore Hiking Play Set is sure to get your child excited for outdoor play. This handy-dandy kit comes with a backpack to hold all their hiking essentials like a canteen, play snacks, and a first aid kit. Teach them the importance of safety during outdoor play with pretend sunscreen and a clip-on safety whistle.
Awaken your child’s inner chef with our Let’s Explore Wooden Camp Stove Play Set. This wooden play stove lets them adjust the “burner” while they cook the play food. The fun doesn’t end there. The kit comes complete with two durable plates and sporks, cups, kettle, a collectible medallion, and a reusable activity book.
Create the Ultimate Outdoor Obstacle Course
Gamifying outdoor play is a great way to get kids excited about ditching their screens. With a little planning and ingenuity, you can combine a few simple toys to transform your driveway or backyard into the ultimate obstacle course for your kids.
Start the course with our Dilly Dally Target Game, where they can launch self-sticking beanbags at the turtle-shaped fabric target with numbered sections. This target game is great for group play as it includes red or yellow beanbags but is great for individual play too! Think of this as an exciting way for kids three and older to learn simple addition and practice hand-eye coordination.
For the next station in the obstacle course have them crawl through a rainbow of color in our Giddy Buggy Tunnel. Giddy’s smiling face is sure to invite active outdoor play and will have your kids getting competitive to see who can crawl through the fastest. Made of durable wipe-clean materials, it sets up quickly and easily folds flat for convenient storage.
Best Accessories for Outdoor Play
As parents we’ve all witnessed the simplest of toys somehow inspiring hours and hours of imaginative play. We hand-picked our favorite outdoor play accessories that could be the key to limitless hours of outdoor summer fun.
We know kids like feeling like they’re a part of the adult groups. The next time you’re setting up an outdoor area, pull up our Cutie Pie Butterfly Camp Chair and make them feel like they have an extra special seat. It even comes with a cupholder so they can sip their favorite refreshing summer beverage with you!
Who remembers the thrill of looking into a set of binoculars for the first time? Awaken their inner explorer with the Giddy Buggy Binoculars. Bring distant objects and the natural world up close with the adjustable field glasses encased in the always happy Giddy Buggy Sunny Patch character.
When the sun starts to set and you want to keep the fun going outside our trusty Trixie Flashlight is your go to summer companion. This lovable lady flashlight provides a steady spotlight for fun in the dark. It’s sturdy, integrated handle, is easy for small hands to grip and is sure to be the best partner for their summer adventures.
We hope these tips help you make the most out of your summer and get your kids excited about outdoor play.