Kids love outdoor toys and they are great for getting kids off the couch, away from the TV and outside moving around. Some of the best new outdoor toys include multiple uses, portability and great storage options.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by some of the manufacturers. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
Photo © Bravo Sports
My son loves his Disney Pixar Cars Skateboard from Bravo Sports. After all, skateboards are great outdoor toys! The 21-inch version is a great first skateboard for kids as young as 6 because the deck is six inches wide and the wheels turn more slowly than other skateboards. This helps them get the hang of skateboarding when they're still small.
Photo © Backyard Discovery
Backyard Discovery Playsets are available in many different configurations and price points. The Atlantis model (pictured) is a great middle-of-the-road configuration that accommodates all the kids on the street and doesn't take up the entire back yard. It looks great, too with terrific attention to detail. I particularly like the gabled roof and the playhouse that lets parents see the kids inside.
Photo © Melissa & Doug
All kids love to dig in the dirt, so classic toy company Melissa & Doug just released their Sunny Patch line of gardening tools for kids. They have gloves, tool caddies and watering cans but I love the colorful Happy Giddy Rake. I love anything orange and kids love gardening toys!
Photo © Razor
The clever Razor Sole Skate is small enough to fit in a kid's backpack, so it also fits in a standard school locker. The Sole Skate is designed to ride low to the ground for stability and the wheels stop turning when the rider jumps off, so it's not likely to fly away and hurt another child. It's easy to carry when it's not practical (or legal) to skate and it's really fun to ride.
Photo © Summit Toys
Backyard Safari Outfitters has a whole line of new bug toys, from a bug vacuum to bug habitats. One of my favorites is the Backyard Safari Bug Collector Flashlight. It's cool because it's shaped like a bug and its bright colors make it stand out. Kids love to be out after dark in the summertime so this is a great outdoor toy for nighttime.
Photo © Pacific Play Tents
I discovered Pacific Play Tents at Toy Fair and I just wanted to crawl inside each one. They have dozens of brightly colored play tents designed with durability in mind. My favorites are the super-easy-to-assemble One Touch Play Tents. They literally pop up on their own, no wrestling match required. There's nothing worse, after all, than having an impatient child standing over you while you try to pitch a tent!
Photo © Sandlock Sandboxes
The people who make Sandlock Sandboxes really thought of everything. The tough bottom layer keeps the dirt and weeds at bay. The sturdy, plastic sides snap together and the corners form hooks that keep the covers on tightly, which is crucial if you don't want your sandbox to become a litter box! They have accessories like seats and sun umbrellas, too. Sandlock Sandboxes are not cheap (the four-foot sandbox costs around $370!) but they're clever as can be!
Photo © Geomate Jr.
Geomate Jr. Geocaching GPS for Kids is a brilliant outdoor toy that gets kids up and moving. The Geomate Jr. has 250,000 geocache locations preloaded. Simply scroll through to find the one closest to you and set off on foot, following the arrows on the screen. When you get there you'll find a box with little notes or treasures. Just be sure to pop in your contribution to the cache and put it back exactly as you found it. Participants gain an understanding of longitude and latitude, map reading and following directions, plus kids love the thrill of the hunt. (Besides, a little exercise and fresh air never hurt anyone!)
Photo © Pricegrabber
Swinxs is marketed as a "screen-free game console" that gets kids moving. It's an electronic game that comes with wristbands and a "command module" of sorts. Kids put their colored bands on the unit and can play many different games from hide and seek to races and tag. It's such a fun idea and kids love it, but it's pricey at $150.