Well since it’s finally starting to warm up and Memorial day is upon us, I thought I would go over some great outside toys for toddlers.
First of all, if you have a child that is walking and old enough to NOT eat sand, i highly recommend a toy that includes sand. We just bought one and it provides hours of entertainment for my girls. There are many different ones to choose from including a Sand table, sand BOX for the younger ages), water table, sand and water table and many different fun tables.
We actually had a sand BOX(they vary in prices and can run from 30-80 dollars), for my older daughter when she was younger..she loved it, but it was a MESS to get her out of it…and keep the sand inside the box. I always had to strip her down before we went in the house so i didn’t track sand everywhere. You HAVE to be very careful about keeping the lid on it closed when your not playing because you’ll find tons of bugs and ants inside if you don’t close it with the lid(also found surprise bird poop every once in a while..YUCK). Like I said, they are fun for the younger babies who can sit up and play…just remember to strip them down and brush off sand before entering the house or car.
A SAND table is great for children from the time they can pull up or standup. The good thing about the SAND table is that it’s only sand…no water involved and your child is not sitting in the actual sand v/s a sandbox. So this is great for the younger children. The negative part of buying a SAND table is that it’s ONLY sand…so when your child is old enough to play with sand and water…you have to invest in a new one. The sand tables all run about 50.00 each. I do not recommend buying the Step 2 version of this…i checked out the reviews and most say that the lid is very flimsy and leaks. I couldn’t seem to find any other, well built sand tables…but i’m sure they are out there.
A Sand & water table is another option for younger children. We just bought the step 2 sand and water table and love it! For younger children i would buy this…add sand and plug the water side…then add sand to that side too! That is what we did, as i had first added water and both of the twins thought it was bath time and got drenched, in the two minutes i walked in the house to get their snacks. Mine was 80.00 and most sand and water tables run about the same. We had originally bought a portable step 2 sand and water table…but it was REALLY small and truly made for one or maybe two children. I wouldn’t recommend it for more than two for sure. The big step 2 sand and water table is great! The umbrella is actually big enough to cover up the children while playing in the sun and the cover is rather sturdy and doesn’t seem to leak at all. I would recommed moving it away from the house though…as i thought it’d be fun to put it on the porch but there was sand everywhere and i caught a couple of sneeky babies trying to get inside the house with bowls of sand! We moved it out to the grass and that seemed much better and they aren’t so tempted to bring bowls of sand in the back door of our house.
A water table is another great idea. I think this is more for older children…over 2 years of age. Most water tables run about 30.00 and should probably be filled and drained each time due to mold and algae. We don’t have one…but Hannah’s school has one and sometimes they’ll fill it up with water and bubbles and i hear it’s one fun sight to see!
We also just purchased a little tykes picnic table(the smaller version). My girls LOVE the table and we leave it outside..but have brought it in for snacks and my neighbor uses her’s for her children to eat their meals. My girls started using it about 2 months ago and they figured it out pretty quickly. It’s really nice to have outside and feed them snacks and drinks on while they are playing outside. It’s very sturdy and holds it’s color well even in the bright sun.
Another great outside toy for children is a playhouse. We had one for a while…i’m embarrassed to say we got it out of our neighbors trash on heavy trash day! LOL! It was nice but old and the front door had fallen off. The girls did LOVE it, as soon as they were walking. They would all run in and open and close the windows over and over again. We got rid of it because it was falling apart and since we bought the gigantic play system in the back we didn’t want to have one more thing for the poor lawn mower guys to move and/or mow around. These play houses can run big bucks(so i’d try to buy second hand or get ready to spend a good 400-500 dollars on one). The hard part about spending this much money on a play house is that you never know if your child will really like it or play in it. My sister(hope she’s not reading this) bought one and found out not to long after they went and spent big bucks…that her daughter was allergic to mosquito’s and so they can’t really play in the play house much. We, on the other hand, used our trash diver one, for hours on end.
For the smaller children they have the climb and slide toys. We also had one of these. We had the little tykes version and it was awesome! We bought it for our daughters 2nd birthday and we definitely got our moneys worth out of it. It’s worth the 200 you’ll spend on it, it keeps it’s color well, and i ended up selling to another/fellow MOM for half the price.
Of course, last, but not least are an infinity amount of ride on toys out there to purchase. We have a few ride on toys that are foot propelled that the twins really love(ours are all in the house.) My neighbor has the toddle coupe buggy and her kids all love it. We are thinking of buying one…but we’re waiting until we remodel our back patio for that. I did just purchase some really cheap foot propelled cars that have handles behind, so they can rotate and take turns riding and pushing. My were bought at walmart and are REALLY cheap and tend to flip b/c the plastic is soo cheap and the toys are soo light. I originally bought one because we had a little tykes one and they fought and fought over that one…then i bought the cheapie one and they fought over THAT one…so i went and bought another cheapo one…so now we have two cheapo flipping cars in the house…makes for lots of noise, crying and flipped cars…but the girls love riding them…so we’ll deal with the cheap part b/c that’s part of life when you have to buy TWO of everything.
Water toy wise we’ve had two toys my girls love.
One was a cool little sprinkler with hands that spray all over the place. This is great for anyone old enough to walk that loves water(make sure to put it in the grass). Most of these sprinklers are pretty durable and i wish i had bought one earlier…as we just got our first this year and all 3 of my girls love it. This is another toy that provides a good hour or two of enjoyment…and boy it helps them nap good or sleep good at night! It tires me out just watching them run around the yard.
Last, but not least, is a $7.00 pool we bought at walmart 3 years ago. It’s plastic and very very durable! You can add as much or little water as you’d like. The girls LOVE this pool. I also add some bath toys to it when they are playing…which also adds to the entertainment. The trick is how to get them all rangled back into the house after a fun afternoon in the pool. I strip them down into their birthday suit right in our back yard. Wrap them in in towels and dump the water. If the water is gone your children will be more likely to actually come inside. Of course for me, the twins follow Hannah where ever she goes…so i coax her to go in and then they follow…makes for less tantrums when it’s time to move back inside the house!
Hope this blog was helpful to all the mothers out there getting ready to purchase their first outside toy or toys. There are so many choices out there…it’s hard to pick. My best advice to you is to check reviews and ask around. I’ve learned the hard way over and over, as i’d just, on a whim, buy something and decided i didn’t like it later. Through all my purchases and mistakes, i’ve learned to check reviews and ask around.
One last final tid bit of advice…I just learned TODAY that if you do play with sand, have a sand and water table, sand table, or go play at the beach, baby powder is the magic potion that magically removes sand off hands and feet. It’s amazing and i can’t wait to take it to the beach because i really don’t like the feeling of sand all over your body after building sand castles and playing in the salty water…the baby powder should do the trick! Try it out if you haven’t already…it’s AWESOME!
Have a Safe & Happy Memorial Day!