Spending time outdoors with babies is an excellent way for them to learn to love the nature, and fun toys only make it better. Check out our list of the best outdoor toys for babies, plus some tips on making sure that you and your baby are safe, healthy and enjoying the outdoors.
The great outdoors are so exciting for our babies. There are so many new things to see and explore, especially for babies 6 months and older through the toddler and preschool years. Even though some of our indoors have been forever colored with the COVID-19 lens, that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of our outdoor time. Below are some of the best outdoor toys for babies that you can keep in your backyard or close by to enjoy your time outside even if your regular activities like pool days, beach days, and family vacations may need to be on hold.
Outdoor Time is Crucial to a Baby’s Development
Outdoor play is important for a baby’s development in many different ways. Spending time outdoors has several different benefits for your little one especially as they grow older. Of course, your baby gets much-needed nutrients from the sun such as Vitamin D but parents should caution, especially with babies, about spending too much time in direct sunlight. However, outdoor play is great for children as they grow and develop. Here are some of the benefits according to research found by Parenting Science:
- reduced risk of myopia, or nearsightedness;
- greater exposure to bright light, which enhances health and mental performance;
- increased activity levels, and greater freedom to run, jump, and climb;
- opportunities for hands-on learning about physical forces and concepts;
- reduced stress levels, better moods, and improved concentration;
- more naturally-attuned sleep rhythms; and
- enhanced opportunities to learn social skills, overcome fears, and develop a lifelong connection with nature.
Outdoor play for older children seems simple enough- send them outside to explore nature in a supervised environment along with some gross motor activity like bikes, balls, and climbing structures. But what about outdoor activities for babies?
Related: 8 Ways to Engage Your Children While Outdoors
Suggested Activities for Outdoor Play Time with Your Baby
Finding an appropriate and safe outdoor activity for your baby isn’t as easy as just sitting them outside. There are several additional factors to keep in mind to keep your little one safe including sun exposure, heat exposure, dangers of water and sand play, and dangers of climbing structures. However, outdoor play is fun and necessary for your little one and there are plenty of things they can do outside:
- Water play– Splash pads and small wading pools are great for little ones to explore water. Even a small tub with water will often do the trick.
- Sand play– Hand-eye coordination and dexterity are often developed in sand play, as well as tactile learning skills and dumping mechanisms.
- Swings- Swings are a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors.
- Slides– Small slides are fun for babies, and they can promote gross motor coordination as well as spatial awareness.
Tips for Keeping Baby Healthy and Safe in the heat
It is important to understand that your baby being comfortable and safe outdoors is not the same as you being comfortable and safe outdoors. Babies have especially sensitive skin so they cannot be exposed to direct sunlight as frequent as older children or adults. In addition, they also cannot regulate their body temperature as easily, so they often get hotter faster than adults. Here are some tips on keeping your little one safe while outdoors to prevent sunburn, heatstroke, or extreme heat exposure:
- Take frequent breaks- head inside every 30 minutes or so to take a break from the sun on hot days.
- Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before and often reapply, especially when coming out of water
- Have your baby wear a baby hat to keep their heads safe from the sun
- Always have water with you and give your baby some frequently, or nurse frequently for hydration
Related: Best Baby Hats to Keep Noggins Protected
Best Outdoor Baby Toys to Have Fun This Summer
SplashEZ 3-in01 Sprinkler and Splash Pad for Kids
Water play isn’t just about having fun- it’s about learning, too! With the SplashEZ 3-in01 Sprinkler and Splash Pad for Kids your child will have fun in the water sprinklers but also become introduced to letters, animals, and shapes. In fact, you can even use the mat without water for a little bit of learning fun. Your little one will love splashing in the wading pool or having the fountain sprinklers spray over them (which you can reduce by using a lower pressure of water). The SplashEZ 3-in01 Sprinkler and Splash Pad for Kids is BPA and phthalates free, so it is safe for your little one to use even at a young age. Designed by educators, psychologists, and researchers this splash pad is made by those who believe that learning through play is key to a child’s healthy development. The SplashEZ 3-in01 Sprinkler and Splash Pad gives your baby both learning and play in one incredible pool!
Little Tikes Hide and Seek Climber and Swing
What is more fun than a swing and a slide? Now you can bring the playground to you with the Little Tikes Hide and Seek Climber Set. This cool mini-playground has an infant to toddler swing that has a three-point safety belt for additional safety. The back wall is an easy-to-climb rock wall that even new walkers will love to try climbing. And the short yet fun slide is perfect for little ones to slide down over and over again with the help of mom or dad. Little crawlers will love peeking out the windows on the bottom, too. This is a perfect set to have in the backyard that will grow with your little one as they become more independent.
FUN LITTLE TOYS Kids Beach and Sand Toy Set
Are you looking for the perfect sand toy set to bring along to your next beach trip or for your sandbox at home? This 17-piece sandcastle building set from FUN LITTLE TOYS has all the tools you need to make a cool sand castle and to allow your little one to explore with sand play. It has 9 different shapes of cute sand molds: fish, tortoise, pineapple, ice cream, city wall, pyramid, pineapple, and more. It also comes with a reusable mesh bag, sand water wheel, watering can, and sand tools like a rake, spade, and shovel. All of the toys are made from eco-friendly materials and do not contain BPA or PVC making them safe for your little one to use and safe for the environment.
TURNMEON Baby Beach Tent and Portable Sun Shelter with Pool
The TURNMEON Baby Beach Tent and Portable Sun Shelter with Pool brings the fun right to your baby without having to venture to large pools The large tent has a wading pool inside that you are able to fill with enough water to allow your little one to splash and play. The large tent has UV 50+ protection and is waterproof so even if it gets wet it will still hold the same protective properties as when it is completely dry. The canopy cover expands to 47.5 inches, providing plenty of shade for your little one. The TURNMEON Baby Beach Tent and Portable Sun Shelter with Pool is also easy to set up and to store, with a simple pop up mechanism to expand it and an easy fold to store it in the included carry bag. That means no blowing up or inflating to create the perfect little pool for your little one. There is also a mesh window in the back allowing plenty of ventilation and air to flow while your little one plays. There are four anchors included that you can place into the dirt or sand that will prevent the sunshade from flying away in a gust of wind, too. The TURNMEON Baby Beach Tent and Portable Sun Shelter with Pool is perfect for the beach, the pool, or even your backyard to let your little one play in the water while staying protected from the sun. You can even use it without water as the perfect beach tent for naps and playtime.
Summer Pop n Jump Portable Activity Center
The Summer Pop n Jump Activity Center brings your baby’s favorite jumper outside. With a UPF 50+ canopy, this activity center can be outside and still protect your little one from the sun’s harmful rays. The Summer Pop n Jump Activity Center is also super portable making it a great option for travel, for grandma’s house for a playdate, or just something simple to bring outside in your backyard or to a local park. It is also a great option for a little one who is taking a much-needed beach vacation giving them the space to play and enjoy the sun and sand with the rest of the family. The height of the jumper can be adjusted as your little gets bigger, and the compact fold makes it easy to take with you anywhere with the travel bag and strap. The seat can be removed for easy cleanup and the included toys like the spinner ball, rattle, teether, and mirror book help promote cognitive development and hand-eye coordination. The Summer Pop n Jump Activity Center is a great jumper to have on hand for outdoor play for babies.
This cute dump truck means business, and your little one who just loves bright colors like pink and purple will love that there is finally a truck made in colors that he or she loves. The Green Toys Dump Trunk is made with all environmentally friendly materials and post-recycled plastics. It contains no BPA, phthalates, or PVC meaning it is completely safe for the earth and your baby. The toy is even packed using recycled materials and printed with soy inks for added environmental safety. This dump truck will help your little one improve their fine and gross motor skills, including their pincher grip. The movable dumper also helps promote dumping skills and sand play that is fun and educational.
Step2 Infant to Toddler Swing Seat
One of the best past times that most people think about when thinking about their own childhood is swinging on swings during the summertime. Now even the littlest people in your family can join in on the fun with this infant to toddler swing set from Step2. Made with BPA-free plastic, this swing has a weather-resistant rope and seat that is perfect for any climate. It can hold up to 50 pounds and can be easily tethered to most backyard playsets or a sturdy porch or tree. The child restraint system keeps baby safe inside the swing, and you will find yourself having hours of fun (and maybe even get a nap in) with the Step2 Swing Set. Recommended for babies 6 months and older.
SwimSchool Splash Play Mat and Inflatable Kiddie Pool with Backrest and Canopy
Make water play safe and fun with this baby splash mat from SwimSchool. This safe-to-use splash mat allows you to introduce your baby to water slowly while still giving them the fun and the learning that just happens to occur when your baby does water play. The removable canopy provides UPF50 protection from the sun’s harmful rays and the built-in backrest helps keeps your baby comfortable and supports those learning to sit up independently. The SwimSchool Splash Pad also has three stackable toys that help encourage your baby’s fine motor skills and dexterity. This splash pad is easy to inflate and is perfect for the beach, your backyard, or the pool while the older siblings play.
b.Toys Wavy Wagon Travel Beach Buggy
What is more fun than digging in the sand? Your baby can work on their hand-eye coordination by scooping, spilling, and dumping sand or water into these toys from b.Toys. It is a great set to take with you to the beach, for a sandbox at home, or even with just a tub of water outside. It comes with 11 fun toys like a beach wagon to pull all the toys, 1 bucket, 1 sifter lid, 3 nesting cups with sea animals designs, 1 Shark lid, 1 fish sand mold, 1 boat, 1 rake, and 1 shovel. All of the shapes have fun molded patterns, which are great for exploring and learning using your baby’s tactile skills. They help to improve patience, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and more. All of the toys are phthalate-free and BPA-free, using only the safest materials for your baby and toddlers.
HOMOFY Dinosaur Bubble Blower and Music Player
All babies love bubbles, and this Dinosaur Bubble Blower and Music Player from HOMOFY will give them hours of fun. It is specially designed to ensure that it won’t easily topple over and spill out all the bubbles, and there is a cover for the mouth when it’s not in use. The HOMOFY Dinosaur Bubble Blower is made with non-toxic ABS plastic so it is safe for your babies and toddlers. This fun and musical bubble blower has an easy-to-carry handle so you can take it with you wherever you go and blows constant bubbles as long as it is on – over 800 bubbles per minute! The Dinosaur Bubble Blower makes cool dinosaur sounds and lights up as it continues to blow out bubbles, making it fun for your baby as they play and use their hand-eye coordination skills to try and grab the bubbles.
Fisher-Price On-the-Go Baby Dome
Babies constantly need shade while outdoors and this 2-in-1 Baby Dome from Fischer Price provides a safe place for your baby to play, rest, or lay all while being protected from the sun’s harmful rays. It doubles as both a playspace and a comfy napping spot, which is perfect for when your older kids are outside playing and you need to supervise or for days out at the park for picnics. It has a large canopy that protects your little one from bugs and the sun as both sides of the canopy come together for a full enclosure. You are able to hang toys for additional stimulation or bring their favorite toys to play with. The Fischer Price 2-in-1 Baby Dome also folds completely flat for easy storage and travel. It can even be used indoors as a play space for when your baby becomes mobile.
Summertime is just around the corner and getting the right baby gear can make it that much more fun. The best outdoor baby toys are always ones that can help your baby grow developmentally as well as develop their motor skills. Parents should also make sure that they are safe and made with eco-friendly materials as often as possible. And remember to always keep an eye on your baby while playing outside, especially with water toys.
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