Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Best Summer Toys For Your Backyard

As soon as the weather is decent, we find ourselves spending majority of our days outside in the backyard. After a long, cold winter, the kids are always beyond excited to run around the backyard and play with the outside toys. Being a daycare provider, it should be of no surprise that we have a lot of different toys around our yard. Here are some of our favorite toys to play with for all age ranges:

0-18 Months

1.) Large play blanket.  This is great for babies to enjoy the outside, but not be directly on the grass.
2.) Net cover. This is great for keeping bugs away and off of infants, but still allowing them to enjoy the outdoors. This one can be used on strollers or Pack n' Plays in the yard.
3.) Little Tikes Snug n' Secure Swing.  These swings last a long time and hold up well in all kind of weather conditions.
4.) Play house.  The play house is the most favorite outside toys for all ages. As soon as babies can stand on their own, inside the playhouse is where they want to be.
5.) Picnic Table. The kids love having picnic lunches during the spring and summer.
6.) Cozy Coupe. Nothing beats seeing a bitty in a coupe cruisin' the backyard. Plus it's well worth the money when you see your seven year old still fighting to fit into it.
7.) Water table. I was shocked by how much the kids love this table. The kids love to add sea animals (check these out) to the water.
8.) Little Tikes Activity GardenThis is great for babies old enough to sit up on their own and lasts well beyond 18 months.
9.) Little Tikes Slide. It's a great first "big kid" slide.
10.) Baby's First Activity Center. Perfect for crawlers learning to explore.
11.) Small treehouse. Great for the next step up from the First Activity Center and great for little climbers.
12.) Cozy Coupe Tent. Babies/toddlers/kids of all ages LOVE to climb into anything to play. 

18 Months - 3 Years

1.) Cozy Coupe Gas Pump To go along with the Cozy Coupe. By now the little one has gotten into pretend play a bit and wants to do something more than just cruise in the Coupe. Add a gas pump to the mix and you'll be given hours of play time.
2.) Sandbox. It's not the start of summer until the littles have eaten a handful of sand. It's a beginning of nice weather tradition at daycare.
3.) Tee Ball Set. Great, long lasting set that the kids love.
4.) Teeter Totter. This is a perfect one to teach kiddos how to balance and work together.
5.) Sidewalk Chalk. Who are we kidding? Sidewalk chalk is great for all ages 1+! Even I love to color with the kiddos!
6.) Play Mower. The love to "mow" the grass and have mower races against each other!
7.) Wheelbarrow. I love this wheelbarrow from Little Tikes because it can't fit a child inside to be pushed around. This may or may not have been an issue with other toy wheelbarrows.
8.) Trampoline. I bought this for the living room this winter (it was a lifesaver), but the kids have loved it so much that it's now in the backyard for jumping. I'm not a fan of larger trampolines, so this one is just about perfect, especially for the younger kids.
9.) Basketball Hoop. I love that this set is adjustable and can last a lot longer than all of the other kids first basketball hoops out there.
10.) Ride on Toys. Any ride on toys are great, but the kids especially like ones that play music, beep, and have a storage space under the seat for random little toys and twigs.
11.) Climber. The next step up in climbers. At one time we didn't have a climber for the 18 month-3 years crowd, then I scored one for free on Craigslist. Now I see them as a vital part of outside time.
12.) Grill Play Set. My minis love to "grill" right along with dad. Our grill was even a Starbucks one afternoon last summer (according to the kids).
13.) Ball Pit. I was against ball pits for the longest time because I didn't want to deal with kids jumping in on top of other kids or the balls being thrown at one another. Once the kids got the ground rules down, our ball pits have been so much fun! Want something a bit bigger than this ball pit? Grab a small or medium size plastic pool, ball pit ball such as these, and you've got yourself an extra big and fun ball pit! 

Ages 3+

1.) Soccer  and Other Sports Set. I love multi-sports set and giving the kids lessons on how to play each sport.
2.) Golf Set. I highly recommend explaining (and re-explaining) how to nicely swing the golf club and hit the ball. 
3.) Bounce House. I was very hesitant about this toy, but it's a favorite of most of the kids. Complete supervision is required at all times, but a lot less dangerous that I had imagined.
4.) Swing set. I was actually completely against getting this, however it was a great buy and the kids love it!
5.) Bow and Arrow. My six year old loved trying to shoot and aim at the target. Great hand eye coordination activity for older kids.
6.) Slip n' Slide. It may ruin your yard completely. Our rather shaded backyard is still destroyed from last summer's 4 hours of Slip n' Slide fun, but it's so worth it.
7.) Stomp Rocket. Be prepared to climb up on the roof or hop the neighbor's fence, but it's also a great way to teach about gravity....and who doesn't love stomping on something as hard as they can?
8.) Nerf Guns. I definitely recommend paying attention to the manufacturers recommended ages on these, but when used appropriately, can be way fun. Last summer, my oldest and a few neighborhood friends had a game of Nerf Gun Tag going.
9.) Water Guns. These are a lot of fun on a hot summer day. The kids love playing a game of Water Gun Tag in the yard.
10.) Hopper Balls. The kids love to have races across the yard.
11.) Rock Climber. This is massive, but great if you have a kid who likes to climb.
12.) Kick Ball Set. Another great activity to strength hand (or in this case feet) eye coordination in older kids. It's also hilarious to watch them figure out how to kick the ball and then remember to run the bases.
13.) Bean Bag Toss. Kids younger than 3 have thoroughly enjoyed this game too, but kids 3+ years really enjoy challenging each other to games and seeing how far they can toss the bags.
14.) Badminton Set. Yet another good game for hand eye coordination, plus the kids love it.