The benefits of playing with outdoor toys for preschoolers

The warm summer months are perfect for creative play outside – Especially when you have preschool-aged children! With the right toys, you can make outdoor playtime the perfect mix of fun and educational. So, here are some fun ideas for outdoor play and some of the perfect toys to bring outdoors if you have toddlers! Plus, we’ll go over the benefits of playing outdoors.

If you’ve also got a 1-year-old at home, check this article out for some fun ideas!

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The benefits of playing with outdoor toys for preschoolers

The benefits of outdoor play

One of the best ways for preschoolers to burn off excess energy and explore their surroundings is by playing with outdoor toys. Outdoor play is important for children as it has developmental benefits. By playing with toys outside, they can practice their gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and social skills, to name a few. All this while they learn about nature and get some fresh air!

Outdoor toys for preschoolers: Swings, slides, trampolines, bikes & outdoor kitchens

There are many different types of preschool outdoor toys, including swing sets, slides, trampolines, and bicycles. Each of these toys offers different benefits that can help preschoolers to develop in a variety of ways.

Swings

Swing sets are a great way for children to get some exercise while also having fun. Swinging helps to improve coordination and balance, and it is also a great way for children to release any built-up energy.

Slides

Slides are another popular outdoor toy for preschoolers. Sliding down a slide helps children to develop their gross motor skills and coordination. It is also a great way for children to socialize with other kids as they wait their turn to go down the slide. Speaking of – Waiting their turn is an important skill for little ones, too!

Trampolines

Trampolines are a great way for children to get some exercise while also having fun. Jumping on a trampoline helps to improve coordination, balance, and gross motor skills. Much like swings and slides, they are also a great opportunity to practice social skills as they laugh and jump with family and friends.

Bicycles

Bicycles are a great way for children to explore their surroundings while getting some exercise. Riding a bike helps to improve coordination and balance, and it is also a great way for children to get some fresh air. Learning how to ride a bike is also a way to learn resilience… Few toddlers learn how to ride on their first try!

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The benefits of playing with outdoor toys for preschoolers

Outdoor kitchen

A play kitchen is a super fun way to develop creative play and imagination. Kids love creating things that they see adults do. And, while they may not be ready to make a real pie from scratch, they can make mud pies with the things they find outside! Honestly, these are good for children of all ages – The way they use them just changes!

To sum it up, outdoor toys are a great way for preschoolers to burn off excess energy, explore their surroundings, and get some exercise while they practice important skills. These are some of the larger and more general toys that kids love – But what if you don’t have room for a swing set (or the park is too far away to walk)?

Other great outdoor toys for preschoolers

The best outdoor toys are not just the ones above. Honestly, you can turn almost anything into a fun game with toddlers – Think of how much (most) kids enjoy a rain walk, for example. All you need is rain boots and some puddles and you’ve got a day’s worth of outside play.

Here are some simple backyard games you can play with your kiddos (and great outdoor toys to use, too):

  • Obstacle course: Setting up an obstacle course can be as simple or as intricate as you want. Grab whatever toys you have laying around and create a fun course where they can practice balancing, jumping, and running! They can hop from hula hoop to hula hoop, “balance” while walking on a jump rope, and race to the finish line.
  • Pass, soccer, or catch: So many fun activities require nothing more than a ball! You could play pass, where your children practice their aim and learn how to throw or kick a ball, or practice specific sports if they’re into any.
  • Water play: Playing with water is a fun way of sensory development. Plus, it will help your toddler stay cool in the heat! Whether you have a kiddie pool, a splash pad, or just a bucket of water, you could come up with tons of backyard games that involve water. We’ve got some fun ideas here, if you want!
  • Water balloons: Water balloons feel like a summer staple! If the idea of plastic balloon pieces in the yard isn’t appealing (I get it, I am not a fan of balloons), you could make something like the Sponge Stars I talked about in the article above. I’ve also seen these reusable balloons on Instagram a ton lately – I’ve never used them, but they look super fun!

While I’ve got your attention, I’d love to explain why outdoor toys are so great for your little one’s development. Here are some of the important skills children develop while playing and learning outside:

Motor skills

Outdoor toys are a great way for preschoolers to develop their gross motor skills. Running, climbing, and riding a bike are all activities that require good coordination and balance. By playing with outdoor toys, preschoolers can also improve their coordination and balance, which will help them in other areas of their lives as well.

Social skills

Playing with outdoor toys is also a great way for preschoolers to develop their social skills. When children play together, they learn how to share, take turns, and cooperate with others. These are important skills that will help them in school and in their future lives.

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The benefits of playing with outdoor toys for preschoolers

Imagination and creativity

Outdoor toys also help preschoolers develop their imagination and creativity. When children are playing, they are using their imaginations to come up with new games and ways to play with their toys. This helps them to be more creative in other areas of their lives as well. This is why free-play is so important, too. Next time you’re outside, let your toddler take the figurative steering wheel – Maybe they will create a game that the whole family can enjoy!

When children are playing with their toys outside, they have more room to run around and be creative, too. This means that they can pretend that they are in different places and situations, which helps them to use their imaginations more. A toy is just the start. It’s amazing what a child can come up with!

Exercise

Another benefit of outdoor toys is that they help preschoolers get exercise simply for the fact that there’s more space. Playing with outdoor toys requires children to use their large muscles, which helps them to stay active and healthy. Plus, most toddlers have tons of energy. Running outside is usually much more ideal than using the kitchen as a race track!

Learning about the world around them

I wholeheartedly believe that the best way to learn about the world is through actually exploring it. Sure, you can learn a lot in an indoor classroom… But hearing about the way nature works is only half as fun as experiencing it with all of the senses!

When children are playing outside, they are exposed to different sights, sounds, and smells. This can help them to learn more about their environment and the world around them.

Social and emotional development

Another benefit of outdoor toys is that they help to foster social and emotional development. When children are playing with their toys, they are sometimes interacting with other children. This helps them to develop their social skills and learn how to express their emotions.

Learning by having fun

If you’ve read any of my other articles, you know I’m all about making learning fun. Kiddos learn best when they’re enjoying themselves, after all! By bringing the learning outside, and bringing the right toys with you, your little ones probably won’t even realize that they’re learning. Or, they’ll be having so much fun that they won’t mind!

Conclusion

Why are outdoor toys so important for preschoolers? Outdoor toys help preschoolers develop gross motor skills, social skills, and imagination. Outdoor play also helps children get exercise and learn about the world around them. By playing with outdoor toys, preschoolers can have fun while they are learning and developing important life skills. Outdoor toys are a great way for preschoolers to learn and have fun – It’s all about finding the toys they love! Whether they’re really into a specific sport, prefer swinging, or really enjoy creative and imaginative play, the right toys act as tools for learning.

Outdoor toys can be as extravagant as their very own tree house or as simple as soccer balls and nets. The best outdoor toys are the ones your kids love to play with!

Elke Crosson
Elke Crosson

Elke Crosson has her BA in International Relations with a minor in Spanish at UBC (Okanagan). She is currently in her second year of the Master of Teaching program at the University of Toronto, with dreams of becoming an elementary-level teacher.

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