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Top 10 Best Outdoor Toy Ideas For School Aged Children This Summer

School’s out for the summer, which means the kids are off too. That’s 4-6 weeks of fun activities you need to have planned for your children to keep them entertained. With so many fun outdoor toys and games on the market nowadays (climbing frames slides, trampolines, swings, playhouses and garden toys), it can hard to choose the right one for your family.

With fewer families jetting away overseas on holiday than in recent years, parents are planning activities for their children at home. To keep their children amused during the summer holiday there are all the usual attractions like theme parks, adventure playgrounds, beaches and much more. But trips away and frequent day trips can be expensive, especially for larger families.

Here at The Active Toy Company we have put together a list of the top 10 outdoor play equipment and toy ideas that your kids will love playing outside with this summer. These will keep your children entertained and active within within the safety of their own garden, as well as aiding in their physical and emotional development.
  1. Wooden Climbing Frames  


Investing in a wooden climbing frame will wow your kids when they see they have their very own adventure playground to explore in their back garden.

Climbing frames are great for growing families, as they are fun for all ages. You can even decide to build your own bespoke climbing frame to fit the exact dimensions of your garden and customise it with the things your kids love, like slides, lookouts, bridges and fireman poles.

What’s great about a climbing frame is that they are built to last. Your children will have years of fun climbing and exploring with this cool outdoor toy.

According to Large Family Life climbing frames allow your children to improve their co-ordination and motor skills. This activity can also improve their fitness levels, spatial and directional awareness as well as balance and agility.
   2. Trampolines
Trampolines have become an increasingly popular pastime over the last few years, with virtually every other household owning one. A trampoline is a great way to keep your kids active and as a way of exercising whilst having fun bouncing. It is said by that a 10-minute bounce on a trampoline will burn the same about calories as a half an hour run, (so bouncing on a trampoline is great for the parents too!)

If you have a large or growing family it is probably a good idea to invest in a bigger trampoline, like these oval shaped ones from Jump King Ovalpod trampolines. The last thing that any parent wants to hear is that their child has had a collision whilst bouncing. Getting one big enough so that children can bounce together safely will keep everyone happy. If you are thinking of buying a trampoline this year, refer to our trampoline buying guide for some helpful advice and tips.

Special needs experts; Special Needs For Kids encourage bouncing on a trampoline. It s a very gentle form of exercise, due to the fact that the trampoline pads absorb a large amount of impact. This is great for children of all abilities as it means they can build up muscle as well as strengthening their bones, reducing the risk of brittle bones and osteoporosis.
    3. Wooden Children's Swings
Swings, every child loves the swings, the fresh breeze blowing in their face as they swing back and forth, the excitement of swinging higher and higher. Investing in a good quality wooden swing will keep your children occupied for years to come. A sturdy wooden garden swing can be left out all year round and will keep your children entertained in the sunshine.

The benefits of swinging for your child are high according to leading educational learning parent blog Activity Mom. The rocking motion helps them focus as well as helping them remain calm. The act of this movement simulates different parts of a child’s brain, this outdoor toy will help them with their spatial awareness, rhythm and balance.

    4. Sandpits / Water Tables

If you have a small garden and do not have the space for larger outdoor toys like climbing frames, trampolines or garden swings, then a sand or water table might be exactly what you need. Sand and water games are eternally popular with children and something that will keep them entertained for hours on end.

This outdoor play equipment allows your child to fill and empty water jugs, build sand castles and feel the sand and water running through their fingers.

There are lots of different sand pits and water tables available, from those that are built into the ground, to more portable versions and even some that combine both in one.

An article written by suggests that playing with sand and water will help stretch your child’s imagination, through the design of building and creating. Sand and water activities also teach them the concept of maths, as they fill and empty jugs of water, working out which bucket of sand is heavy and which is light.
    5. Scooters and Bikes 
A scooter or bike will be something that your kids will love. It is not only entertaining for them it is also a practical investment that they can use for play and social interaction.

Many scooters nowadays are very compact and fold away easily, so you don’t have to worry about finding space to store them.

Even if you have a young child that is not quite a school age, a ride on toy or balance bike is a great outdoor toy for toddlers that will teach them how to balance, glide and scoot along.
    6. Children's Wooden Playhouses 
The adventures that your children can have in a garden playhouse are endless. You can relax knowing that your child is safe in the comfort of your home, happily playing and imagining in their garden wooden playhouse.

There are so many different options available from plastic/ wooden houses for children, playhouses with added slides, bridges and even climbing frames. You can even create your own custom made playhouse (if budget permits). Here are the children’s playhouses available at Active Toy.

Playing in a playhouse is great for your child’s social interaction and group play. A playhouse will act as an activity centre where children can come together. Group play is brilliant for teaching your children how to interact and cooperate with others, says Learn To Play Toys.
    7. Children's Garden Toys
Oh the fun children can have re-enacting adult activities. Many children have toy kitchens, where they pretend to cook dinner, just as their parents do. But why stop in the home? Kids will have a great time playing gardening too. There are lots of toy garden equipment available including lawn mowers, watering cans and shovels.

This is a relatively cheap way to keep your children happy for the summer, without costing the earth. You can pick up children’s gardening equipment from a good kids toy retailer from as little as a few pounds.
    8. Children's Slides  
Every child loves the slide whether it’s a toddler experiencing the feeling of sliding for the first time, or a bigger child climbing to the top of a high slide. A child’s slide offers hours of fun for children of any age, but having to take them down to your local park can be daunting as you are surrounded by many other children, and it can be hard to keep a close eye on your children, making sure they are safe. Investing in a garden slide will bring the park to your back garden, where your children can safely enjoy sliding, whilst you keep an eye on them from the house.

There are so many children’s slides to choose from and something to suit all ages from beginner slides, wavy slides and even spiral slides. Check out our range of children’s slides here.

There are many outdoor benefits that your child will gain by having fun on a garden slide. Kids who play with summer outdoor toys in the sunlight properly protected will gain a higher level of vitamin D, which is absorbed from the sun. Vitamin D has many health benefits for your child even as far as preventing cancers and improving their immune system. Always ensure you use a high factor of sun cream (SPF 50+) whilst out in the sun. Remember to reapply sun cream every 30 minutes and make sure that your children are not playing outside during the midday sun and wearing a sun hat at all times.
    9. Paddling and Splash Pools 
On a hot summers day your children will enjoy nothing less than putting on their swimming costume and cooling down in their very own paddling pool. They can have hours of fun splashing around. A paddling pool can be a great way to get your children used to water, by getting them to play in the water and depending how big of a paddling pool you choose, even learn to swim. For larger pools make sure there is adult supervision at all times. Even in smaller pools young children can have accidents.

Water play is great for developing your child’s problem solving abilities to, as they learn hand eye coordination and extend their imagination with creative play. Research by Plaza Familia.
    10. Other Garden Games  
If you don’t have a big enough garden or have a limited budget to invest in big outdoors toys. There are many cheaper, yet entertaining garden toys that the whole family will love. A pogo stick will give your child the feeling of jumping on a trampoline at a fraction of the price. Other cool outdoor games for kids include football, ball sports, bat and ball, and even giant board games like 4 in a row, jenga and pick up sticks. Check out our garden games that we have available this summer.

If you are stuck with what to do this summer holiday with your kids, and need some help deciding on the best outdoor toy ideas for your family and garden, pop down to the Active Toy site in Newbury, where you can try out our range of play equipment including trampolines, climbing frames, slides and swings before you buy.