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10 of the best garden slides for toddlers and preschoolers

We've picked out the top-rated slides for children in a range of prices, from first slides to adventure-play slides, from folding slides to extending slides – and a good sprinkling of water slides, too....

best garden slide for toddlers and preschoolers
Published: May 23, 2022 at 6:32 pm

A slide in the garden will always be a big hit. Trips to the slide at the park are lovely but a slide in your own outside space offers all the thrill of downwards whoosh without the fuss and preamble of getting them to the playground, ‘helping’ them wait for a turn, hurrying them down so the next child can go – and then trying to get them to leave when it’s time to go home.

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There are lots of great slides to find online – from first slides for older babies and young toddlers to higher, longer slides that'll last well into the pre-schooler years. Some are portable or foldable enough to bring inside for rainy-day fun, while others can turn into a water slide with the help of a hose and a sunny day. We've taken a good, long look at dozens of them and, with the help of our child testers and their parents, come up with our best picks to suit a range of ages, prices and slippy-slidey features…

Best garden slides at a glance

  • Best budget buy: Chad Valley Bug Toddler Slide, £25
  • Best toddler slide with wide slope: Chad Valley 4ft Kids Garden Slide, £30
  • Best slide for easy storage: Qwikfold Fun Slide, £35
  • Best slide for quality: Smoby Medium 5ft Garden Slide, £69.99
  • Best first slide: Little Tikes Toddler Activity Gym Climbing Frame and Slide, £145
  • Best slide with extra features: Smoby Adventure Car Slide and Sandpit, £226.99
  • Best slide to last several years: Smoby Super Megagliss 2-in-1 Slide, £269.99
  • Best for extra features: Rebo 4ft Toddler Adventure Slide with Wooden Platform and Climbing Wall, £121.46
  • Best slide for inflatable family fun: Chad Valley Inflatable Water Slide, £165
  • Best preschooler slide: TP CrazyWavy 8ft Slide & Stepset, £169.99

What to look for when buying a slide for your child

– What age is it made for? At the risk of sounding very obvious, it's important to check that the slide you're buying is designed for your child's age: if you're buying for a toddler, you don't want it to have loads of steps and a high platform; if you're buying for a preschooler, you don't want a slide where the platform's barely off the ground. Some slides will adapt and extend as your child grows – they'll be more pricey but they may offer you more value for money in the long-term.

– How weatherproof is it? Garden slides are exposed to the elements and, though most are built to withstand rain and strong sun, some are definitely made to better withstand the worst that British weather can throw at them. Most children's slides are made of PVC, so you may want to look for one where the plastic has been UV-treated so the colours won't fade so rapidly after repeated exposure to the sun. If you opt for a slide with any wooden elements, check the wood has been pre-treated, too.

– What safety features are included? Look out for good hand holds at the top of the ladder, wide steps with anti-slip treads and steps spaced out well enough for a small child to climb up comfortably. It's also important that your child's slide is nice and stable: some slides will need to be anchored down in your garden or used with a safety strap. "Also, make sure the slide is always used on a level surface," says Kyle Maglione of Tp Toys, "and that all the fixings are tight and secure before allowing your child to play on it."

– How much space does it take up? Gardens, just like homes, can easily become cluttered with toys, and if you don't have much space, a slide can take up a huge amount of ground. We recommend checking your slide's dimensions and thinking about whether you need to choose a slide that can fold away, rather than be a permanent fixture in your garden.

– Does it have any extra features? Many slides come with have added features such as hose attachments that'll turn the slide into a water slide or climbing frames or even play vehicles that will up the fun factor. Usually, you'll pay more for a slide with extra features: think about whether it's worth it for you.

What age can my child play on a slide?

It depends on the height and angle of the slide – and on your child’s ability to climb a ladder. Generally speaking, most children can manage a small slide on their own from about the age of 2, progressing to larger slides with taller ladders and longer slopes as they get bigger.

You should always supervise a small child on a slide and be aware that both plastic and metal slides can get very hot in the height of summer. Never slide down a slide with a child on your lap – it’s been linked to an increased risk of injury.

Here’s our pick of the best gardens slides for toddlers and kids as tested by children and rated by parents

1. Chad Valley 3ft Bug Toddler Slide, £25

Best budget slide

A collage showing a boy sliding down the Chad Valley Bug Toddler Slide and the product shot in a studio

Age: 18 months+ | Maximum child weight: 30kg | Size: L112cm x W65cm x H67cm | Weight: 3.6kg | Assembly time: None

This all-in-one, lightweight plastic slide can be used straight out of the box – which is a definite bonus for anyone who struggles with assembly but does make storage trickier. The 4 steps are spaced reasonably for a toddler stride and the inbuilt handrail follows them all the way up to the top, so it's well-suited to those still perfecting their balance.

It's great value for money but there are no anti-slip treads, no colour choices and the slope is quite steep, so you land at the bottom with a bit more of a bump that on a bigger slide with a gentler gradient. Also, because it's pretty small, your child will probably grow out of it relatively quickly. But our little testers loved the bug detailing and clambered and slid about on it very happily.

Yvonne, mum to our child tester Kian, 2 (pictured above), was particularly impressed by how "super easy it is to assemble". And she added, "It's pretty sturdy and has a nice cubby underneath – perfect for hide and seek!"

Pros: Great value, suitable for younger toddlers, easy assembly, lightweight, built-in handrail
Cons: Quite small, doesn't fold up for storage, no grips on steps, fairly steep slope, not UV-treated, only comes in green

Available at: Argos

2. Chad Valley 4ft Kids Garden Slide, £30

– Best toddler slide with wide slope

A collage showing a boy at the top of the Chad Valley 4ft Kids Garden Slide next to a picture of the product in a studio

Age: 2+ | Maximum child weight: 30kg | Size: W60cm x D141cm x H78cm | Weight: 4.3kg | Assembly time: 20 mins

This compact, lightweight slide is a great-value choice for a toddler who wants something a bit bigger than a 'baby' slide but isn't quite ready for something too high or too narrow.

It's lovely and bright with groovy curved grab handles at the top of the well-spaced steps, and there's a good lip at the bottom of the beautifully wide 5ft slope to ensure your child doesn't have too much of a bumpy landing. We also like the support strap between the steps and base of the slide that helps provide extra stability.

Natalie, mum to our child tester Theodore, 3 (pictured) was impressed by the price. "And it was fairly easy to put together, too," she added,"as it all just clicks into place. For us, it's the perfect size as I wanted a slide we could have outdoors but wasn't too large to bring inside when the weather is a bit rubbish." Also comes in Pink.

Pros: Good price, extra strap for stability, wide slope
Cons: Not suitable for younger toddlers, not UV-treated, no built-in handrail

Available at: Argos

3. Qwikfold Fun Slide, £35

Best slide for easy storage

Qwikfold Climb n Slide garden slide for toddlers

Age: 18 months+ | Maximum child weight: 50kg | Size: L108cm x W58cm x H66cm | Weight: 3.7kg | Assembly time: 15 mins

This moulded-plastic, good-value slide is bright and dinky. It’s a little smaller than the other starter slides featured here but has a wider slope. One of its key selling points is how easy it is to fold, which makes it a great choice if you want a slide that can easily be moved or stored away.

We like the toddler-friendly handholds at the top, and the wide steps on the ladder but a couple of our child testers' parents felt the top step was maybe a little too close to the top of the slide to make stepping onto the platform as easy as it could be – and one parent with siblings found it felt a little bit "tippy" when 2 excited children were playing on it together (not recommended but it happens).

It's quick to assemble but slotting the parts together takes a bit of strength,. Comes in Orange & Blue (pictured) or Pink & Green.

Pros: Good value, suitable for younger toddlers, easy to fold away, choice of colours, lightweight
Cons: Quite small, no built-in handrail, final step a bit close to the top, not UV-treated

Available at: Very, Amazon and Smyths

4. Smoby Medium 5ft Garden Slide, £69.99

– Best quality slide

Studio shot of Smoby Medium Garden Slide

Age: 2+ | Maximum child weight: 50kg | Size: L159cm x W68cm x H100cm | Weight: 6.5kg | Assembly time: 15 mins

This is a whizzy slide! Made from high-quality, anti-UV-treated PVC, its bright colours will last and, although its super-smooth slope gives it a speedy ride, the gradient ends gently enough for a non-bumpy landing. Most exciting of all, it has a hose attachment underneath (something you only usually see on an older kids' slide), which mean you can turn it into a waterslide on a hot day. Toddler heaven!

It's easy to assemble and we like the grippy steps and the big, loopy hand holds at the top. It doesn't fold, though, so if you want to pack it away, you'll need to disassemble it first. A nice, sturdy buy – not super-tall but should last you child a good few years.

Pros: Great quality, hose attachment, UV-treated, safety grips on steps, reasonable longevity
Cons: No built-in handrail, doesn't fold up for storage, no colour choice

Available at: Amazon, Smyths and Outdoor Slides

5. Little Tikes Toddler Activity Gym Climbing Frame and Slide, £145

– Best first slide

A collage showing two kids playing on the Little Tikes Toddler Activity Gym Climbing Frame and Slide next to a studio shot of the product

Age: 18 months+ | Maximum child weight: 23kg | Size: L77cm x W130cm x H76cm | Weight: 14kg | Assembly time: 30 mins

This young toddler slide comes with a cube-shaped plastic frame that has portholes to crawl through and a hideaway underneath – perfect for a game of hide and seek or a cosy den. But the real advantage of the cube-shaped frame is that it provides extra stability and a lovely big, low platform for a wobbly or tentative first slider.

Assembly is straightforward, with most of the sturdy plastic sides simple slotting together – you just need to add 4 screws and safe plastic coverings at the end.

It's a pretty small slide – both in terms of height off the ground, length of slope and overall size (we could fit it through our back door to take between inside and outside) – but seems to have more longevity than you'd think. Sarah, mum of our 2 child testers (pictured above) said, "This slide is sold as suitable for 18 months but my two, at 2 and 3, are absolutely loving it!"

Pros: Super-stable, extra play features, suitable for younger toddlers
Cons: Pricey, short slope, not suitable for older children, not UV-treated, no built-in handrail, doesn't fold up for storage, no colour choice

Available at: Amazon, Very and Argos

6. Smoby Adventure Car Slide and Sandpit, £226.99

– Best slide with extra features

Smoby Adventure Car Slide and Sandpit

Age: 18 months+ | Maximum child weight: 49kg | Size: L223cm x W68cm x H91cm | Weight: 16.5kg | Assembly time: 45 mins (2 adults)

This all-singing, all-dancing 5ft toddler slide has a car attached to the steps and the car has a (removable) sandpit in its bonnet and a play tunnel through its back wheels, making it a proper little outdoor play centre.

The slide itself has anti-skid steps and a nice gentle gradient, with some good grab handles at the top and a hose attachment underneath to turn it into a waterslide. The car section has a nice wide seat (room enough for 2 small children) and a turning steering wheel and key, as well as a horn, that makes (quite gentle) sounds when you press it (3 x LR44 batteries should be included). And the sandpit is small but sweet and, of course, has a nicely fitting lid to keep the sand dry if it rains. All the plastic parts have been anti-UV-treated.

It can be assembled in under an hour if 2 people work together and at least 1 of you has an electric screwdriver and a spanner but it's definitely not a 'pop it up out of the box' job, and it's clearly something that's going to have to stay put in your garden, rather than be kept it a shed and then brought out whenever you want it. Our child testers' parents found it pretty stable and robust and were absolutely delighted with how much play value it offers.

Pros: Fantastic extra features, great quality, suitable for younger toddlers, hose attachment, UV-treated, safety grips on steps, reasonable longevity
Cons: Pricey, takes a while to assemble, doesn't fold up for storage, no colour choice, no built-in handrail

Available at: Very, Early Learning Centre, Amazon and Robert Dyas

7. Rebo 4ft Toddler Adventure Slide with Wooden Platform and Climbing Wall, £121.46

– Best slide for little climbers

Rebo wooden slide

Age: 3+ | Maximum child weight: 50kg | Size: L70cm x W50cm x H80cm | Weight: 45kg | Assembly time: 1 hour+

Who needs a slide with steps when you can clamber up a mini-climbing wall instead? This wide, injection-moulded plastic slide slope is attached to super-sturdy, pressure-treated timber base with coloured, chunky plastic hand/foot holds that lead up to a wide top platform with good-sized grab handles at the side.

It's very well designed – our testers found the hand/foot holds nicely spaced apart for preschooler limbs (toddlers may need a helping hand) – and we love the storage space underneath for stowing away other garden toys.

It's not quick to assemble (allow a good hour) and you will need a drill for the job. And its impressive solidity means, once you've got it up, you're not going to want to be moving it around. Comes in Green (pictured) or Purple.

Pros: In-built climbing wall, great quality, weather-treated wood, choice of colours
Cons: Pricey, not suitable for younger toddlers, takes a while to assemble, doesn't fold up for storage, no built-in handrail

Available at: Outdoor Toys

8. Smoby Super Megagliss 2-in-1 Slide, £269.99

– Best slide to last several years

Smoby megagliss slide

Age: 2+ | Maximum child weight: 50kg | Size: L177cm (extending to 352cm) x W112cm x H186cm | Weight: 21kg | Assembly time: 20 minutes (2 adults), 1 hour for big version

This cleverly designed plastic slide starts off as a toddler slide but, with the addition of a 2nd module, you can extend its length, its height and its longevity – with a double-dose of slide that's suitable up to 8 years. The plastic is anti-UV treated and it has anti-slip steps and hand holds at the top. It also comes with a ground-fixing kit for extra stability – especially useful when it's assembled in its bigger version.

Our child testers enjoyed the wavy chute but the older ones did point out that it can slow down your whizz to the bottom. It’s not hard to assemble, although it is a 2-person job, taking around 20 minutes for the small slide configuration and up to an hour for the full-length model. The screw heads are very large, and Smoby recommend using £2 coin to tighten the plastic screws instead, which works a treat.

Pros: Great longevity, great quality, safety grips on steps, UV-treated
Cons: Pricey, not suitable for younger toddlers, takes a while to assemble, doesn't fold up for storage, no colour choice, no built-in handrail

Available at: Very, Early Learning Centre, Argos and Amazon

9. Chad Valley Inflatable Water Slide, £165

– Best slide for inflatable family fun

Studio shot of Chad Valley Inflatable Water Slide

Age: 3+ | Maximum child weight: 17kg | Size: L472cm x W204cm x H213cm | Weight: 60kg | Assembly time: 2 mins, plus 15 mins anchoring time

Made from heavy-duty polyester fabric, this water slide has padded, climb-up back, with handholds and foot holes, and a water squirter at the bottom of the slope for extra splash. Our testers played on their slide for hours – and we have the distinct feeling their parents may have had the odd watery whoosh, too...

It comes with an air fan that inflates the whole slide in 2 minutes – and then stays connected to keep it that way while you play. You'll need large area – 4m x 7m – to position your slide in, and you'll need to be near both a water source and an electricity source.

Plus, although inflating the slide is super-quick, you'll need to spend some time anchoring the air fan and making sure you're setting things up so that the fan and your water hose are on opposite sides of the slide and won't come into contact with each other. Comes with a storage bag.

Pros: Large enough for several children at once, water features, quick to inflate/deflate
Cons: Pricey, requires a large space, no built-in handrail, not suitable for younger toddlers, only suitable in hot weather, no colour choice

Available from: Argos

10. TP CrazyWavy 8ft Slide & Stepset, £169.99

– Best preschooler slide

TP Toys CrazyWavy Slide & Stepset

Age: 3+ | Maximum child weight: 100kg | Size: L256cm x W100cm x H167cm | Weight: 10kg | Assembly time: 1 hour

This slide with a traditional steel ladder has a long, wide UV-stabilised plastic slope, steel handrails and a raised, anti-slip pattern on the steps.

Its strong, sturdy shape and wide slope means it's great for preschoolers who want a higher, longer, more 'grown-up' looking slide – our testers agreed you do whoosh down it rewardingly fast – but it's reassuringly solid and the slope has a nice, gentle end to it that means you won't shoot off or land with a bump.

It's not hard to assemble but you'll be lucky to do it in less than an hour. You can also purchase an extension to give you another 1.2m to slide down.

Pros: Good quality, UV-treated, suitable for preschoolers, wide slope, safety grips on steps
Cons: Pricey, not suitable for toddlers, no built-in handrail, longer assembly time, doesn't fold up for storage, no colour choice

Available from: T P Toys, Amazon and Ride On Toys 4U

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How we tested:

When choosing and testing these slides we considered size, price, assembly, sturdiness, age suitablity, extra features and play value.

Out 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our testing during the MadeForMums awards and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club.

Each year, 1000s of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, but instead a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we aim to help you discover what is best for your family.

About the author

Helen is Deputy Editor of MadeForMums, the author of Parenting for Dummies (Wiley, £17.99) and the Head Tester for our MadeForMums Toy Awards. She has written about parenting for Mumsnet, Pregnancy & Birth, Prima Baby, Boots Parenting Club and She Magazine and she's also been Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby. She has 3 boys and a heavy-duty washing machine.

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