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10 of the best garden slides for toddlers and preschoolers

We've picked out the slide buys, from first slides to curved slides, from folding slides to extending slides – and a sprinkling of water slides, too....

best garden slides

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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When you’re choosing a garden slide, make sure it’s nice and sturdy (particularly if it’s a slide for babies) and that the ladder has good handrails, or at least somewhere nice and grippy to put your hands, and wide steps – maybe even with anti-slip treads – that are well-spaced for small child to climb up comfortably. Wooden slides do look great and are more eco-friendly but are heavy and more expensive and likely to need some time (and possibly expertise) to assemble; plastic slides are lighter, easier to move and can be moulded into fun, wavy shapes but it’s worth checking how durable and weather-resistant the plastic is.

At 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 become toddlers and preschoolers. 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.

There are lots of great slides to find online – from first slides for older babies and toddlers to higher, longer slides that’ll last well into the preschooler 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 look at dozens of them and come up with our best picks to suit a range of ages, prices and slippy-slidey features…

Here’s our pick of the best garden slides for children aged 2 years and up

1. Baby Vivo Brontosaurus Slide, £92

– Best first slide

Age: 2+ | Size: H62cm x L190cm x W32cm | Weight: 30kg | Maximum child weight: 50kg

This polyethlyene dinosaur slide is sturdy and very stable – with 4 nice wide steps, handrails all the way up to the platform at the top and a lovely gentle slope. We love the design and particularly like how every edge is rounded and every screw is covered for safety.

It’s not light but it is easy to assemble and disassemble, so can be used indoors and out. It was a big hit with our little testers who all fell in love with that cute bronto face. Also comes as a Giraffe in either Pink, Yellow or Turquoise.

Available from: Amazon

2. Chad Valley Bug Toddler Slide, £25

– Best no-assembly slide

Age: 18 months+ | Size: H67cm x L112cm x W65cm | Weight: 3.6kg | Maximum child weight: 30kg

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 instructions (ie most of us!). The 4 steps are spaced reasonably for a toddler stride and the inbuilt handrail follows them all the way up to the top.

It’s cheap and cheerful, so there are no anti-slip treads or super-smooth landings and it’s pretty small, so a young toddler will grow out of it pretty soon. But our little testers loved the bug detailing and clambered and slid about on it very happily.

Available from: Argos

3. Little Tikes Easy Store Giant Green Slide, £119.99

– Best handrails

Age: 2+ | Size: H142 cm x L195cm x W120cm (including ladder base) | Weight: 15kg | Maximum child weight: 34kg

This bright, weather-proof plastic slide has a textured steps, a wide ladder base for extra stability and great built-in high handrails – which helped our toddler testers feel super-confident, even though this slide is a little bit higher than the average starter slide.

It’s sturdy enough to be safe for older kids (we sent one 7-year-old down the slide quite happily) and it’s simple to assemble – allow about half an hour – although you do need a bit of heft to lock the pieces into place. And, though it’s quite weighty, it easily folds and locks flat for storage. Our only 2 gripes? You do land with a bit of a bump at the bottom and, although the packaging says it does, it doesn’t fit into every car for transporting home from the shop.

Available from: Smyths Toys, Little Tikes and Very

4. Smoby Medium Garden Slide, £69.99

– Best for quality

Age: 2+ | Size: H100 cm x  L159 cm x W68cm | Weight: 6.5kg | Maximum child weight: 50kg

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!

We like the grippy steps and the big, loopy handrails at the top, and we found it super-easy to assemble (15 mins, tops). 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.

Available from: Smyths Toys, Outdoor Toys, Amazon

5. Rebo 4ft Toddler Adventure Slide with Wooden Platform and Climbing Wall, £129.95

– Best for little climbers 

Age: 3+ | Size: H80cm x L70 cm x W50 cm | Weight: 45kg | Maximum child weight: 50kg

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.

Available from: Outdoor Toys

6. Qwikfold Climb n Slide, £35

– Best light slide for moving indoors and out

Age: 18m+ | Size: H66 cm x L108cm x W58 cm | Weight: 3.7kg | Maximum child weight: 50kg

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 and it’s very light and easy to fold – which makes it a great choice if you want a slide that you can easily move to use for indoor play as well as out.

We like the toddler-friendly handrails at the top, and the wide steps on the ladder, but a couple of 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 (15 mins) but slotting the parts together takes a bit of strength. Comes in Orange & Blue or Pink & Green.

Available from: Smyths Toys

7. Smoby Super Megagliss 2 in 1 Slide, £250

– Best versatile/future-proof slide

Age: 2+ | Size: H186cm x L177cm, extending to 352cm x W112cm | Weight: 21kg | Maximum child weight: 50kg

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 7 years+. The plastic is anti-UV treated and it has anti-slip steps and handrails at the top. It also comes with a ground-fixing kit for extra stability – especially useful when it’s assembled in its bigger version.

Out 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 but the screw heads are very large and you may find you don’t have a screwdriver big enough – we had to make do with a knife in the end.

Available from: Selfridges, Smoby, Outdoor Toys, Very and Early Learning Centre

8. Feber Curved Slide, £103.99

– Most fun shape

Age: 3+ | Size: H140 cm x L170cm x W123cm | Weight: 14kg | Maximum child weight: 50kg

This blow-moulded, sunlight-resistant plastic slide has a proper kid-magnet curved slope – all 195cm of it– as well as anti-slip steps and 2 good-size handgrips at the top. You can also hook up a hose to a connector under the top of the slope and turn it into a water slide.

It’s nice and sturdy and fairly fast to assemble (20 mins) – though not a slide you’d want to keep dismantling; this one’s meant to be put up to stay up. Our testers didn’t test it in full water-splash mode (no hose to hand!) but they all loved the novelty of a curved whoosh down.

Available from: Amazon and Just Athlete

9. TP CrazyWavy Slide & Stepset, £150

– Best wide slide for children of all ages to use together

Age: 3+ | Size: H167 cm x L256cm x W100cm | Weight: 10kg | Maximum child weight: 100kg

This preschooler slide has a long, wide UV-stabilised plastic slope, steel handrails and a steel steepset with a raised, anti-slip pattern on the steps. Its strong, sturdy shape and wide slope means it’s great for older kids as well – our testers agreed you do whoosh down it rewardingly fast – but the gentle end to the slope means smaller ones 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.

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

10. Chad Valley Inflatable Water Slide, £135

– Best for inflatable family fun

Age: 3+ | Size: H213cm x L472cm x W204cm | Weight: 17kg | Maximum child weight: 60kg

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.

Available from: Argos

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