10 of the best outdoor toys

We pick the best toys for playing outside with – suitable for boys and girls from 18 months up…

MadeForMums reviews are independent and based on expertise and testing. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our product choices.
Best-outdoor-toy-d2672f7

From electric mini sports cars and go karts to water-based games and archery sets, there are all sorts of toys to keep your youngsters occupied outside. Little ones will love large ride-on cars that they can clamber over or instantly engaging toys such as bubble-makers or sprinklers, while older children may prefer skill-based games such as archery or kite-flying.

Advertisement

Either way, there are all sorts of opportunities for learning, development and entertainment right outside our doorsteps.

Here’s our pick of the best outdoor toys, as tested by children, parents and toy experts…

1. Suzuka Air, £169 – best for big spaces

Age: 4-8
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Outdoor Toy – Gold

What is it: A high performance peddle go-kart which looks uber cool and has a height adjustable seat and handbrake.

Why we love it: Your kids will love whizzing around outside on this super stylish go kart from Kettler. It’s strong, robust and has plenty of brilliant design features including an adjustable seat, freewheel facility and pneumatic tyres.

MFM tester Karen, mum to Khail, 5, says: “The Suzuka Air is a well-made toy – it’s very sturdy and was so easy to assemble. The features are great too – the adjusting seat is very practical and means my son will be able to play with it as he grows. It looks durable and the tyres are perfect to grip on any ground, including grass and concrete. The fact that this toy has scratch resistant polyester coating means that if it’s looked after it could last well too.”

It is expensive (at £130 more than the Swingball and archery kit mentioned in this list, for example), but the fact it can last for years means it would work out as good value for money. Just bear in mind that it’s not something that’s easily transportable – if you’re looking for something to take away on holiday with you, you may prefer something like a kite or bubble maker.

Available from: Kettler and Jackson Leisure

2. Mclaren P1 Electric Ride On, £299.99 – best for car-crazy kids

Age: 3-7 years
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Outdoor Toy – Silver

What is it: A seriously impressive electric ride-on sports car, modelled on a McLaren sports car. It features a 6V rechargeable battery and a top speed of 3.8kph, as well as working headlights, adjustable seat belt, horn, upward-tilting doors and the ability to connect to an MP3 player to play music.

Why we love it: Car-obsessed children (and their parents!) will go mad for this sports car, which has some pretty amazing features.

Striking in its bright orange colour, it has fun upward-lifting doors, just like a real Mclaren, as well as a foot-operated pedal and 3 gears.

MFM tester Jonquil, mum to Benjamin, 4, says: “This is a lovely piece of kit and totally dazzling in its appearance and technical features! There is very little more that you’d expect it to do and there it has some delightful features. In addition to the wow factor of being able to drive a car around with music playing, this toy is teaching Benjamin some seriously sophisticated spatial awareness.”

At £300, this really isn’t cheap (the Suzuka Air Go Kart is nearly half this price) and it is quite big to store. However, if you’ve got the space for it and the money to spend, your kids will love it.

Available from: Rideon Toys 4 u and The Model Hut

3. Little Tikes Fun Zone Pop ‘n Splash Surprise, £69.99 – best for water-based fun

Age: 2-5
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Outdoor Toy – Bronze

What is it: A fun-packed game perfect for outside fun. Turn the spinning wheel and then follow the instructions by either stepping on the stomp pad, using the hand pump or turning the crank to raise the water level and launch the balls out the top.

Why we love it: This delightful game is bursting with surprises and kids will love the sense of anticipation it brings.

MFM tester Leona, mum to Hugo-Blaze, 3, says: “This was much bigger than expected and felt like a real sturdy purchase. It’s a great toy and the sprinkle aspect of this is really good – the water went so far and all involved had to get wet! We really did love this!”

It’s a bit tricky and time-consuming to put together – unlike something like the Little Tikes Coupe Car or John Lewis Wheelbarrow – but it’s well worth it for the excitement it brings.

Available from: Little Tikes, John Lewis and Amazon

4. Jumpking UFO Swing, £189 – best for playground fans

Age: 3+

What is it: A stylish free-standing swing that moves in all directions and can carry two children at once.

Why we love it: This uber-cool swing allows you to recreate some of the fun of the playground in your very own back garden. It’s great that the swing can move in all directions and rotate 360 degrees and our child testers loved leaning backwards and looking up at the sky while they moved.

The fact it can carry more than one child (up to a weight limit of 45kg) is also a major bonus. MFM tester Brogan, mum to Margarita, 3, and Andreas, 4, says: “Both of my children were super excited to get on the swing together which is a miracle because they’d been fighting over toys all morning! The spent the entire morning on the swing and were amazed by the fact that they could swing in all different directions rather than just backwards and forwards. Also, the fabric on the seat unit is so easy to wipe down after rainfall and the minimal design means it’s simple to keep clean.”

At £189, this isn’t the cheapest outdoor toy (the Little Tikes Fun Zone Pop ‘n Splash Surprise is less than half the cost, for example), but our testers agreed that it’s well worth the price. And, while it’s not exactly small, it’s minimalistic design won’t stand out in a compact garden.

Available from: Jumpking and Wayfair

5. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Car, £44.99 – best for younger children

Age: 18 months +

What is it: The classic little red car that’s been loved by kids throughout the decades. Features include a working horn, a storage area in the boot, a little petrol cap that can be opened and closed and a removable floorboard.

Why we love it: What’s not to love about this Little Tikes car? Young toddlers will be captivated by the bright colours and smiley face, and will love clambering in and out (and in, and out!) of it.

When they’re old enough, the floorboard can be removed and they can power the car with their feet themselves. It’s good, simple fun and great for small and big gardens alike.

Older kids may be disappointed it doesn’t do more or go faster (which is where the likes of the Suzuka Air go kart and Mclaren car come in) but this won’t be a problem for little ones.

Available from: Smyths, Argos and John Lewis 

6. Pro Swingball All Surface, £34.99 – best for burning off energy

Age: 6+

What is it: The classic idea of Swingball taken to a new level! This updated version is taller and faster than the original and can pack away into the base for easy storage. Includes two bats and a real tennis ball.

Why we love it: If you’ve got kids that are bursting with excess energy, Swingball is a great way to help them burn off some steam. We love this version which is suitable for all surfaces, and can also be packed away for easy storage and transportability.

Although it’s best played with others, kids can also enjoy the game by themselves. Just be careful of any rogue shots – the bats and ball are quite hard and can hurt if you’re not paying attention! If you do have quite boisterous children, you may prefer a less rigorous game, such as archery or bubble making.

Available from: Argos, Smyths and Amazon

Giant-bubble-kit

7. Dr Zigs My First Giant Bubble Kit, £15.95 – best for all ages

Age: 3+

What is it: A fantastic kit that helps little ones create giant bubbles using eco-friendly bubble mixture and wooden wands made from sustainably sourced materials. Includes 1 bottle of concentrated bubble mix (which makes 1litre of mix in total) and 1 bubble wand with giant bubble rope attached.

Why we love it: Bubbles are a huge hit with kids of all ages, and youngsters will love using these giant wooden wands. We love the ethical credentials of this toy – the wands are made from sustainably sourced wood with 100% natural untreated cotton ropes, and the bubble mix is a biodegradable formula which is phosphate, paraben and palm oil-free.

It’s also really easily transportable, so it’s great to take to the park or away on holiday. It might not be quite as snazzy as the likes of the Mclaren electric car, but it’s simple – and affordable – entertainment.

Available from: BabiPur and Ethical Superstore

Archery-Set

8. Geologic SoftArchery Archery Set 100, £34.99 – best for learning a new skill

Age: 8+

What is it: A fun archery kit that includes 1 bow, 2 suction cup arrows and a freestanding target.

Why we love it: This sturdy archery kit will be an instant hit with your kids, who will really enjoy practising their skills and trying to hit the target.

We love the fact the target itself can be used as storage box for the bow and arrows and that the whole kit is easily transportable – it would be perfect to take away on a family camping trip.

The bow is also suitable for both right and left-handed archers – which is a major bonus. The only problem is there’s just one bow – and some children may find it hard to share.

Available from: Decathlon

9. John Lewis & Partners Garden Wheelbarrows and Tools, £15 – best for budding gardeners

Age: 3+

What is it: A colourful set of gardening tools, including a wheelbarrow, watering can, secateurs, loppers, a dibber, rake and pick-axe.

Why we love it: Budding gardeners will really enjoy following Mum or Dad around the plot, using their own little tools. We love just how much is included in this set and the fact it’s really reasonably priced. You can even buy a lawnmower to go with it for just £10!

The smaller items are really easy to transport, so it’s simple to take to Granny’s for the day if you wish. It might not be quite as exciting or thrilling as some of the other things on this list (such as the Little Tikes Fun Zone Pop ‘n Splash Surprise), but we can guarantee it will keep your little one amused for a good length of time.

Available from: John Lewis

10. Brookite Bermuda Bird Kite, £14.99 – best for windy days

Age: 6+

What is it: A bird-shaped single line kite which is easy to fly. Dimensions are 140 x 60cm.

Why we love it: Flying a kite with your family in the park or on the beach is the sort of stuff long-lasting memories are made of and this colourful bird-shaped option is perfect for all the family. The ribbons on the end will flap in the air and kids will love watching the bird swoop with the wind.

We love how easily transportable it is and the fact it will appeal to children (and adults) or all ages.

Of course, the joy of this toy does depend on the weather conditions outside (unlike things like Suzuka Air go kart which can be enjoyed whenever), but we think it’s one of those toys that’s worth making space for in your cupboard.

Available from: Argos, Wonderland Models and OnBuy

Advertisement

We’ve got more award-winning toys here…

Comments ()

Please read our Chat guidelines.