Minimalist Outdoor Toys for Kids: 15 Simple Toys that Encourage Outside Play
We all know that outside play is an essential ingredient to a healthy and happy childhood. While we would all love to have expansive backyards full of trees, rocks and water for our kids to explore, most of us have simple yards that don’t exactly inspire play. To help fix that we are sharing our top picks for the best minimalist outdoor toys that will encourage your kids to play outside for hours.
Outdoor Toys That Minimalist Families Love
Spending time outdoors is so important for our kids.
In fact, research shows that children who regularly play outside
- Develop stronger fine and gross motor skills
- Are less likely to have a Vitamin D deficiency
- Have better sensory skills like balancing and depth perception
- Maintain stronger immune systems
And let’s face it, spending all day inside isn’t good for any of us…especially if you are glued to a screen or device.
And while it would be great to live in a world where we could simply shout, “Hey kids, time to play outside!” most children need a little motivation to get themselves out there.
As a minimal-ish mom, people ask me all the time if I buy toys for my kids and my answer is always the same. Of course!
However, we are very intentional with our purchases and carefully select open-ended toys and try to choose toys that encourage outdoor play as much as possible.
When choosing toys you want to look for items that encourage movement and inspire creativity.
You also want the toy to be used in a variety of ways if possible, so that your child’s imagination is in control of exactly how the toy is played with.
So far this strategy has worked extremely well and our kids play outside every day.
Some may feel that purchasing toys for our kids is indulgent or excessive.
However, I honestly view many of these products as an investment in your child’s development and a gateway to help them establish a love of the outdoors and nature.
Do kids need toys in order to play outside?
Absolutely not, but the reality is that many of us live in suburban neighborhoods, apartments or urban housing developments that don’t have expansive backyard, fields or green spaces for kids to experience hours of unstructured play with rocks, mud and sticks.
If you are looking for some simple, old-fashioned toys to get your kids playing outside too, you are going to love this list!
15 Essential Minimalist Outdoor Toys Kids Love
Kids don't need extravagant toys to enjoy outdoor time. Here's a list of minimalist outdoor toys that will keep your kids entertained for hours.
Swinging is a classic childhood activity.
It's not only fun, there are also many benefits for kids including regulating the vestibular and sensory systems which help to keep our kids calm and happy.
Since many schools have removed swings from their playgrounds having one at home is a great way to encourage your child to get outside and swing their little hearts out.
When the wind is right a kite can provide for hours of fun yet calming outside play. These easy to fly kites require no assembly and guarantee success for even the youngest kids.
As a teacher, I am amazed at how many of my students say they have never ridden a bike.
Bike riding is an essential childhood milestone that has so many benefits, including that it is an outdoor activity.
Even if you can't ride in your neighborhood, loading up the bikes and going to a local trail on the weekends is a great family activity that everyone can enjoy.
The feelings of freedom and success that come when a child learns how to ride a bike are priceless.
I am a huge proponent of allowing children to use real tools, including gardening tools.
When given real tools children feel like they are trusted and are more likely to demonstrate responsibility.
Plus these tools will last a long time, unlike the cheap plastic versions you might be tempted to buy.
Allowing your child the opportunity and giving them the right tools to dig, rake and move dirt, rocks and sand will help them to develop a love of outside play.
I've worked with children for over 20 years and I've never met a child who can say no to bubbles.
The simple act of playing with bubbles can not only convince a child to go outside to play, but can also completely change their mood.
We love this giant bubble kit that makes amazingly strong bubbles that even older kids can enjoy. It's a consumable product that can be used and enjoyed by the entire family.
Another consumable and open-ended outdoor toy your kids will love.
Create art, games and activities for hours with one simple set of colored chalk.
Need inspiration? Check out these easy sidewalk chalk ideas for kids!
Perfect for dodgeball, four square, kickball and a million other games.
The possibilities are endless as kids use their imaginations to come up with games where they can toss, tag and bounce their little hearts out.
Your kids will enjoy hours of outdoor, open-ended play when they have a sandbox.
A great sensory activity that allows for kids to use their imaginations to build roads, castles and anything else they can think of. A classic childhood favorite that never gets old!
The perfect minimalist outdoor toy: nothing more than a cotton rope and two handles.
The perfect invitation to get kids outside and burning off all that extra energy. Jumping rope is a versatile game that you can do on your own or with a group.
You'll have fun teaching your kids all the fun jump rope rhymes, songs and chants that you knew as a kid.
The backyard sized climbing dome is high quality and will last for years.
You'll be amazed with all the ideas your kids come up with from covering it with a sheet to make a fort, to pretending it's a biodome on a far away planet.
Give your kids all the fun of your childhood playground right in your own backyard.
This simple structure is the perfect backdrop for outdoor play.
Watch as your child's imagination turns this simple building into a home, school, store, barn and more.
You'll love watching them play outside and inviting you to join in on the fun.
Another classic childhood toy.
Easy to pull with tons of storage your kids will love being pulled and getting rides in the wagon.
Perfect for transporting dolls, stuffed animals and even pets!
Soak up some vitamin D as you use this fun parachute as a blanket, tent and more. Make the waves of the ocean or a rushing river. A classic toy that will provide tons of smiles and laughs as you create lasting memories in your own backyard.
Just add water! That's all you need to entice kids to get outside and play. They will have fun running, splashing and jumping around as they cool off in the hot summer sun.
You can check out our list of the Best Sprinklers for Kids to see even more fun ideas.
This simple outdoor swing set has everything you need to have your very own playground right in your own backyard.
The kids will play outside for hours as they swing, slide and rock their little hearts out.
There you have it mama! 15 Classic Minimalist Outdoor Toys that your kids will love.
Proven to stand the test of time and provide hours of outside fun for years to come!
Thanks for sharing this great toys idea. I’m sure everyone in my kids will like it.