Garden toys are an absolute must for every family, whether you have a garden, balcony, allotment or no outside space to call your own.
Being able to take bikes and scooters to the park is a great learning experience for the whole family, and if you are lucky enough to have an outside space of your own, not much beats sticky sunscreen afternoons in the garden, exploring nature and playing in the sun, or rain (because this is England so rain is probably going to happen).
Learning to play different sports with the family, and creating new worlds with imaginative play are all big elements of playing outdoors and encouraging your child’s development.
What are the benefits of Outdoor play with garden toys?
There are so many benefits to getting outdoors with your kids. Research shows a number of benefits ranging from increased social skills and awareness, to increased creativity, confidence and independence. Being outdoors is also great for boosting that all important immune system.
No matter the weather, there is an opportunity for your child’s development through exploring new environments, to learning new textures (kids really do love mud) and establishing boundaries with other children and play equipment.
There’s always a learning opportunity when outdoors, from road safety, to animal teaching and tree identification, to establishing boundaries and learning new and interesting textures. And being outdoors is free.
Cabin fever is also very real feeling, particularly when you have kids. Being cooped up at home for days on end surrounded by the same four walls is enough to drive even the most level-headed parents up the walls. So getting outside is a must for parents too. Your mental wellbeing is important too and a couple of hours outside will help both you and your child/ren to feel more balanced, in control and happier.
How does outdoor play help emotional development?
From a scientific perspective, it’s also advised that we spend around three hours a day outside, especially children, encouraging outdoor play and interaction. In the better weather, the sun provides us with a great source of Vitamin D (remember the suncream and hats) which contributes to a healthy immune system and cell growth as well as increasing bone health.
Plus as parents we know that a day outside in the sunshine lends itself to a much easier bedtime from exhausted tanned little ones compared to a day in front of the TV screen.
Benefits of Garden Play
For when you need to get outdoors for those lovely endorphins that only come from being outdoors and playing outside, but don’t want to travel too far, garden play is a key part of a child’s development.
Playing in the garden creates a safe and secure environment for your child to explore and play, meaning you get all the benefits of outdoor play, with the security of knowing you can control the environment and ensure their safety at all times. You can set your boundaries for garden play, and create play areas and activities to fit your needs and the educational and developmental needs of your child.
The freedom of being able to play outdoors means they can make as much noise and mess as they want without creating a stressed atmosphere, increasing their learning abilities.
Garden play can mean everything from nature exploration using gardening toys and planting, climbing and building muscle strength and coordination through climbing frames, and ropes or a homemade obstacle course, to water play with pools and water tables, trying new sports such as football, cricket and tennis and real world play with playhouses and mud kitchens.
A great time to introduce more outdoor and garden play is in the spring holidays and summer holidays, especially if you want to promote social interaction with park trips on bikes and scooters and get that boost of vitamin D from the sun. Even a couple of hours in the sun in the mornings or evenings can help prevent illness and encourage a fondness for the outdoors.
We, as parents, always put so much time and investment into toys for inside the home, particularly for Christmas and birthdays, but investing in good quality outdoor garden toys, perhaps for birthdays (save indoor gifts for Christmas) is something you will not regret and will provide years of fun for the whole family.
Larger play equipment that is built for the garden can last for years and years, and often creates a great base for a huge range of imaginative play outside of the toys initial purpose. A climbing frame can easily become a castle, a fort, a pirate ship, a boat, a tower or a bus. Don’t be afraid to bring some of your indoor toys outside too, so the pirate ship can have a working cafe ( pretend kitchen play food) or a hospital inside the castle for the battling knights (doctors kit and swords).
However, you don’t have to buy big if you don’t have the space. Smaller garden toys, such as sport sets for tennis or golf, as well as gardening sets, water tables and bubble machines make great gifts with endless amounts of fun but with far less mess involved too.
Slides, Trampolines and Swings
For gardens with a bit more space and a wild child with bounds of energy, high activity garden toys like trampolines, slides and swings are a great investment that can last for many years. If you can, a climbing frame with multiple activities is an excellent way to encourage movement, muscle strengthening and confidence whilst remaining in the safety of your home area.
Many climbing frames come with slides, a mix of swing styles as well as climbing ropes, sand pits and climbing walls, dependent on your budget and space available. These can range from ages 3-12 years, meaning years of playtime fun in the garden whilst you watch from the safety of the patio with a cuppa.
Playhouses, whether traditional wooden, or more budget-friendly plastic, are a great way to encourage imaginative play. Wooden ones can be decorated to match your garden too with outdoor paint. Inside you can add chairs and tables, and even a toy kitchen to create a miniature home, for your miniature person. Garden toys like these are made to last and many parents feel to buy these play houses.
You don’t have to live by a playing fields, or join a team to be able to enjoy outdoor sports. You can buy all kinds of toy sport equipment perfect for the garden (or the local park) including your own football goals. These can be put up and down with ease meaning you can put them away safely when not in use, or transport them to somewhere with more space. You can also get full toy sports kits, including cricket sets, so you can have a summer of ball games at the local park with your neighbours. Whoever loses hosts the next BBQ.
There’s just something about water that most kids just absolutely adore. SOowater play toys are a must in every parent’s arsenal. Having water toys outside also means saving a lot of clearing up from the completely necessary splashing that will happen.
No one wants a soaked kitchen and living room, so outdoor water play is essential. Invest in a good blow up pool or paddling pool for your little ones and ride out the heat waves in watery bliss. Just remember to buy a pump too so you don’t have to puff your way through filling it.
Water and sand tables are also a good purchase for smaller gardens and balconies, encouraging water confidence without losing the space that a pool would take. These can also be left outside for longer periods of time as they tend to come with a lid, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning it out after every single use. These are also more water efficient for those conscious of the environment.
For the more adventurous parents, toy water gun pistols are endless amounts of fun for toddlers and old (who doesn’t love a water fight, let’s be honest), and for the parent who don’t want to get drenched by their youngest children, bubble toys and wands are a great way to talk about colours and shapes, and are a whole lot less messy!
Ride Ons for the garden or park
A great way to encourage balance, strengthen muscles and develop coordination is through ride on toys for the garden and outdoors. These can be from as young an age as one year old, with push along trikes and balance bikes, all the way up to their teenage years with electric scooters and bicycles.
For older kids, electric scooters are all the rage being the next step up from a standard scooter. These are battery powered (with a battery charger included) and can get up to around 15mph in speed covering a good distance of 25km on a single charge. These are great for kids and teens that live close to school but don’t want to walk or cycle in. They also fold flat meaning your can take them in the car or on public transport with no problems, making them a better space saver than a bike too. However these aren’t road legal so make sure they stay on footpaths and always wear a helmet.
It’s a rite of passage to learn to ride a bike, and with some many on the market to fit every budget and need, your kids will be thankful for their extra wheels and freedom. You can start them out early with a kids trike, many with push along handles so that can learn from a young age how a bike feels. You can move onto balance bikes and ordinary bikes later with stabilisers when needed as they get older.
Toy Ride In Cars
For younger children, ride in cars are a great way to encourage movement and promote imaginative play. From traditional push-along manual cars from your own childhood, to full battery powered miniature BMWs and MINIs, you’re sure to find the perfect “first car” for your little one and they’ll love learning to drive, which encourages coordination and memory.
Whether you have acres of land, a few square feet, or just an apartment balcony, there is agarden toys that is the perfect fit for your little family and your outdoor adventures.
Let Your Child Love Outdoor Play
Children who play outdoors can develop physically, emotionally, cognitively and imaginatively. They are able to interact with nature and also interact with other children if they are out at the park. Check out range of outdoor toys for kids.