11 Best Outdoor Toys For A Three-Year-Old In 2024 And Buying Guide

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Keep your little one active and engaged with the best outdoor toys for 3-year-olds. Outdoor toys help improve your child’s endurance, stamina, and hand-eye coordination. They teach them how to use their imagination for creative play. Available in various designs, colors, and features, these entertaining toys keep your child away from screens and encourage them to play outside with their friends.

When choosing outdoor toys for your 3-year-old, ensure they are made of safe and child-friendly materials to prevent injuries or choking hazards. So, go through our list to choose a suitable toy that encourages learning through play.

In This Article

11 Best Outdoor Toys For A Three-Year-Old

1. Best Sturdy Plastic:Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set

4.7
Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set Image: Little Tikes

The basketball set by Little Tikes stirs up your little one’s interest in active sports while improving their motor skills. It is made of high-quality, sturdy plastic material and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor play. The backyard toy set includes a basketball hoop stand and three small-sized basketballs that are easy for three-year-olds to hold. In addition, the tried-and-trusted toy set can help improve social skills and patience among children by encouraging them to interact with each other and take turns when playing.

Batteries: 1 AA batteries required | Item Weight: 9 pounds | Product Dimensions: 23.75 x 22 x 61 inches

Pros

  • Adjustable stand height from 2.5 to 4 feet
  • Child-safe design
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Encourages active participation

Cons

  • May be a bit wobbly if not weighted with sand
  • Net may be a bit flimsy

2. Best Easy-To-Assemble:Step2 Tropical Rainforest Water Table

4.7

Stimulate your child’s imagination and creativity with Step2’s tropical rainforest water table featuring vivid details and vibrant colors to engage children. This 13-piece rainforest-themed table toy set from the trusted brand is made of superior-quality plastic and is easy to assemble. The rain shower effect, realistic sounds, and various jungle-themed accessories encourage water play and make it a suitable educational toy to introduce your child to wildlife in the rainforest. The table for outdoor spaces can hold up to five gallons of water and is large enough for several children to play together.

Item Weight: 12.77 pounds | Product Dimensions: 39 x 24 x 32 inches

Pros

  • Helps develop social skills
  • Easy to clean
  • Includes a built-in non-leak drain plug
  • Encourages sensory play and exploration
  • Helps keep children occupied for a long time

Cons

  • Water might accumulate in the legs
  • May not be scratch-proof

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This tropical water table has been a fun addition to our home. My kids find its vibrant theme captivating and love engaging in the fun water activities. Assembling it is a complete DIY project, but overall, it is a solid choice to bring sensory experience to outdoor play."


3. Best BPA-Free: Zen Laboratory Splash Pad Water Sprinkler

The splash pad water sprinkler with three adjustable spray heights is ideal for a fun outdoor activity for your child during the summer. This parent-recommended spinning turtle sprinkler pad measures 68 inches in diameter and acts as a mini waterpark in your garden during summertime. Built for children aged two to ten and those who are yet to learn swimming, this inflatable outdoor toy is a safe choice due to its non-slippery base.

The material is free of BPA and phthalates, making it safe for young children. You can also use it for bathing your dog. It has a compact design and is resistant to wear and tear, making it ideal for fun sprinkler parties.

Color: Blue | Material: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) | Item Weight: 3.56 pounds | Product Dimensions: 68 x 68 x 1 inches

Pros

  • Backyard-friendly
  • Easy to fold
  • Encourages physical activity
  • Easy installation
  • Quality construction

Cons

  • May not be suitable for uneven ground
  • Water may spill out of the pool
protip_icon Caution
Ensure children do not swallow water at the splash pad, as most splash pads recirculate water, which can become contaminated with germs after multiple recirculations.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 10,526 independent reviewers on Amazon have acknowledged the product's durability and functionality.

4. Best Eco-Friendly Polymer: BooTaa Airplane Toys

The foam airplane, made of eco-friendly polymer, is easy to assemble and a fun outdoor toy for a three-year-old. It is lightweight, so it does not put too much pressure on their arms even after long hours of play. Insert the wing pieces into the given slots, and your child is ready to use the toy. The safety-tested toy, available in two colors, teaches your child the abstract concepts of flying dynamics, balance and improves their hand-eye coordination.

You can set up the toy in various ways to make it fly in different ways, which will help your child understand the concepts of weight and air. You could let them swing and throw the toy in any direction without the fear of wear and tear. Take a look at this video to know more about the backyard toy.

Item Weight: 4.5 ounces | Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 4.7 x 2 inches

Pros

  • Dual flight mode
  • Safe to use
  • Improves critical thinking skills
  • No need of batteries
  • Includes a one-year warranty

Cons

  • Might not be suitable for crowded areas
  • Some parts may seem flimsy

Our Reviewer's Experience

"Despite their foam material, these planes are remarkably sturdy. I had a lot of fun playing with these planes with my daughter on our recent outing. She likes their vibrant color, and it has been a solid choice for encouraging active play."


protip_icon Quick Tip
Instruct children to throw the airplane in a straight line without sudden or jerky movements to maximize its flight distance.

5. Best For Hand-Eye Coordination: iPlay, iLearn Kids Golf Toys Set

4.4
iPlay, iLearn Kids Golf Toys Set Image: Iplay, Ilearn

The iPlay, iLearn golf package is an excellent outdoor toy for three-year-olds because it enhances their visual perception and hand-eye coordination. Its game pieces are easy to assimilate and ambidextrous in design. Assist your child in learning to play with this exciting outdoor game from a young age, as it helps strengthen their limb muscles.

The outdoor game set includes 15 golf balls, one ball-to-tee trainer, and one putter. It is easy to carry around and comes in two calming colors. This durable package also includes adjustable handles that you can alter to suit your growing child’s needs. The toy helps enhance children’s gross motor skills.

Item Weight: 2.58 pounds | Product Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 4 inches

Pros

  • Suitable for parent-child activity
  • Safe to use
  • Suitable to pique your child’s interest in science
  • Enhances child’s motor skills
  • Backyard-friendly

Cons

  • Might not suit left-handed children
  • Might not suit tall children

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Over 1,936 satisfied customers have left positive reviews about the product on Amazon.

6. Best For Motor Skills:Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table

4.6
Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play Table Image: Little Tikes

Fire your little one’s imagination and develop their motor and sharing skills with the Little Tikes Spiralin’ play table. It can hold up to seven gallons of water, allowing your child to splash and experience different sensory inputs.

This water toy by the trusted brand features a Ferris wheel that drops and lifts the balls from the water. Your child can also drop the balls through the center spiral attachment and scoop them with the Ferris wheel for non-stop fun. This play table is also equipped with two water wheels that can be powered by passing water through the funnel.

Item Weight: 11.88 pounds | Product Dimensions: 30 x 29.62 x 7.38 inches

Pros

  • Made of sturdy material
  • Easy to drain
  • Wide legs provide stability
  • Includes five water-squirting characters

Cons

  • May rotate slower than expected
  • Assembling can be challenging for some

7. Best For Concentration: RaboSky Bean Bag Toss Game Toy

The easy toss game toy for toddlers by Rabosky can help improve your child’s balance and hand-eye coordination. The outdoor toy for three-year-olds features fun dinosaur and turtle designs to keep their attention. Your child must throw the bean bags into one of four holes. This toy is ideal for picnics because of its small size.

By assisting children in aiming directly into the baskets, you can help them develop their concentration skills. The bean bags are of the perfect size to avoid straining your child’s still-developing muscles.

Item Weight: 1.15 pounds | Product Dimensions: 23.62 x 19.69 x 11.81 inches

Pros

  • Develops gross motor skills
  • Helps in number recognition
  • Lightweight folding design
  • Portable handle-bag

Cons

  • May collapse
  • Seams may not be durable

8. Best Long-Lasting Material: ToyVelt Kids Camping Tent Set

The ToyVelt camping kit brings out the best in your child. This outdoor toy for three-year-olds includes all the camping essentials, such as a tent, watch, and thermometer, and will spark children’s imagination. It has a three-in-one flashlight with a compass and whistle to help them learn how to navigate. The easy-to-assemble miniature tent is long-lasting and can make outdoor time even more fun.

This kit, which includes a telescope and a walkie-talkie, will bring out the explorer in your child. To get the exploration party underway, all you need is a broad garden or park and six AA batteries. The collection also includes miniature pretend food accessories to make imaginary camping trips look more realistic.

Item Weight: 2 pounds

Pros

  • Suitable for indoors and outdoors
  • Durable
  • Child-safe materials
  • Premium quality

Cons

  • Batteries not included for walkie-talkie
  • Walkie-talkie may not have long transmission range

9. Best For Group Play:Step2 Crazy Maze Toddler Ball Pit

4.6

Engage your child in endless fun with the Step2 Crazy Maze toddler ball pit that allows multiple children to play simultaneously. It provides hours of fun and aids in overall cognitive development with improved children’s imagination, critical thinking, hand-eye coordination, language, and motor skills.

When dropped from the roof, the plastic balls travel through a maze creating clinking sounds. Your child can throw the balls on the roof manually or use the flipper or pouring pitcher. The set also has a Dutch door to encourage active play, and the bottom basin doubles as a storage box to hold the 20 colorful plastic balls.

Material: Plastic | Item Weight: 36 pounds | Product Dimensions: 33 x 36 x 42 inches

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Easy to wipe clean
  • Develops color recognition
  • Compatible with other balls of the same size

Cons

  • May not be easy to assemble
  • Some might find it taller than expected

Our Tester's Experience

"This playhouse is my child's favorite during playdates. It doubles as a ball pit and works great to keep his friends entertained with various physical activities. Assembling it requires some teamwork, but seeing the joy it brings to my child was worth it."


10. Best For Physical Fitness: Aunnitery Toss And Catch Ball Set

Keep your child away from screens with this Aunnitery toss-and-catch ball set. This paddle game is suitable for all outdoor spaces, including backyard, lawn, beach, and park. The disc has durable nylon sticky cloth that holds the ball with ease. This toy can enhance your little one’s physical fitness and help them stay active. It also promotes interaction among the players. The set includes six soft balls, three paddles, and a rear holding strap that is adjustable to suit people of different ages.

Material: ‎Plastic | Color: ‎Blue | Item Weight: ‎500 Grams

Pros

  • Reinforced plastic disc
  • Encourages physical activity
  • Made of high-quality ABS material
  • Comes with a drawstring bag
  • Encourages hand-eye coordination

Cons

  • Ball may bounce off sometimes
  • May not be water-resistant

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I found the paddles well-crafted and perfectly sized, and the three included balls are a plus. Also, it comes with a carry bag to keep the set together, which is a thoughtful touch."


11. Best Refreshing:Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center

4.2
Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center Image: Intex

Intex’s rainbow-themed ring play center is ideal for creating a mini pool during the summer. The play center includes four inflatable rings, six plastic balls, a drain plug, and a repair patch for patching up small wear and tears. The backyard toy allows your child to slide and land on a padded mat, enjoy a refreshing shower under the water spray, slide balls on its surface, or toss a ring.

You can also connect the play center’s sprayer to the garden hose for continuous water flow and make playtime even more fun.

When dropped from the roof, the balls travel through a maze creating clinking sounds. Your child can throw the balls on the roof manually or use the flipper or pouring pitcher. The set also has a Dutch door to encourage active play, and the bottom basin doubles as a storage box to hold the 20 colorful balls.

Color: Multicolor, Orange | Material: Plastic | Item Weight: 11.7 ounces

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Large-sized
  • Lightweight and foldable
  • Vibrant colors

Cons

  • Rainbow add-on may be floppy
  • May not include an air pump

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This sprinkler was a hit with the kids this summer—they would spend hours with it in the backyard on a sunny day. Although getting the water pressure right was tricky, it is manageable. It also works great to water the plants!"


*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

How To Choose The Right Outdoor Toy For A Three-Year-Old?

Here’s a comprehensive guide on what you must consider while purchasing an outdoor toy for a toddler.

1. Durability: Since plastic is lightweight and less susceptible to breakage, it is an excellent option for children’s toys. However, make sure to buy good-quality toys made of BPA- and phthalate-free plastic.

2. Play type: Purchase toys that encourage coordinative play, pretend play, and solitary play.

3. Safety: Check if it is a safe toy for your toddler. Consider safety-tested toys with non-slippery bases, ergonomic handles, and lightweight foam construction. Go through the product reviews and opt for parent-recommended and age-appropriate outdoor toys to ensure your child’s safety.

4. Size and weight: Ensure the toy is in the size and weight range your toddler can handle. Larger and heavier toys are more challenging to play with, and they also pose a risk of injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do three-year-olds like to play with outside?

When outside, most three-year-olds like to play with toys or games that help them learn and explore their creativity, problem-solving skills, the ability to cooperate with peers, and those that facilitate safe experiments (1).

2. Are outdoor toys safe?

Every outdoor toy has a unique set of rules and restrictions. Adhering to them ensures a safe playtime. Make it a point to carefully review the playing rules or dos and don’ts in the product details provided by the manufacturer for an appropriate assessment.

3. Are outdoor toys worth it?

Yes, safe outdoor playsets are worth it, as they enhance the child’s motor skills and kinesthetic experience, encourage them to be active, prevent excessive screen time, and inculcate a spirit of challenge in them, thus making them braver (2).

4. How long do outdoor toys last?

Outdoor toys can last for a few months to a few years based on the quality of the materials and the amount of rough play they witness.

5. Are outdoor toys washable?

Polypropylene foam-based toys may not be washable. Most outdoor toys can be easily wipe-cleaned. Since the cleaning instructions may differ from one toy to another, reading the care instructions provided by the manufacturer can help you be sure.

6. Does a three-year-old kid learn anything from outdoor toys?

Yes, depending on the type of toy, most three-year-olds can learn a lot from outdoor toys, including hand-eye coordination, sense of balance and direction, critical thinking, and STEM skills.

Why Trust MomJunction?

Priti Bose is an experienced writer and reviewer who covers various domains, including kid’s products. She ensures a detailed analysis and review of various products while shortlisting the toys and gifts for children. Here, she has picked some of the most suitable outdoor toys for three-year-olds. These toys help bring out an imaginative side of your little ones while encouraging them for outdoor activities. Priti has also included a buying guide to help you choose the right outdoor toy for your child.

Outdoor toys help keep children on their feet, motivating them to run and have fun. They also increase their physical strength and stamina. Thus, introducing your child to the best outdoor toys for a three-year-old can aid in their proper childhood development and growth. This list comprises outdoor toys that are sturdy, attractive, lightweight, easy to use, and age-appropriate for toddlers. Also, these toys from trusted brands are made of good-quality plastic, are safe, and may be used for different play activities. So explore these toys and choose your child’s favorite.

Infographic: Things To Consider Before Buying Outdoor Toys For Three-Year-Olds

Outdoor toys can help promote social skills and physical activity in three-year-olds. They can keep your child engaged for hours and away from screens. So, follow the infographic below to find toys that can keep your three-year-old active when playing outdoors.

Buying Guide For Outdoor Toys For Three-Year-Olds

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team


References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. The Importance Of Outdoor Play For Young Children’s Healthy Development:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6806863/
  2. A Young Child’s Perspectives On Outdoor Play:
    https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1108378.pdf

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