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The 6 Best Garden Toys For Toddlers

Garden toys for toddlers are an excellent way to help your child continue to develop, get outside in the fresh air and give you some downtime. From nest swings to trampolines and slides - there are loads of outdoor play options, but here are six of the best ones we think you should consider.

Let’s explore some garden play equipment you can install at home and discover all the benefits for your toddler and you

The benefits of outdoor play

We all know that getting out and about is good for our health, but it is uniquely so for young children and toddlers. At this young age, their bodies are growing and learning faster than they ever will again, so it’s important to make sure they experience everything they need to help them grow healthy.

* Vitamin D from the sun is said to boost the immune system and help bones and muscles grow healthy. The NHS recommends 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day for everyone aged 1+, so outdoor play is a great place to start.
* Playing in nature exposes us to more natural bacteria and microbes. Our exposure to these things has been said to help our immune systems grow strong, develop natural defences and be more robust as we grow. So encouraging outside play from a young age may set them up for the future.
* Kids seem to have endless amounts of energy, but letting them run around in the garden playing can help wear them out in time for bed. 
* Playing in the garden is one of the first steps a child can take toward independence. They can explore at their leisure, try new things in a safe space and be more confident.

There are plenty of health and safety considerations with taking your baby outdoors, but different ones with toddlers. They are more independent and mobile, their curiosity is higher, and they are more active, so you’ll need to make sure they’re comfortable and that the space is safe for them too.

Six of the best toys for toddler development

As well as running around and marvelling at nature, children need stimuli and encouragement to play outside – and that’s where toys come in.

1. The Swings

Swings are one of the staples of public playgrounds, but a swing at home in your garden can help them build confidence and experience the feeling in a safe space. As well as that, swings are supposed to help develop a child’s core muscles as they try to increase momentum and can also improve spatial awareness and their sense of balance via the vestibular system.

Why not get a swing for your garden and show your child how it all works? Some retailers offer swings where parts can be removed as they grow to ensure you can enjoy them for longer.

2. Sand or water tables

Sensory play is essential for young children as it encourages exploration and creativity while boosting their motor skills and sensory development. For instance, sand or water activities provide the opportunity for youngsters to get stuck in and try and feel new things in a safe space to help develop their language skills and support their overall development.

Instead of a sand pit or paddling pool, which can be large and messy to clean up and maintain, consider sand or water activity tables, instead.

3. Gardening tools

Gardening is a great outdoor activity for toddlers as it encourages development in multiple ways. Being outside supports their Vitamin D production, digging and moving things supports their physical and sensory development and waiting for things to grow teaches them valuable mental skills such as patience, responsibility and more.

Why not ask your child to help you grow something easy like sunflowers – they can use special toddler tools to fill pots or dig the ground, and you can look after the seedlings together with regular watering and more.

4. Bubble machines

This one might seem weird, but as well as boosting their moods and mental health, bubble machines can help children improve their visual tracking skills. These skills are essential for hand-eye coordination and extended gross motor skills, so why not whip out the bubble machine, sit down, and watch as your toddler runs to catch them?

5. Ride-on toys

Sit-on cars and toys are more beneficial to the physical side of a toddler’s development as they work to improve hand-eye coordination, leg muscle growth, balancing and other motor skills. However, they can improve a child’s independence and social skills, as well.

Ride-on cars can be a solitary activity, and with some of them, the children are almost protected from bumping into things with their bodies, so they can be left to be creative and play on their own with you watching from a distance. However, they also suit social play as children can work together to race, make up games and more. 

6. Dress up kit

Dressing up in fun costumes is not only an indoor activity. Why not make a safari outfit with magnifying glass or a fairy outfit with wings to encourage your child’s creativity and desire to play outside and explore? These kinds of costumes are ideal for imaginative play and support the development of social, emotional, and cognitive skills, as well. 

Playing outdoors is an essential part of child development as it contributes to many mental and physical changes. The key is to find ones which support your child’s likes, can encourage development where they need it, and suit the space you have available at home. Hopefully, we’ve given you a few good ideas, which one will you try first?