Unfortunately, COVID-19 has kept many parents indoors or close to the house for months now. If your family is anything like mine, you may be driving each other crazy trying to find things to do. The craziness could be double if your household has a newly-minted toddler roaming around!
Thankfully, our family was able to purchase some water toys last year (along with our patio furniture for toddlers), so we were set as soon as the warm weather came.
You see, water play is one of the most engaging and fun activities for a Toddler.
If you think back, splashing, pouring, and dumping are some of the greatest things about being a kid. Luckily, there are plenty of products marketed to parents of toddlers that claim to be the best outdoor water toys.
We have put together a list of the best outdoor water toys. These have been well researched and tested by veteran parents.
Buying a splash pad for your toddler is like bringing home a water park. Not familiar with them?
Splash pads are small play areas (usually made of plastic) that you can attach a hose to. When the water is turned on, water squirts up like a controlled sprinkler!
These toys are a blessing when you don’t want to get the underlying surface soggy with water. In fact, unless your children are especially splashy, most of the water is recycled and contained within the splash pad.
Some splash pads even educational and have letters and numbers on them. They can also be purchased on the smaller side, which makes them perfect for a toddler. Not to mention, it makes it simple for parents to set up and put away.
Want our recommendation?
As we mentioned above, the splash pad is great as long as you remember to remove it from your lawn before it does damage. However, if your kids regularly forget to put away their toys, they might forget to put away their splash pad as well.
If you want an easier water toy for toddlers that could even help water your grass, look into getting a sprinkler.
Sprinklers for toddlers come in a variety of styles and shapes. When setting up a sprinkler for a toddler to play with, you can control the water volume with the hose.
See if your toddler enjoys when the water is on full blast or if they are more into a little splash at a time! In either case, we have a couple of recommendations based on what our friend’s kids love.
By definition, sprinklers tend to disperse water everywhere.
To keep the water a bit more contained, a great alternative is a water table. Many options exist and you should do your due diligence to consider how your child will interact with it.
Even though small parts are dangerous, you still want the table to have a large number of features. The more opportunities your kids have to dump, pour, and scoop, the better!
If you don’t find an exact water table that you like, you can always make one of these. Sometimes a plastic container with some measuring cups and spoons will do the trick. However, if you’re dead-set on buying one, this is what we’d recommend.
Does your toddler love to help in the kitchen? Even if they’re only pretending, an outdoor kitchen is an excellent opportunity for water play.
A spare wash bin, a couple of old pots and pans, and a garden hose is all you’ll need to duplicate their very own kitchen. This makes a perfect outdoor water toy for toddlers. However, even if you don’t want to build your own, there are some great commercial options to choose from.
Personally, we love the toy sinks for toddlers because they allow you to fill the faucet with water and have it function like a real sink.
Kids can play with the water in the sink, wash dishes, and more. You might be surprised how busy this affordable toy sink will keep your toddler occupied.
Inflatable Pool/Water Play Area
We’ve personally had a hard time finding any local inflatables for sale since the pandemic has been raging. However, there are quite a few options online if your kiddos have their heart set on a pool or play area.
All you need is a backyard with a little extra room and a water source. Depending on the area of your outdoor space, you’ll want to adjust the size of the inflatable accordingly.
Even if you have a smaller outdoor area though, have heart! For toddlers, we love the smaller options anyway. If the inflatable little slide attached, that’s all the better.
You can fill an inflatable pool with some boats, rubber ducks, and even some extra measuring cups to make sure your toddler has plenty of opportunities to explore.
Water walls are amazing (for kids and adults alike, really).
They’re a great way to work on your toddler’s motor skills and also teach them about water flow. Like most truly educational toys, they won’t even realize how much they’re learning!
They’ll simply dump and pour and engineer without knowing how great it is for their developing brain.
Honestly, like the other options above, building a water wall is a fairly simple task. Especially if you have a fence or wall to work with!
However, there are a few commercial options if you don’t want to take the DIY route with this project. Additionally, they’re very colorful!
Unfortunately, boats will have to go hand in hand with a small pool, water container, or water table. However, they are still worth mentioning!
Toy boats will help teach kids about buoyancy and there are many pretend play scenarios that go along with them. They truly augment an existing aquatic setup and make it even better!
Make sure to purchase a boat intended to be in the water and outdoors. Toy boats can get moldy rather quickly if they are left sitting with water in them. Additionally, the harsh rays of the sun can cause cheap plastic to decay and break easily.
Toy House With Water Feature
Since every kid needs their patio, we have to finish with this playhouse that also has water play.
The Step 2 Playtime Canopy Playhouse is set up just like an adult patio with areas to cook, clean, hang out, and entertain. There is a small water feature inside the playhouse and even a sink that can be used for water play.
Since we love all things patio related, and this kid’s playhouse is no exception. I had to include it, right?
Whichever outdoor water toys you decide on for your toddler, I’m sure you’ll make some everlasting memories. Although, they may not remember it all.
However, you’ll start them out with a positive association to summer-time (and probably get a bunch of pictures to embarrass them with later!)