Toddlers and pre-school children really benefit from a healthy dose of fresh air every day. Playing outside gives them the opportunity to run around and blow off some steam. Exercise is very important for children and backyard playsets will help get your kids outside practicing their motor skills: they can run, jump, skip, throw and catch, all of which will encourage them to burn energy and maintain a healthy habits.
Young children enjoy exploring their environment and it’s often the simple things that attract their attention: a fluttering butterfly, a caterpillar crawling up a tree trunk, or the wind blowing through the crinkly autumnal leaves. The best backyard playsets will also fire kids’ imagination and encourage them to play together in a more co-operative way. There are lots of backyard playsets to choose from, so to make it easier for you to set up an outdoor play area for toddlers and pre-school children, here are some setups we think would go down a treat.
Summary Table of Our Picks
Step2 Big Splash Waterpark
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Best Backyard Playsets
Kids and water go together like peanut butter and jelly, so an outdoor water play toy is bound to be popular – even in winter! The Step2 Big Splash Waterpark is designed to encourage imaginative water play. The sturdy plastic table comes with lots of fun accessories, so kids can pour water down the slide and spin the water wheel. You can also throw in some plastic cups and pans if you like. There is a drain plug included, to make cleaning nice and easy. Although the table is designed for water play, it can also be used with fine play sand for a slightly different play experience.
Slides never lose their allure, even for big kids, so an outdoor kids’ play area would not be complete without a cute slide for children to play on. The Little Tikes First Slide is perfect for younger children. It’s not too high, so younger kids won’t feel too intimidated about using it, and as long as you place the slide on some play mats, nobody will get hurt if they call off, although the ladder has safety handrails, which snap into place. The slide is bright and easy to clean, plus it can be folded down for compact storage over winter if necessary.
The Grow’n Up Heracles Seesaw is a fun and inexpensive outdoor toy for pre-school children, although it is sturdy enough to be used by older kids too. The seesaw rocks up and down like a traditional seesaw, but to make games more fun, it also rotates 360 degrees on a central post. The seesaw is made from metal, but the seats and handles are plastic for extra comfort. The handles are made from soft grip plastic to ensure younger children stay in their seat. The base of the seesaw can be anchored into place for extra safety when used outdoors.
Kids love to climb and the Lifetime Geometric Dome Climber is the perfect play accessory to help them practice their Spiderman skills. The structure is made from heavy duty powder-coated steel, which is extremely rust and weather resistant. Climbing grips are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). When fully assembled, the climbing dome is 5 foot high and 10 feet in diameter. Kids can climb over it, through it, or throw a blanket over the top and pretend it’s a cave. Isn’t imagination a wonderful thing?
The Step2 Clubhouse Climber is one of the more expensive backyard playsets, but if your budget allows, you should definitely consider investing in this super play structure. The Clubhouse Climber is perfect for kids aged 2-6 years and is large enough to accommodate multiple children at once. There is a lookout tower, a hide-out area, a slide, a skylight, a crawl through tunnel, climbing ladder and ‘clubhouse’. Kids can have lots of fun playing ‘hide and seek’ or imaginative games with their friends. Once assembled, it is a very heavy structure and sturdy enough to live outdoors all year round.
The Super Spinner Swing is a fun variation on a traditional swing. The seat design is large, flat and made from solid engineered plastic and is available in lots of different colors. This is a heavy duty swing seat that holds up to 150 pounds, so one or two kids can play on it comfortably. The swing seat is designed to fix on to an existing swing set or tree – all fixings are included. It takes seconds to install and no assembly is required. Once you have it attached, your kids will be queuing up to play on it!
Backyard playsets don’t always have to be about physical fun – kids can also be creative outdoors! The Outdoor Rhythm Band is designed for young percussionists to have a cool outdoor jam session with their friends. The set includes Bongos, a Deep Babaloo Drum and a Musical Rainwheel. Each piece can be fixed to an outdoor wooden play set, fencing or any other wooden structure (mounting hardware is included).
The Backyard Discovery playhouse is made from cedar wood and features a wooden roof and a front dormer. From the outside, the playhouse looks like an adorable little cottage with ‘French-style’ windows with working shutters and a neat front door with a magnetic latch and doorbell. Inside there is a play sink, play stove and play telephone. There are even window boxes for you and the kids to plant flowers in!
Tell us about your favorite backyard playsets for toddlers and pre-school children in the comments section. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Feature image adapted from image courtesy of Flickr, Funshine and Misadventure.