It has been a while since my last blog post and I thought the topic of backyard play would be a good one since we are mostly confined to our homes right now! Garden centres and lumber stores have done well during Covid because people are taking the opportunity to fix up their yards and create their own little private oases. For new moms and dads the feeling of confinement and isolation can already be strong, add in a pandemic and it is especially important to have a calm and safe space outside.
To fully enjoy your lovely outdoor space, invest in a few toys that have developmental and educational benefits, while encouraging your baby to play and get dirty. This posts lists 8 of my favourite backyard baby toys that can grow with your child and provide years of outdoor entertainment.
Inflatable Baby Pool
On hot days splashing around in a cool pool will be such a welcomed treat for your baby. This Lazy Snail pool by Intex offers built-in sunshade as well, which is very important to protect your baby’s skin. Look for one that’s inflatable and not too deep and always stay right beside your baby while she plays in the water.
This is such a wonderful toy and will provide hours and hours of fun for your baby/toddler/young child. There are many options to consider when researching a sandbox for your yard: an economical plastic box, a more expensive wooden box, or a custom built design (a side project for your contractor while he’s building your new deck). Make sure to get a cover for your sandbox so it can be protected each night from rain and animals on the prowl.
Sprinkler Splash Pad
This is a fun sprinkler and very shallow wading pool all in one. Your baby can enjoy the thrills of a splash pad right in your own backyard. Just connect the garden hose and control the water flow with the faucet.
Older babies and toddlers love these bucket swings so why not mount your own in the backyard. Popular models are made out of molded plastic and ropes, or like this one by Eastern Jungle Gym, thin plastic and chains. It can hold up to 150lbs, so as long as your child continues to scream “push me!” he’s safe to climb in.
While your baby won’t really know what these are yet, it’s never too early to get her interested in gardening. She can play with her set of gardening tools while watching you with yours as you dig in the dirt and water plants. As your baby grows she can start helping out more and more!
While not a golfer myself, I thought this baby toy looked very fun and helpful in developing motor skills. As your baby learns to walk he’ll love to drag around the cart and don’t fret about your lawn; no holes are necessary. Baby can putt the ball into the little yellow dome.
Pop Up Tent
There is a vast array of pop up play tents and beach tents on the market for babies and toddlers, all of which could make a great addition to your backyard oasis. Pop up play tents can include tunnels and ball pits, and the pop up beach tents can include extra UV protection and carry bags. This one by Sunba Youth even has a bottom that can double as a mini pool.
Corn Poppers and Mowers
The corn popper push toy by Fisher-Price was a favourite with my babies, and I think the hand-me-down model we had was as old as I was. A true classic. For a more modern push toy, and one that might help to instil some work ethic, check out the Gas ‘N Go Mower by Little Tikes. Your baby can mimic you as you cut the grass.