My kids, ages 5, 3 and 2, absolutely love summer. They love the days where the sun is hot and popsicles are aplenty. They enjoy lazy mornings eating waffles on the screened porch, while mom sips her hot coffee. They talk non-stop about trips to the pool and cooling off in the local splash pads.
But let’s be honest. The thrill of these summertime staples wanes quickly and before you know it, you’ve run out of summertime activities. And let’s be honest – trips to the pool with preschoolers in tow aren’t exactly…relaxing.
You begin to hear the dreaded, “I’M BORED, MOM.”
If you find yourself wishing you had signed your kids up for several more weeks of summer camp, I’m here to solve your problems! Perhaps you’ve met my best little friend, known to most of the world as Amazon Prime.
Through the last few summers, we’ve amassed a handful of goodies (mostly from Amazon) that have turned our backyard into a summertime playground. Our kids are incredibly happy spending most afternoons outdoors – and I love being able to kick up my feet and watch my kids enjoy life.
Water Table: If you have preschool-aged children (or even older), a water table is my number one recommendation! We have this one: Step 2 Water Table and I can personally vouch for its durability and appeal to a wide range of ages. And, if it gets dirty (as outdoor toys do), I toss my kids a few baby wipes and they love wiping it down until it looks new!
Scooter: Our kids whip around on these things like they are competing for a medal at the X games. The scooters help with balance, its good exercise, and most importantly, its fun! We have the Micro Mini Deluxe scooters and I highly recommend them.
Bubbles: To be honest, we’ve owned our fair share of bubble machines over the years and not a single one of them lasts very long. We stock up on bubble wands frequently from the dollar spot at Target, but if you’re looking for most bubble bang for your buck – we’ve grabbed this Gazillion Bubbles Hurricane Machine and it produces lots and lots of bubbles, which delights kids and kids-at-heart. The batteries last a long time, but unless you’re following detailed instructions for washing the machine after2 each use (who has time for that?!) – the machine will jam up and stop functioning properly.
Water Balloons and Sprinklers: If you don’t have the energy to bring your kiddos to a crowded splash pad, why not create one in your own backyard? We love the Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Sprinkler. It’s inexpensive and fairly durable and doesn’t take up much space when its time to clean up.
We haven’t ordered the Bunch O Balloons yet, but they will definitely be in my Amazon cart once summer hits us full blast. My girls are going to love them! And, might I suggest, make cleaning up the balloon trash a competition when it’s time to pick up.
Water Beads: Have you ever seen water beads before? They are absolutely fascinating! You receive a small plastic jar with thousands of tiny beads inside. I love dumping them in our water table and filling it with water. The beads swell up with water and create a wet, cool, sensory experience for your child. And to be honest, adults like them just as much.
I hope some of my backyard toy recommendations have sparked ideas to create your own backyard oasis to play in with your children this summer! I’d love to hear any additional summer must-have toys in the comments.