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Toddlers need something to do outside too! Don’t leave little ones out when the family is getting together to play yard games together. Here’s some of the best yard games for toddlers that they can play alone, alongside you, or that you can play together!
Best Yard Games for Toddlers
Little kids love being part of the action. The only downside is that toddlers usually don’t have the size, strength, or dexterity to join into games made for older kids or adults. Thankfully they actually make toddler-friendly outdoor games that completely solve that problem.
Most of these games are variations on some of the most popular yard games. If you’re having a family event that includes toddlers, grab a few to keep around so little ones can play alongside the adults. Or pick up some of these fun games for your backyard.
Why Yard Games are Good for Toddlers
Playing games of all kinds are great for early childhood development. Toddlers learn through play. That includes playing outdoor games like these ones!
First of all, all these games help teach hand eye coordination. The more toddlers practice different types of movements the more capable they’ll be at moving their boy. This eventually turns into skills they’ll need as preschoolers and kindergartens like kicking a ball, playing catch, or playing more complex games.
Second, many games involve turn taking. By playing with their friends or with parents, toddlers learn how to take turns. It might seem simple to us adults but for little ones who still think the world revolves around them it can be upsetting when they have to share. Games are a fun way to practice taking turns because they’re usually amusing to play and watch.
Third, it makes them feel like they’re part of something. If all the adults and older kids are playing yard games toddlers can feel left out. A lot of people make the mistake of treating toddlers too much like babies – when really they’re already forming their own thoughts and feelings. Having their very own yard games to play will make them feel like they’re doing what all the “big kids and grown ups” get to do.
Bean Bag Toss Game
Bean bag toss games are perfect for toddlers because they’re so simple to play and understand. Once you get it set up, toddlers can practice their aim and throwing by trying to get the bean bags into the three holes.
As kids build their throwing skills you can challenge them by having them toss from farther and farther away. Older kids can also practice their math skills by tallying up scores.
- Good for indoors and outside
- Comes with stakes to hold it in the ground
- Kids of multiple ages (and parents) can play together
- On the smaller side
- Hard to fold (comes with a bag)
- Not super sturdy (can be easily knocked over)
Best for: Older toddlers, preschoolers
This is going to rock your toddler’s world, guaranteed. I’ve never seen my kids as happy when they were small as when the parachute came out when we were with a group. It’s best enjoyed with a group so bring it along to the park or on a playdate.
There are so many different games you can play with a parachute. By getting creative you can also incorporate other learning activities to your games as well.
- Good colours
- Has handles
- Better enjoyed with a group
- Material is thin
- Most games need adults to facilitate
Best for: All ages, groups
Franklin Sports Kids Mini Soccer Goal Set
We’re Canadian so I have to confess here that we don’t have this exact set, we have a hockey net instead. Both are great for toddlers though! I actually picked it up for my own toddler twins. That’s a testament to the durability too – they haven’t broken the net yet!
This set is nice because it comes with a good quality soccer ball, the pump, and stakes to keep the net in place. The net is small, which is perfect for toddlers just learning how to run, kick, and score. The soccer ball is also mini size which will make handling it easier for little hands (and feet.)
- Folds flat for easy storage
- Comes with everything you need
- Sturdy and durable
- You need two to play a “game”
- Ball might need upgrading as kids gain soccer skills
- Not very adult friendly
Best for: Toddlers and preschoolers, but not older kids or adults
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Clicker Crab Toss and Grip Catching Game
All my kids lover catcher games, they’re just so much fun. It takes some of the challenges out of playing catch which is great for younger kids, especially toddlers. Most toddlers haven’t yet mastered being able to open their hands to catch a ball, but they don’t need that with a set like this. That way they can work on developing their hand eye coordination and gross motor skills without getting frustrated.
The crabs and balls are super soft so you don’t need to worry about anyone getting hurt. It also comes with an extra ball… Just in case.
- Soft and safe
- Sticky enough that the ball is easy to catch
- Adults can wear them too
- Small; kids have to play close up
- Younger toddlers might need help getting the ball free or putting on the mitt
- Can be a hard game for kids to master
Best for: Toddlers and adults to play together
GIGGLE N GO Kids Bowling Set
Bowling is such a simple and fun game. And what toddler does not delight in knocking things over? This isn’t your typical kids’ bowling game, though.
The bowling pins and the balls are inflatable. They’re actually quite a bit larger than you’d expect, which makes them easy targets for little ones to hit. The oversized inflatable bowling ball is lightweight, which means little kids won’t struggle to hit it.
The only downside is that younger toddlers won’t be big enough to hold the ball. To fix that, I’d just have them kick or push the ball into the bowling pins instead.
- Super fun set for kids and adults
- The bases of the pins are weighted so they stand up
- Everything is made of PVC so it’s durable (despite being inflatable)
- Tricky for little hands
- Might not stay up if it’s really windy
- Takes awhile to pump everything up
Best for: The whole family
What are the Best Yard Games for Toddlers?
All of these games are going to be super fun for young kids. It’s pretty tough to find things that are toddler friendly, since toddlers’ gaming skills are still emerging. Thankfully, most of these yard games are going to hold up for a few years and your toddler will get more out of them as they grow.
If you’re looking for a super easy game that you can play with your toddler or that they’ll have fun with themselves, I would go with the bean bag toss game. While it’s a pretty simple product, I love the versatility of it. Plus I’ve never met a kid that doesn’t love playing bean bag toss.
You can play inside or outdoors, toddlers can play alone or with parents, and you can make the game easier or more difficult based on where you stand. It would also be perfect set up alongside adult throwing games at a family BBQ or campsite.
Speaking of, set up and portability is another reason why it’s my favourite. You don’t have to do anything special to get the game up and running, and when you’re done it folds back into the included bag.
If you’re shopping for big family, daycare, or have regular playdates with your toddler and their friends I would also highly recommend the parachute game. Seriously, you’ll be amazed at how excited the kids will be each and every time you pull out the parachute.
The only reason why it’s not my top pick is because it’s really best played with a group. You’ll also need to look up some games to play with it – they make it so much better. I’d also highly recommend getting some plastic balls to bounce on top!
Final Thoughts on the Best Yard Games for Toddlers
All of these yard games are going to be awesome for toddlers. Some will be fun all through the preschool years, others are perfect for a wide range of ages including adults. When it comes to toddler friendly yard games, you really can’t go wrong with any of these options.
What’s really important for toddlers is that they have a variety of games and toys to practice gross motor skills and hand eye coordination, plus soft skills like practice and taking turns. All of these games are going to achieve that.
Toddlers learn best when they have adults out there playing with them. If you’re not sure what to get, go with the games you’ll have the most fun playing with your toddler!