Thursday, February 26, 2015

Outside Toys Worth the Investment (All-Star Toys)

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Outside weather is coming! It is! I know some of you will find that very hard to believe, while some of you are in it...and some of you are actually approaching winter. Despite your weather situation, let's talk outside toys.

Top Five All-Star Toys

Sidewalk Chalk
Sidewalk Chalk is very enjoyable for all children. It is also very handy for creating fun outdoor learning games. While some chalk is better quality than others, I really just go for whatever is inexpensive. Sometimes the better quality chalk is less expensive than lesser-quality. Chalk gets abused. Some kids basically sit and rub one stick over and over until it is in just a nub. Sometimes chalk gets left out and rain water or sprinkler water soaks it (and then kids decide to soak it intentionally once they realize how cool it is to write with wet chalk). The chalk gets spilled and shatters no matter what brand it is...

This doesn't mean I allow my children free-for-all or offer a never-ending supply of chalk. I plan on buying one container of chalk each spring and let them know that is what they get until the next spring. They can decide how to treat it from there.

Bubbles
Bubbles are loved by pretty much every child out there. Bubbles are great because they work as an outside toy whether you have your own yard or not. You might not be able to go draw sidewalk chalk at the park or all over the sidewalks at your apartment complex, but bubbles will work. You can even blow them inside if you want to. I buy these Bubbles and pour them into smaller bubble containers when they run out. We often buy bubble blowers (or the kids get them as birthday gifts from friends). They have all been lots of fun and a great way to save your breath, but they always break within the same season we got the blower. Just don't expect a bubble blower to last very long.

Some Sort of Bicycle
There are a lot of versions of bikes. You have the Tricycle, the Bicycle, the Balance Bike, the Scooter, the PlasmaCar... There are so many possibilities. They all have their merits and all have their time that your child will favor that particular item. Think about what your storage space capabilities are and what you think your child would like best. I keep trying to think of what is the BEST and I just can't do it. My kids really love the plasma car, and it is easy to ride on from a young age. A bicycle is a must at a certain age--probably by 3. Scooters are a big hit in our neighborhood. My neighbor lives for his balance bike (but Brinley is scared of hers).

Water Table
I did not buy a water table until Brinley's first birthday. Anyone with a water table is likely thinking "What?!?!?" I know! Once we got it, I realized what a huge hit it is with kids. It is such a fun toy. It is a great toy to have outside, especially when it is hot outside. Now, if you don't have space or means for a water table, you can easily make your own version by filling up a large bowl or tote with water and putting it outside to play in. Add some measuring cups from the dollar store and you have a party.

Sandbox
I have a love/hate relationship with our sandbox. I love it because it is an absolute favorite toy in the yard. I hate it because sand gets everywhere. There is always a trail of sand in the house. The hours of fun they have with it make the hate worth it in my life. We made our sandbox, but you can buy them for a reasonable price.



Large All-Star Toys

Swing Set
A swing set is a very fun object to have in the yard. It is a worthy investment. We purchased ours from Swing Kingdom. We have had it for almost six years and we have loved it! We have never regretted it. A fun thing is that they are sturdy enough that adults can use them. There are a lot of nice swing sets out there. Before we got our nice one, we had a basic swing set left behind at the house we bought and that worked great for our kids while they were smaller.

Trampoline
I know a lot of people worry about having a trampoline. My husband was one and I went along with it for many years. When I was pregnant with Brinley, however, I put my foot down and declared we would be purchasing a trampoline. I was about to have a new baby and McKenna was going to be home without siblings and I wanted something I knew would keep her busy and get exercise at the same time. We have loved having it. We got one similar to this.

Our Current All-Star Toys

Basketball Hoop
Last year, we put a basketball hoop in our backyard. This is currently Brayden's favorite thing to play with outside (age 9). This is where he spends most of his time. It is my favorite, also.





Jump Rope
A few years ago, we found several of these jump ropes at a garage sale for less than a dollar a piece. These are awesome jump ropes. Jump rope is what Kaitlyn does most outside right now (age 7). A good jump rope makes all the difference in whether or not the child will be interested in using it. Cheap dollar store jump ropes won't cut it.


Rollerblades
Hands down, McKenna's favorite thing to do outside is rollerblading (age 5). She is in love with it. She wants to do it at every opportunity. Decent roller blades help in the child's enjoyment. McKenna got these rollerblades for Christmas and they have been awesome. I didn't think she would be able to wear them for months since we live in Norther Utah, but I knew they would be her favorite gift, so I got them. We have had a very mild winter so she has been able to use them quite a bit!

Cozy Coupe
Wondering about Brinley (age 2)? She really has a very varied "favorite." She loves to draw with chalk. She loves bubbles. She enjoys plasma cars. The water table would be loved if it wasn't winter (she does ask for it, though). The sandbox is covered for winter, but it is a favorite when it is out. She loves to swing and jump on the trampoline. The thing in addition to what I have talked about that she loves to do is drive in her Cozy Coupe.


What are your all-star outdoor toys? Anything I missed? Anything I need to try out? Today is the BFBN Pinterest day, so check out our Pinterest page. Check out the other ladies for their fun ideas today, too!



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