Top Summer Toys for Keeping Your Toddler Busy This Summer | Friday Favorites

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I am Neyssa Lee a mother of six, who is planning obsessed, and uses photography to help you see the beauty in your own family’s chaos. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

The lazy days of summer, for relaxing by the pool, reading a book and sipping iced tea. Right?

Okay, if you have a toddler that is likely not happening. If your toddler is anything like mine, keeping them busy can be challenging. They are on the move, busy, and ready to play.

After raising 5 toddlers I have found 5 easy, fun, summer toys that have been hits with all of my children. These things also lasted beyond the toddler years and are the most used toys in my yard all summer long.

#1. Summer Toy for Toddlers – A Water Table

I had no idea how much use we would get out of a water table when we got one with our oldest child. He spent hours each day splashing, dumping water from one cup to another, washing his cars, taking water to water plants and more.

After my 3rd child we had donated our water table only to buy another one once our 4th was old enough and it’s still going strong 2.5 years later (with my youngest loving it too).


The sandbox is a huge hit for our family.

The sandbox is a huge hit for our family.

#2. Summer Toy for Toddlers – Sandbox with Sand Toys

We had this corner by our garage that we kept trying plants and things but it wasn’t working. I finally came up with the idea to turn it into a giant sandbox and it was the best use of the space. 8 years later and every single one of my kids plays in that sandbox regularly. It gets year round use (as long as it’s not raining, of course).

We have buckets and shovels, trucks, diggers and things for the kids to play with. They make “cakes,” build roads and even tunnels and roads when they add in the water from the nearby water table.

You don’t have to have a large sandbox either. My mother-in-law has a smaller one on her deck (it’s a bit like this one here) and my kids can’t wait to play in it when they go to grandma’s house.

Good sand toys are also key. I have found it’s worth spending a little bit more for sturdier shovels and buckets as the cheaper ones break so easily. We love the sand toys by Melissa and Doug.

If you don’t have a sandbox, I highly recommend one.


Top Summer Toys for Toddlers, Three kids playing in an inflatable pool

#3. Summer Toy for Toddlers – Inflatable Pool or Splash Pad

As you can see, the theme for summer is water play. The first time we purchased an inflatable pool summer was made. Not only could my littles cool off, but I could sit with my feet in the water and keep cool, too.

They are shallow so I don’t have to be in it with my kids, but can be sitting nearby watching. (Of course if your kids are very young, you should be in it, of course). And the kids would play for hours in this little pool, splashing around, “swimming” back and forth, tossing balls in, splashing me, just playing until they were completely wrinkly and ready for their next application of sunscreen.

I will be honest, these pools only seem to last us one summer season. They are rather inexpensive so any holes that are difficult to patch aren’t worth it. However, it is something we have still purchased yearly for the ability to keep cool without leaving the backyard.

Similar to the inflatable pool, the splash pad/sprinklers that you can hook up to your hose are another great option, especially if your kids are younger.

Bonus Summer Toy Ideas for Toddlers:

The above are my top three things for toddlers for summer. However, there are a couple of good honorable mention items that are great when you’re looking for something to entertain those kids!

*Sidewalk Chalk – They can draw, or even crush it to paint outside with water and a paint brush. If you have a good surface for sidewalk chalk, it’s a great option. We’ve even drawn long obstacle courses with chalk to keep the kids entertained. (Think of a path of hop-scotched, twirl here, run, skip, frog jump, etc)

*A Bubble Machine – A bubble machine is entertaining for the kids and dogs alike. They can chase bubbles until their hearts are content. And the machine saves you from having to blow continuously forever, or the kids from trying to blow bubbles while accidentally dumping the entire container out with the other hand.

* Trampoline – This is a little bigger of a summer purchase, but there are varying options in sizes and pricing on trampolines depending on your budget, family size, and yard size. Our trampoline is another year round favorite and is good for all ages. (Have you jumped on a trampoline lately? They are an amazing workout, though tricky after birthing a few children! HA!).

Whew my list grew bigger then expected, yet I know how beneficial these things have been for my own family as we enjoyed “lazy” days of summer in the backyard. Would you add a favorite summer toy? Drop it in the comments to share with another mom searching for ideas!

***This post contains affiliate links that do benefit/support my family. Every link is to something I recommend based on personal use. I would only share things we truly love and use with our own children. We do, however, appreciate your support when you click and use our links that help us continue to share our favorite things.

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