We know that learning doesn’t stop when the school day is over. We also know there are so many benefits to getting kids outside. Research shows outside learning boosts focus and reduces stress. We rounded up 25 teacher-approved, educational outdoor toys to encourage kids to move, learn, play, and get curious about what’s happening in their own backyard.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
For kids who love to create
1. Lawn String Art Kit
This reusable kit has everything kids need to get started with string art design. They can make their own patterns and designs with the lawn stakes for a one-of-a-kind backyard masterpiece. It comes with 40 yards of rainbow yarn, 25 lawn stakes, template, a storage pouch, instructions, and a 3′ heart-shaped pattern.
Buy it: Lawn String Art Kit/Amazon
2. Inflatable Easel
If you’re looking for educational outdoor toys for kids who love to paint, check out this inflatable outdoor easel. Young artists can translate the natural world onto this portable outdoor canvas. It’s a complete set that includes four one-ounce paints, four shaped sponges, and a paintbrush.
Buy it: Inflatable Outdoor Easel/Amazon
3. Flower Press
Kids can collect flowers and leaves and use this kit to make beautiful crafts like bookmarks, trinket boxes, and cards that preserve the beauty of nature. The kit includes a flower press, glue, brush, double-sided tape, and instructions.
Buy it: Pressed Flower Art/Amazon
4. Rock Painting Kit
Set kids up at a table outside. Encourage them to think of kind messages or share inspirational quotes that they can paint on the rocks. Then, take a walk around the neighborhood and place the rocks where people will see them.
Buy it: Rock Painting Kit/Amazon
For Kids Who Love To Explore
These are the only binoculars designed just for kits. Take them to the beach, the park or the backyard so kids can get curious and explore their environment.
Buy it: Kidnoculars/Amazon
6. Kids Metal Detector
Kids love a treasure hunt. They can hunt for coins, paper clips and other metals. It lights up and beeps when metal objects are detected.
Buy it: Kids Metal Detector/Amazon
7. Outdoor Headlamp
We love how this headlamp for kids makes it possible to explore safely outside at night. It’s perfect for taking on a camping trip.
Buy it: Kids Outdoor Headlamp/Amazon
8. Kids Telescope
It’s never too early to introduce kids to the Scientific Method and getting curious about their environment. This telescope is designed especially for younger kids.
Buy it: Kids Telescope/Amazon
For Kids Who Love Science
9. You Track It Weather Kit
Budding meteorologists can track weather patterns with real scientific instruments. We love how this kit includes everything kids need to get curious about the weather: 5 experiments and a thermometer, rain gauge, weather vane, compass, anemometer, and glow-in-the-dark speed indicator.
Buy it: You Track It Weather Kit/Amazon
10. Bug Catcher Kit
There are sixteen different tools kids can use to explore all the bugs they find in the backyard. They can catch butterflies, use the magnifying glass to observe bugs and plants more clearly, and more.
Buy it: Bug Catcher Kit/Amazon
11. Gardening Tools
Kids can help out in the garden pulling weeds and watering plants with these tools. They can use them for make believe play as well. We love how this set includes a gardening handbook, allowing children to learn about the growth environment of different plants.
Buy it: Gardening Tools/Amazon
For Kids Who Love Games
12. Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Card Game
This card game might not look like much, but trust us—it’s a great way to keep kids of all ages busy and exploring nature. “When I bring this game out, all the kids on my block come over to play it,” says WeAreTeachers editor Hannah Hudson.
Buy it: Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Card Game/Amazon
13. Flickin’ Chicken
This game seriously makes me laugh every single time. The best part? It will get kids moving, provide some much-needed comedic relief, and sometimes I can even convince my teens to play this with their younger siblings!
Buy it: Flickin’ Chicken/Amazon
14. Nature Bingo
Have your kids hit the backyard and see how many of these items they can find. They’ll probably be surprised by the amount of wildlife that exists just steps away from home! Check out more scavenger hunt ideas here.
Buy it: Nature Bingo/Amazon
15. Glow In The Dark Capture The Flag
Capture the Flag is always a fan favorite. This glow-in-the-dark version takes it to a whole other level of fun. The set includes 25 light-up game pieces, 12+ hours of batteries, and 12 different ways to play.
Buy it: Glow In The Dark Capture The Flag/Amazon
16. Chasing Fireflies Shine & Seek
In this game of shine and seek, fireflies light up in the dark, and kids run about searching for the next firefly to add to their team jar. We love how it’s a new take on the classic version of hide and seek.
Buy it: Chasing Fireflies Shine & Seek/Amazon
17. Jumbo Memory Game
Looking for educational outdoor toys for kids who love card games? This oversized version of Memory is perfect for playing games outside. It includes 24 pairs of cards with real photos of everyday objects.
Buy it: Jumbo Memory Game/Hearthsong
18. Giant Kick Croquet Game
This outside game for kids combines the fun of running and kicking a ball (kickball), plus the added attraction of guiding it through a course of wickets (croquet).
Buy it: Giant Kick Croquet Game/Hearthsong
For Kids Who Love To Move
Slacklines (similar to tightropes) can be easily installed between two trees and enjoyed by the whole family! This one comes with an extra training line for kids, but they’ll need to be carefully supervised.
Buy it: Slacklines/Amazon
20. Giant Bubble Kit
What’s better than bubbles? GIANT bubbles. Check out how more ideas for how kids can learn with bubbles.
Buy it: Giant Bubble Kit/Amazon
21. Easy-Flyer Octopus Kit
On windy days, the tentacles on this giant octopus kite truly go everywhere—which is exactly why it’s so fun to fly!
Buy it: Easy-Flyer Octopus Kite/Amazon
22. Nature Walk Journal
Make neighborhood walks or backyard hangouts into a learning opportunity with this journal. It includes tips on identifying clouds, plants, and animals, as well as areas to sketch & record observations in.
Buy it: Nature Walk Journal/Amazon
23. Stomp Rocket
There’s more to stomp rockets than what meets the eye; they’re excellent ways to teach kids about force, motion, energy, aerodynamics, and more!
Buy it: Stomp Rocket/Amazon
24. Stepping Stones Obstacle Course
This game gets kids moving and developing their gross motor skills as they move around an obstacle course and jump from stepping stone to stepping stone. This set includes three large turtle shell stepping stones, three medium turtle shell stepping stones, 24 activity cards with turtle facts, colorful spinner, instructions, and additional game suggestions.
Buy it: Stepping Stones Obstacle Course/Amazon
25. Tree Climbing Kit
This kit makes tree climbing safer and so much fun for kids. The kit includes 16 climbing holds and eight Ratchets.
Buy it: Tree Climbing Kit/Amazon
What are your favorite educational outdoor toys and games? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Looking for more alternatives to screen time? Check out these fun and easy nature crafts.