Backyards generally fall into two categories: wastelands and wonderlands. The former is devoid of any outdoor kids' toys - or any life for that matter. The closest you usually get to any fun outdoor toys for kids in those cases are abandoned tires, forlorn garden hoses and potentially dangerous ancient lawnmowers - hardly a recipe for fun times. Then we have the wonderlands - well-tended, sunny natural utopias full of plant life and kids' outdoor toys for your little ones to enjoy growing up in. There's always work involved to create one of these in your own backyard, but the payoff can be enormous. And don't your kids deserve the best outdoor toys to have fun with outside rather than being cooped up in their rooms? Well, it's our pleasure to present to you some suggestions for making your kids' outdoor experience more cool.

Plant A Tree

treehouse with a pirate flag

Straight up, I'll admit: this one takes time. A tree as a kids' outdoor toy is a long term investment that'll involve planting, gardening, weeding, tending, pruning... you name it. But as kids’ toys go, it's a pretty amazing one, and you can take advantage of the long process by using it to get your children interested in gardening while they're still at a young age. This will help you to foster a sense of fascination with nature in them at a young age, not to mention how proud they'll be when they see that little sapling grow into a behemoth. The tree by itself can provide shade on those hot summer days and keep the UV rays at bay; depending on what tree you plant, it'll provide healthy snacks like apples once a year (and the kids will get peckish running around your tree all day), or even fun outdoor toys for kids like conkers. And let's not forget one of the coolest kids' toys for the outdoors - the tree house. If you can put the time and effort into building your kids this palace, the fun times will never end. Tree houses are an amazing outdoor treat for your kids and their possibilities are endless: sleepovers, club houses, secret hideaways, pirate ships... with the tree house, the sky’s the limit and it'll definitely be a source of some of the more fun memories of their childhoods. For extra super duper fun times, why not add a rope or tire swing into the mix? It'll make the treehouse that much more interesting, with the added benefit of encouraging your kids to exercise and stay healthy.

Make Them A Chalkboard Wall

outdoor chalboard wall with drawings on it

As low-effort options go, this one might just be your best bet. Even the premise is simple: all you have to do to create this low-tech outdoor kids' toy is paint one of the fences around your backyard black. Step 2: give your little munchkins some multi-colored chalks (they are toys for all purposes) and let their imaginations run wild. It's a well-known fact that activities like writing and drawing have a highly positive effect on the development of fine motor skills in kids, so this idea will double as a way to give your kids an early start in school. If you're really enthusiastic, get them started on the basics of reading and writing too! If you're worried about changing the look of your backyard too much with all that black paint, don't worry: there's no need to do the whole fence. Just a large enough section of it for your offspring to get creative. Even the clean-up is a piece of cake, done by just going over it with a wet sponge to remove any drawings that they don't want anymore, or even just giving it a quick twenty-second spray with your garden hose. What makes this plaything a god's gift to a parent without a lot of free time, though? If you can't find the time to clean it up yourself, the rain will wash this one right up for you, with no negative effects.

Outdoor Twister

painting twister board on the grass

Have fond memories of playing twister with your friends and family members as a child? Well, don't let your own little ones miss out on this awesome game just because we live in the age of technology! Twister can be made into an amazing outdoor kids' game in the blink of an eye. Acrylic paints are dirt cheap and environmentally friendly, so go on ahead and buy some and, also, some thick cardboard to make the spinning twister board at your local crafts store. A few minutes of work with scissors and paintbrush and you're done! You've successfully added another great toy to your kids' outdoor arsenal. Once again, the clean-up on this one is mercifully easy: just leave it to the rain. Until then, enjoy the nice weather and the outdoor toy for kids that'll stick around as long as the sun is shining.

Water Balloons

This is another amazing low-budget, low-effort entry for the summer months. It's a toy that provides tons of fun and is as cheap as they come. All you have to do is buy up a good supply of balloons, fill them up with water, and let 'em rip! As long as the weather's sunny and hot, all necessary cleanup should take care of itself without any hitches. For the more hands-on parent who wants to get creative with a related outdoor kids' toy: the water balloon pinata. Just tie your water balloons (as many or as few as you think appropriate) to a length of twine, blindfold one of your kids and arm them with a stick, then let them have at it. The squeals of joy will warm your heart.

water ballons hanging on a string