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Ask any parent or caregiver: There’s no better feeling than getting the kids outside to play. But what sort of toys are appropriate for four-year-olds, since they’re not quite toddlers, not quite big kids? For the most part, you want to look for engaging and interactive toys that’ll keep them moving.
From swing sets and sandboxes, to ride-on toys and sports equipment, these are the best outdoor toys for four-year-olds.
Best Overall: GobiDex 7-in-1 Multi Kids Activity Table Set With 2 Chairs
Age Range: 2 to 8 years | Material: Plastic
There are so many great outdoor toys for 4-year-olds, but the GobiDex 7-in-1 Multi Kids Activity Table takes top honors because of its versatility. The toddler-sized table has a sturdy, lightweight plastic construction that’s water-resistant and rust-free, so you can use it outdoors without worry.
When closed, the table serves as a place for kids to do arts and crafts, build with plastic blocks (it comes with 100 multicolored pieces), or eat lunch. When open, the table can be used as a sandbox or water table. Parents will love that it also comes with four storage boxes to corral small toys and accessories.
The table will go the distance, too. Use it at its lowest height for kids as young as 2, or jack the legs up to one of four adjustable heights to better serve kids up to 10 years of age.
Best Budget: WisToyz Bubble Machine Dog Bubble Blower
Age Range: 3 years and up | Material: Plastic
A bubble machine is a simple and budget-friendly way to keep young kids entertained outside. This bestselling dog-shaped machine has eight spinning wands to pump out hundreds of bubbles per minute. Simply pour the bubble solution (the box includes one 4-ounce bottle) into the leak-proof cavity of the dog’s mouth and turn on the battery-powered device.
Parents will love that, unlike other bubble machines, this one is relatively quiet, thanks to heat releasing and noise-canceling holes on the back of the machine. What’s more, the bubble maker is nice and small—about the size of an iPhone—so you can conveniently carry the lightweight device to the beach, pool, or park.
Best Sport: iPlay, iLearn Golf Toys Set
Age Range: 3 to 12 years | Material: Plastic
For active kids who never seem to stop, consider sports equipment, like this golf set. It comes with everything your child needs to learn how to play the game—a base unit, a golf club, two club heads, a tee stand, and 15 golf balls.
Through play, your child will gradually improve both hand-eye coordination and motor skills, all while having so much fun that it’ll never feel like learning. That said, beginners may need a little help and encouragement. But once they get the hang of it, it may just become their favorite toy. Luckily, the club will grow with them—it’s adjustable from 21.6 to 29.6 inches.
Best Garden Toy: Advanced Play Fairy Garden Kit
Age Range: 3 years and up | Material: Plastic
This adorable little house-shaped, two-tiered planter gives kids the opportunity to plant and grow their own magical garden. The kit includes everything you need, including soil and seeds, as well as a shovel, trowel, rake, and watering can. As the garden grows, you can teach your kids important STEM concepts, like photosynthesis.
There are plenty of interactive elements on the toy to keep them busy, too, including moving doors, two street lights, a pink umbrella table with two pink chairs, and a toadstool. It even lights up and plays songs. (It’s powered by three 1.5 volt batteries.) And, as with any great fairy garden, kids are encouraged to add their own personal touches to make their fairy companions feel right at home.
Best Ride-On: Costzon Ride-On Motorcycle
Age Range: 3 to 7 years | Material: Plastic
Four-year-olds will appreciate a step up from your standard power wheel. This motorcycle-shaped option makes them feel extra cool and grown up, but has the safety of three wheels. (The third is tucked in the back, so they’ll feel like they’re really riding on two.)
The battery-powered bike runs at an appropriate 1.8 miles per hour, so parents can rest easy knowing kids won’t be kicking up dust just yet. They can simply go backwards or forwards using the convenient controls. Other real, working features that add to the fun include a built-in music and horn button and working headlights. What’s more, the back storage compartment can be opened and closed to stash small toys.
Best Sandbox: Best Choice Products Wooden Outdoor Sandbox with Foldable Bench Seats
Age Range: 3 years and up | Material: Cedarwood
Though the footprint is a relatively small 47 x 49 inches, this sandbox has an ingenious design complete with two fully-backed benches, so kids don’t have to perch in the sand. (A win for parents everywhere, since they’ll stay a little cleaner during play time!) As if that’s not clever enough, the benches fold down into the sandbox to act as a cover when not in use.
This sandbox comes with a landscape fabric for lining, so it's ready to use as soon as you open the box—just add the necessary 300 pounds of sand to fill it up.
Best Pool Toy: Swimline UFO Squirter Pool Inflatable Lounge Float
Age Range: 4 years and up | Material: Vinyl
Though you can definitely use this one-person raft for lounging, the inflatable will appeal to kids as an interactive toy, thanks to a built-in ray-gun squirt gun that delivers a constant stream of water.
While individual kids will surely get a kick out of the pool toy, it’s worth stocking multiple, since it’s a great option for sibling pairs or playdates. There’s no doubt kids will love to engage in water fights! Don’t worry about all that play time: The tube is durable enough to hold up to the heavy use. It’s made of a super strong 12-gauge PVC material.
You won’t mind blowing up multiple, either, since it takes less than 10 minutes to inflate (and even less if you use an air pump).
Best Swing Set: Lifetime 10-Foot Metal Deluxe Swing Set
Age Range: 3 months to 12 years | Material: Metal
This basic swing set, which has a footprint of 13.5 x 10.5 feet, includes two belt swings and a trapeze bar. Kids are bound to have a blast, but parents will love how high quality this sturdy set is and how fun the bright, primary colors make the metal bars.
The chains on the swings and trapeze bars have high plastic covers to prevent pinched fingers during playtime. The entire swing set is just 178 pounds, so it's easy enough for two adults to set up and put in place, but still heavy enough for multiple kids to use at once.
The GobiDex 7-in-1 Multi Kids Activity Table Set (view at Amazon) is the best outdoor toy for a 4-year-old, because it can be used for any number of activities, from coloring or building, to eating lunch or having a snack, to splashing around in water or raking sand. If you want to keep them moving, the iPlay, iLearn Golf Toys Set (view at Amazon) is a great choice. This set has everything they need to introduce them to the sport and has an adjustable club that grows with your child.
What to Look for in an Outdoor Toy for 4-Year-Olds
To keep kids as safe as can be, make sure to check for age appropriateness. Even if it seems like a toy your child can handle, it’s best to heed manufacturer recommendations. Also, remember: No matter how safe a toy seems to be, four-year-old playtime should always be supervised—especially when it takes place outdoors.
There’s no doubt four-year-olds are busy people. Look for toys that encourage movement or stimulate the imagination in order to keep kids content for longer.
Backyard toys should be able to hold up to the elements. Look for plastic, rubber, metal, or wooden toys specifically made for outdoor use. Wooden or metal toys, like swing sets, do require some yearly—at least—maintenance to keep them in tip-top shape. And toys like water tables, sandboxes, and ride-ons should ideally be stored away in a shed or garage or covered when not in use.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer who has spent the last 10-plus years researching the best home goods for various digital publications, including The Spruce and Good Housekeeping. Brigitt has four kids—all babies and toddlers—so it’s fair to say she’s spent a lot of time researching the best outdoor toys to keep young kids busy and engaged.