Toys

16 Outdoor Toys For 1 Year Olds {On A Budget}

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Outdoor toys for 1 year olds are essential not only for play but also as tools to help them learn and explore.

Picking the best backyard toys, so as any other kind of toys for that matter, can easy overwhelm anyone with the choice available both in stores and online.

We might also fall into the trap of “we need more toys” in order to keep my 1 year olds entertained outside. Which is absolutely not true. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

So I want to share with you this minimalist list of outside toys that your 1 year old will love and play with for years to come.

You probably already have a couple of the toys from this list already, so my goal is to help you see select just a few more without being overwhelmed or stressed about getting it right.

Remember, outside play is all about the experience not the fancy objects. I also like to think of these toys as play “tools” that enhance child learning, fun and teach to be creative with what they have.

Most of the outdoor toys on this list are very budget-friendly.

So here it goes.

The Best Outdoor Toys For 1 Year Olds

The Best Outdoor Toys For 1 Year Olds

Balls

This might be the most obvious outdoor toys for 1 year old, but don’t underestimate it. Because a lot of times this is the only toy your little one will need to stay active and entertained outside. Besides, you can take it to the beach, to the park, to the playground and it’s a sure activity that no toddler ever said no to.

I recommend getting a small size ball for toddlers of all ages, but since you’re most certainly going to need more than 1, get a few balls of different sizes. 

For the first smaller size ball – anything between 5” and 6” is great.

Check out this small 6” soccer ball and this set of three 5” easy grip balls.

Watering Can

Needless to say that 1 year olds and kids of all ages in general are obsessed with water play.

We got this type of watering can from the beginning. It has a removable rosehead nozzle that toddlers will love to remove and put back working on their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. It can make the outflow water into spray or water column. If you’re a little woried about it being metal, you can always start with a small plastic one, like this which can also be used a bath toy.

RELATED: 5 Indoor Water Play Activities For Toddlers [LOW MESS]

Spray Bottle

Just like a watering can, spray bottle is another all time favorite tool for both outside and inside (see link to indoor water activities above to see how we use it).

My little man showed interest in spray bottle just right after he started to walk. And at about 1 year old and 3 months he was a proficient user and it has become his favorite outdoor toy.

You don’t have to buy a separate spray bottle for your 1 year old, but you definitely want to designate one that’s THEIRS to use. And of course make to keep out of reach all other spray bottles in your household. I also suggest you use a spray bottle that didn’t have any aggressive detergents in it. Because even if you wash it multiple times there still will be chemical residuals that you don’t want your little one to get in contact with.

A lot of times I will fill the spray bottler drinking water because the temptation to drink from it (or spray in the face) is just too hard to resist. LOL

A lot of times I see that a small spray bottle is included in child garden set. More about this below.

Gardening Set

Outdoor toys list wouldn’t be complete without a good gardening tool set. There’s no need to say that it will last and can be used  from 1 year old to all the way up to school.

I especially like this garden tool set as it included previous 2 tools as well: spray bottle and watering can. It also comes with an apron, gloves, oversleeves and a organizer bag for storage.

Another great gardening set that you might like is this one. It has all the tools from the previous set except the watering can but they’ve added a nice-to-have extra cotton hat for sun protection during hot summer days.

If you’re hesitant to hand your 1 year old gardeing tools with metal heads (even if there are no sharp edges) you can always save just the tools you don’t want them to use at the moment for later and fill their garden organizer bag with similar plastic tools from the beach set.

Beach Set

Beach set is another must- have for all toddlers. And it’s not limited to be used only at the beach. It’s a great toy for sand box and even for the garden.

The best part, baby’s first beach set doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, less is more.

We’ll start with this simple beach set for kids under $10 and my 1 year olds played with it happily all summer long. Of course, there are hundreds of elaborated, multi-piece beach toys on the market, but honestly, beach is not about the toys at all.

Probably this $15 dollar set with some extra tools and molds is how complex it needs to get. Especially from younger ones.

Don’t forget to use tools from your beach set in the backyard area too.

Buckets

Buckets is another universally loved toys/tool. Paired with some other outside toys from this list they will guarantee long stretches of independent, engaged play.

Just let your little one explore your backyard and create their own play while closely supervising, especially the youngest ones.

Pouring, transferring, carrying around, containing, hiding, balancing is just a few things kids will do with them.

Small Backyard Broom

It keeps fascinating me how such a simple tool, in child’s hands can become anything and everything. Be ready that it might not be used for its purpose but it’s amazing how many things little ones learn by simply manipulation this object. Of course, older toddlers will put it to a hard test playing swords, hammers and what not but it’s totally worth. Check out this push broom that is also great for young helpers in the backyard.

Also if you don’t have a child-size cleaning set for indoors this one is a gold standard and an absolute must have for 12+ months olds.

Pop Tubes

This “toy is mostly known by specialists who use it in variety of different way.

But these pop tubes are serious fun! They cost in $10 dollar range and it’s worth every single penny. I bet you haven’t though of these being an amazing outside toy. Yet, it really is! It’s made of plastic so it’s easily washable. You can attach them to the wall and make a water wall or water maze activity that your child will play with all summer long.

Check out super other super fun games you can play with your 1 year old using these pop tubes: Games For 1 Year Olds {You Will Both LOVE}

Water Guns

I think this one doesn’t need any convincing. LOL. Who in the family doesn’t have fun shooting water outdoors?

For our 1 year olds I suggest you get a foam water gun.

NOT this kind of foam water gun as it’s hard for little finger to grasp on but THIS  or THIS type of water gun.

I also love foam guns as they’re gender neutral, so they’re perfect even for girls.

Did I mention that both pop tubes and water guns are not only fun but they are great to muscle strength. Your little one will be working on his hand, wrist, shoulder musles trying to pull, stretch, squeeze, push etc.

Bubbles

Soap bubbles are like balls. A must have for any house with kids. They fascinate even the youngest, encourage gross motor movements, language development and are simply and purely FUN!! You can either get a bubble machine (this one works great and it’s also very reasonably priced) or a big pack of bubble wands for all the family and other kids to share.

Small Slide

A slide like this is a great addition to outdoor toys designed for gross motor movement. It’s small enough for 1 year old but can be used even by 3 year olds. Close supervision is required, well, like with everything at this age.

Large Beach Blanket/ Picnic Mat

You probably already own one anyway but just in case you need a new one check this one out.

An essential gear for time with kids outdoors.

Kiddie Pool

Just 3 words: classic, favorite must-have 🙂

Water Table

Is another classic. Selection of sand and water tables is overwhelming. So here a re a few picks to make life a little easier for you:

  1. Little Tikes Frog Pond Water Table – simple, compact, fun, won’t cost you and arm and a leg.
  2. Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table with Umbrella – double the price of the first one but it’s also much bigger can has a cover top for when not in use (grea for keeping sand clean and dry).
  3. Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table – the most expensive but with all cool “bells and whistles” like waterwall, spinners, buckets, water maze, squirt toy, cups etc. 

Sand Box

If you have large outdoor space and have to drive hours to get to the beach sand pit is another outside toy that will make your young and older toddlers squeal with joy.

I recommend getting a big one (to give enough space for movement) and one that comes with a cover for obvious reasons.

Well, you can probably find one at the nearest playground too but with all relevant concerns.

Mud Kitchen

You probably remember this one from your own childhood. I think we all dug in dirt and were the happiest humans on Earth. Commercial mud kitchen are pricey and probably not even worth it.

But you can easily make a DIY mud kitchen that does it’s job and you won’t cringe paying a ridiculous price and seeing it all worn out in just a few months.

I haven’t included any trickles or splash pads on this list of outdoor toys for 1 year olds. Even though your child might be ready for them a few months before their second birthday, they can fully (and more safely) enjoy them when they are just a tiny bit older. 

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