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12 Toys for Kids Who Like to Play in Nature

A close look at children playing with leaves and nature.

Every child on the third rock from the sun plays with toys. They can be socks, pots and pans, or anything that’s shiny and/or makes noise. The appropriate toy teaches children motor skills, fine motor skills, reasoning, creative thinking, problem solving, and social skills. These are only a few of the things necessary for growth.

So we have a child in need of a toy. If the child is old enough to go into the backyard to play, then we need to discuss toys for kids who like to play in nature. These can be anything from a bucket and shovel to dig in the sand at the beach, to a backpack filled with stones, to the supplies to climb a mountain (even if the “mountain” is only a tree.)

Collecting Toys 

I grew up in middle Tennessee, which is shaped much like a soup bowl. Tennessee is hilly, and I lived on a small one. I loved to look for geodes or stones with crystals inside. I had an impressive collection, from gold and pure white to purple, black, red, orange, yellow, and many more.

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Unfortunately, I lost my 28 egg cartons filled with stunning geodes in a move. Besides beauty, those stones taught me types of stones, the period it takes to grow those crystals, and even what some of them are used for. It was fascinating!

If your child likes to collect, then turn his/her attention to stones, pine cones, leaves, flowers, or anything that catches his/her eye. Flowers and leaves can be impressed on paper to make a book. Pine cones can be displayed in dozens of ways. If your child likes to collect, then you should know how to foster that fun.

National Geographic 

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Mega Crystal Growing Lab - 8 Vibrant Colored Crystals To Grow with Light-Up Display Stand & Guidebook - Includes 5 Real Gemstone Specimens Including Amethyst & Quartz

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NatGeo makes kits for kids of all ages and for collectors with things to display. A neighbor gave my granddaughter a National Geographic kit for her birthday one year that polished stones. She was to put a stone in the hopper. The machine would then wash it first. It would begin the three-phase polishing stages next. When it was done, my granddaughter had a stone worthy of the sale in a gift shop. She put one on a keychain for me, and I have it to this day.

Buy your little collector rock and gem sets, balance and construction sets, an erupting volcano, crystal-making sets, and much more.

Bella Luna Toys 

The Ostheimer Giraffe, Standing from Bella Luna Toys.

Source: Bella Luna Toys

A wooden leaf and flower press is the perfect toy for a child who loves to play in nature. S/he can gather his/her flowers and leaves, place them in the cardboard frames between two wooden boards, and tighten the kid-friendly screws. Ten days later, s/he’ll have beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

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Construction Toys 

From babyhood, children love to stack things on top of each other. Budding engineers construct houses, trains, cars, and other things. They use blocks, Lego, K’nex, and whatever they can find in the backyard to construct something imaginative.

Marble Run 

A kid making a marble run track with plastic parts.

This set gives children a chance to construct their tracks any way they wish. They then put marbles at the top, and watch as the marbles rush their way through the building to the open end. Kids learn creativity and problem solving with sets like this.


14 Piece Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set, Blues

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Combining wooden blocks with magnetism, Tegu offers creative, imaginative possibilities with classic wooden blocks. Children can build and create, solve problems, think about the next steps ahead, and work with other children to construct magnetic wonders.

Water Toys 

While small children aren’t terribly interested in baths, they do love to play in water. I placed large plastic drink cups on the side of the tub filled with tubby toys for my children, so bath time was fun. On the other hand, if you toss children into a kiddie pool, they’ll play for hours. Give them something to put in a pond, and they’ll be there for days.

Step 2 Waterpark Arcade 

Step2 Waterpark Arcade | Toddler Outdoor Water Activity Toy

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Small children learn hand-eye coordination by playing with toys. With this water toy, they’ll use a super soaker water gun to knock down a pinwheel, several flaps, and a paddle that spins.

Aquaplay Container Port Water Table 

BIG AquaPlay - Container Port

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Kids can learn how a wave is generated while playing with this toy. A crank makes waves, while the accessories can be loaded onto and unloaded from a container. They’ll learn to use the crane plus learn how a canal system works, as they help their ships navigate the canal.

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Playing In The Dirt Toys 

Put a child in the backyard with a spoon and a bowl, and s/he’ll happily dig for hours. Little ones learn to dig in the dirt from watching Mom and/or Dad putter in the garden. They see how flowers and vegetables are planted, how they grow, how to weed the garden, and then they get the best of all changes. They get to pick the flower they love the best of the vegetable they grew with their own little hands.

Fun Little Toys Kids’ Garden Tool Set 

Play22 Kids Garden Tool Set Toy 4-Piece - Shovel, Rake, Hoe, Leaf Rake, Wooden Gardening Tools for Kids Best Outdoor Toys Gift for Boys and Girls

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Younger kids can help Mom and Dad in the garden with their own gardening tools contained in their own wagon. They’ll be able to add value to your garden with nine garden tools, flower pots of their own, a watering can, and a spray bottle. When you go on vacation, this gardening set is the perfect beach fun wagon of inspiration.

Seeds Of Adventure Garden In A Box 

The Herbs Seeds Garden in a box from Natural green Seeds.

Source: Natural Green Seeds

Little ones are introduced to the amazing world of results from playing in the dirt. The set comes with ten packets of seeds: nasturtium, mustard mix, summer mix, asphodel, delphinium, winter mix, zinnia, sunflower, sweet pea, and calendula.

Included in the package is a magnetic tracking board that can be put on the fridge for the little one to track his/her plants’ growing process. Children learn the natural phases of nature while having fun digging up dirt.

Flying And Driving Toys 

Numerous kids run to the backyard as soon as breakfast is done to fly their kites, their drone airplanes, or to drive their toy Jeep around the yard. Child development incorporates imaginative play with fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social skills, as well as STEM or science, technology, engineering, and math skills. Flying toys and driving toys accomplish this, while little ones and even older children have an outdoor adventure.

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Paper Machine 

POWER UP 2.0 Paper Airplane Conversion Kit | Electric Motor for DIY Paper Planes | Fly Longer and Farther | Perfect for Kids & Adults | Ready to Use Aeroplane Engine Kits

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Most toddlers and small children start out with wooden toys like thin wooden slats made into airplanes. This Power Up 2.0 Electric Motor Paper Airplane Conversion Kit will give your child the chance to engineer his/her own paper airplane with four distinct designs. S/he’ll learn how the minutes of flight are derived from the time the little plane charges work. Bonus: s/he can play with it inside the house.

Spin Doctor 

Spindoctor Hand Spinners

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This remote-control flying chopper doubles as a news and weather helicopter, an armed forces surveillance chopper, or a method of transport for hugely important people. So what if it crashes? It can get back into the air at any time. The chopper is made for older children, but young children can play with adult supervision.

Fisher-Price Little People Music Parade Ride-On 

Fisher-Price Little People Music Parade Ride On, Pink

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What kid doesn’t love lots of noise? What kid can’t wait to feel the wind in his/her hair at the speed they’re going? This riding toy lights up, speeds up, and plays music. Your toddler will have a great time on this riding toy.

Play 22 Tractor Ride-On Toy 

Play22 Toy Tractors for Kids Ride On Excavator - Music Sounds Digger Scooter Tractor Toys Bulldozer Includes Helmet with Rocks - Ride on Tractor Pretend Play - Toddler Tractor Construction Truck

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Kids love to watch backhoes and Bobcats dig up mountainous piles of dirt. This ride-on toy will give them hours of fun scooting around the house “digging” up the carpet, the cat, and their sister’s stuffed animal.


What Can You Do Outside With A Toddler? 

Watch. All you have to do with a toddler in the backyard is let him/her loose. They’ll run around, imagining themselves a marathon runner in a 5K race. They’ll pick up rocks and throw them against the house as if they were in a gym playing squash. They’ll pick up a fallen branch and parade around like the drum major in a parade.

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Give him/her a few outdoor toys, and children will become engineers, astronauts, EMTs driving an ambulance, and I could go on with this for days (having watched my own children become all these and more.)

Where Should Kids Store Outdoor Toys? 

The answer to that question depends on a few things. Do you live in a detached house? Answer: back porch, patio, or deck. Do you live in an apartment or condo? Answer: the coat closet. Do you live on a farm or in a house with some acreage? Answer: anywhere s/he wants to leave them. The most sensible answer is to work with the storage space available to you.

What Does A Beginner Fisherperson Need? 

Small children learn from everything they see and do. They pick up cognitive development, social skills, motor skills, and more from playing with simple toys. A budding fisherperson should have a toy fishing rod, a toy “tackle box,” a toy net, and a toy cooler in which to keep his/her “catch.”

The child will learn to watch for the signs of a “bite.” S/he can then swish the net beneath the fish or reel it in. S/he will learn how fish swim, how they nibble on aquatic substances for food, how they swim in schools, and how to attract the attention of a fish. They learn patience and how to keep quiet enough that the fish aren’t frightened off. That’s a lot for a kid to handle, so teach them well.

Why Choose Outdoor Adventure, Nature, And Animal Toys?

Skills. We’ve seen above how a simple super soaker water gun can help a child with hand-eye coordination. We’ve seen how digging toys can help a kid learn about nature, as well as teach them to grow their own food. We’ve seen how simple building blocks can teach a child logical thinking, problem solving, and social skills.

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Cognitive development is taught in the early years. We must give our young all the tools and toys they need for their development.


Jolly Good Gifts: 14 Fun Geology Gift Ideas for Kids

Childhood101: 15 Awesome Building & Constructing Toy Sets for Kids

Parents: Best Water Toys for Kids

BounceBack Parenting: Garden Toys for 4 Year Olds – Super Fun Diggin’ in the Dirt!

Parenting: 8 Fun Toys That Fly

Best Products: Ride On Toys for Kids and Toddlers

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