How many of you remember when you were excited to play outdoors, get dirty, and have fun? There are so many memories attached to outdoor play!

As parents, you might also want your children to experience the same amount of joy. But Alas! The gadgets have taken all that away. Parents need help to engage their kids in outdoor play.

Outdoor play is an essential part of childhood. It not only promotes social interaction and social skills but also aids in the creative and cognitive development of the child.

Also, it stimulates physical exercise, which is lacking when the child spends hours on devices while sitting in one corner. This is why the need to engage them in interesting and attention-holding toys is exceptionally essential.

So, let’s look at some of the top outdoor toys for 3-year-olds designed for their active and curious brains.

1. Tricycles


Tricycles are classic toys that have been used for generations. However, they will continue to be famous in 2023. This three-wheeled vehicle is a fantastic start-up for a 3-year-old as it is made with stability in mind.

So, parents, rest assured because your child won’t fall from this. Additionally, they can move about quickly and explore the entire yard. Tricycle is a great toy that develops leg strength and coordination and gives a sense of freedom to the kids.

2. Balance Bikes

Balance Bikes

Have you heard of balance bikes? The popularity of this has grown very much lately. This bike resembles a bicycle but does not have pedal and support tires at the back. Children are supposed to balance themselves, which in turn leads to the development of their motor skills. Kids can have fun outside while honing their coordination, steering, and spatial awareness skills on these pedal-less bicycles.

This style of bike is an ideal outdoor toy for 3-year-olds, which, after practice, gives them the confidence to switch to conventional bicycles as well.

3. Kick Scooters

Kick Scooters

Another wheel toy that is very famous among toddlers is the kick scooter. 3-year-olds can use these scooters to have fun zipping about the neighborhood or local park. But are these scooters safe? Absolutely! These scooters have a broad deck to stand on and three wheels to ensure stability.

With these scooters, your child will get a sense of freedom and independence. Additionally, their balancing skills will improve tremendously.

4. Water Play Table

Water Play Table

If your kids are having summer holidays lately, getting them a water play table is a great idea! It is an essential summertime enjoyment where your kid and their pals can engage in long-time outdoor play. It will aid in sensory development and creativity.

This toy is a bit space-consuming. Hence, you can allot a commonplace and safe place in your backyard to this toy where small children can pour, splash, and float toys and play with waterwheels. There are concise versions of water play tables available online. So, if you lack space, you can also try a maze-like wall double-sided water table.

5. Sidewalk Chalks

Sidewalk Chalks

Do you wish to make your child’s playtime a learning session, too? Sidewalk chalk is the outdoor play to engage in. And the best part about this play is that it just requires a set of chalks. With the help of this inexpensive and straightforward outdoor toy, kids can express themselves freely by creating vibrant works of art on the sidewalk.

They can either write letters and numbers or enhance their drawing skills. It promotes fine motor abilities and ignites artistic flare. As a parent, you can even teach them to draw hopscotch patterns. And this will be another outdoor game your 3-year-old can enjoy playing!

6. Bubble Machines

Bubble Machines

The craze for bubbles can never get old! Any outdoor activity with a bubble machine will surely be filled with fun and laughter. Kids get excited to chase and pop bubbles produced by bubble machines. Playing with bubbles helps children develop hand-eye coordination while enhancing their feeling of delight.

You can even get them bubble guns or a simple bubble wand set so that they not only enjoy popping but also blowing bubbles of various sizes.

7. Playhouses


3-year-olds find it very fascinating to have a house of their own where they can do everything freely. Therefore, getting a playhouse for them is an excellent idea as it offers countless opportunities for imaginative play.

You can buy a playhouse of different themes based on your child’s preference. However, look for sturdy construction, rounded edges, and non-toxic paint for your child’s safety. These little havens will help them engage in role play and foster their verbal skills.

8. T-Ball Set

T-Ball Set

Use a T-ball set to introduce sports to your toddlers. T-ball sets are specially designed outdoor toys for 3-year-olds that come with a foam bat and balls. The ball is attached to a fixed tee, making it easy for the child to hit.

Slowly and gradually, the child will master the art of hitting the ball, thereby enhancing balance, eye-hand coordination, and gross motor abilities.

9. Toy Gardening Set

Toy Gardening Set

Getting your child close to nature is extremely important! You can achieve this by simply incorporating gardening skills into them. Get them a toy gardening set and watch them learn to grow plants.

These kits often include kid-sized tools, watering cans, and pots so your young gardener can play dress-up like a gardener and pretend to plant. This toy will teach patience and will help them develop respect for the environment. In addition to a gardening toy kit, you can even get a flower-building toy so that your child can enjoy playing with both.

10. Nature Exploration Toys

Nature Exploration Toys

As said, keeping your child attached to the natural world is essential. Motivate young explorers to investigate their surroundings and develop a connection with nature.

Provide them with magnifying glasses, insect jars, and field guides so that they can explore and make new investigations. This outdoor toy promotes a love of the natural world and awakens young curiosity about science.

11. Bow and Arrow Set

Bow and Arrow Set

If your child loves aiming and arching, you should definitely get him a bow and arrow set. This play helps in developing eye-hand coordination, attention, and patience. However, when you buy this toy – always ensure that they are soft-tipped and age-appropriate for your kids.

Bow and arrow sets are available in various colors. You can also buy a dart or target along with it so that your child can aim perfectly!

12. Sandboxes


Many parents struggle to go to the beach, shedding an entire day for a picnic. So, how about inculcating sand play in your backyard? Sand play is a sensory activity that promotes imaginative play and the growth of fine motor skills.

All you will need is a sandbox for this play! Sandboxes are classic outdoor games that let children construct, dig, and use their imaginations. There are many types of sandboxes available in 2023. Some of them also come with covers so that the sand is clean and protected from dust.

13. Playground Equipment And Climbers

Playground Equipment And Climbers

Over time, play structures and outdoor climbers offer various activities that test and occupy young children. Playsets include climbing structures, tunnels, slides, and many other pieces of equipment.

These tools are intended to foster social interaction, physical development, and problem-solving. You can also make use of railings and strong construction to ensure that the play area is safe for your kids.

14. Ball Pits

Ball Pits

Toddlers love ball pits because they can bury themselves in a sea of vibrant balls. The bright colors and soft and secure play promote sensory investigation, eye-hand coordination, and creative play.

There are a variety of ball pits available online in different versions. When this ball pit is unused, you can fold it and store it in the cupboard. Even the balls can be packed and utilized when needed.

15. Frisbees or Flying Disc

Frisbees or Flying Disc

Frisbees is an ageless outdoor toy that is never going to go out of trend. Remember the time when you used to play it? It’s always fun! These plastic discs are light in weight and simple to toss with little hands.

As children practice aiming and catching, playing with frisbees helps them develop motor skills. Just make sure that you buy a soft and kid-friendly frisbee so that your child doesn’t get hurt by it.


The importance of outdoor play in child development is initiated with the use of fun outdoor toys for 3-year-olds.

Every toy serves a particular function. For example, some may foster physical and intellectual development, while others may focus on developing social skills.

As a parent, when you choose the best toy for your kid – you will be confident that your child will enjoy themselves. Additionally, they will discover and learn about the world around them.

So, let’s embrace outdoor play’s delights and observe as your 3-year-olds flourish in the excitement of exploration and creativity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can 3-Year-Olds Who Have Never Ridden a Balance Bike Use Them?

Yes, even 3-year-olds who have never ridden a bike can raise a balancing bike. In fact, they are created especially for young kids to develop their balance and coordination before moving on to regular bicycles with pedals.

How Can I Make Sure My 3-Year-Old Is Safe Playing with Outside Toys?

Safety comes first when playing outside. Always watch over your youngster as they play to guarantee their safety. Select toys with safety features like rounded edges and tight fastenings that are age-appropriate. Make sure kids are wearing the proper safety gear, such as helmets if they are riding any toy.

Are Kids with Special Needs Able to Play with These Outdoor Toys?

Many outdoor toys from the list can be modified to be used for children with special needs. For instance, play structures can be created with accessibility in mind. Water play tables can be altered to include sensory-friendly elements.

Charlotte Taylor

Charlotte Taylor

Charlotte Taylor is an expert in child development with a Master's in Educational Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. With over a decade of experience in early childhood education, her perspectives on kids' products are informed and practical.
Her keen eye for quality and safety standards makes her reviews trustworthy and comprehensive. As a mother of three and an active PTA member, her real-life experiences add a personal touch to her professional evaluations. She is also a passionate baker, often sharing anecdotes of kitchen adventures with her children in her articles.

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