It’s no easy task pulling kids away from their tablets and consoles - but with the signs of summer starting to appear, decking out your garden with some great outdoor toys and games might just lure the little hermits out.
Let's face it, the children of today are pretty much hardwired into the virtual world and that’s no bad thing if done in moderation. However, sitting around for hours at a time, staring at a screen is not doing their physical health any favours. They need to get out a little more.
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To help, we’ve scoured the net for the most appealing collection of outside toys to help entice the little ones back into the great outdoors. All you need to do is dip in and choose your weapon.
L.O.L. Surprise Cottage Playhouse
This pink, glittery playhouse for children is sure to be a big hit this summer for any fan of the L.O.L. dolls.
With brick detailing and character decals for decoration, it features working front and back doors, opening shutters and a dormer roof. It even comes with a post box and flag holder too.
Aimed at children 5+, it can be used indoors as well as outdoors, should the Great British Weather take a turn for the worse.
Little Tikes Builders Bay Sand and Water Table
Sandpits are an easy sunny day win for kids from toddler age upwards, and this combined sand and water table from Little Tikes offers a great way for your own mini construction worker to unleash their imagination.
The winning feature here is the large interactive crane system for digging up the sand, but there are also water motion controls that kids will go daft for.
Add to that a selection of trucks, boats and trailers, plus a bridge to join the two sections of the table together, and you’re onto a (likely rather messy) winner.
It’s big enough for several little ones to play around at once too, plus has a large umbrella that will keep them shaded from the sun while they do so.
The multi-purpose lid keeps everything protected from the elements once the fun is over, but also doubles as an additional play surface for toys when getting sandy is a no-no.
Chad Valley Inflatable 4 in a Row game
Making oversized garden versions of traditional tabletop games is great way of getting the family playing together outdoors, and this inflatable version of “4-in-a-row” is really affordable to boot.
It comes with 30 colourful balls that players take it in turns to place into the grid – the first one to match four of their colour in a row is the winner.
You might want to invest in a foot pump or be prepared for lots of blowing up though, particularly if you want to be able to deflate it easily for storage.
Nerf Fornite AR-L Elite Motorised Blaster
Nerf guns are always a great way of tiring out little legs, and this Fortnite-inspired blaster, which replicates the look and colours of the game’s iconic SCAR rifle, is bound to be a hit over the summer.
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It offers a 10-dart clip with motorised dart loading and two flip up sights for lining up your shot, not to mention an acceleration button for increasing your rate of fire.
You’ll get 20 darts in total, so enough for a full reload after your first clip is spent.
£49.99, John Lewis | Amazon
Intex Paradise Seaside Swimming Pool
When the temperature starts to creep up, paddling pools are an easy and fun way to cool little ones down.
This inflatable pool from Intex is a great size and will give several children – and maybe even a couple of adults – plenty of space to splash around in.
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It’s really good quality for the price too, though we would definitely recommend adding an electric pump to your arsenal and saving your breath, as this will take some time.
There are other designs with more bells and whistles, but this is a great straightforward paddling pool for under £30. We love the cheerful seaside scene decorated around its outside too.
Parrot Mambo FPV
One for the bigger kids now, and when it comes to palm-sized toy drones, the aerobatic Parrot Mambo is the grandmaster of stability, thanks to proximity sensors that help it stay steady in flight.
Despite its diminutive size, it’s perfectly suitable for outdoor use, though bear in mind that wind will cause it to drift, so best choose a wide space while your child gets used to it.
The FPV part of its name stands for first-person view, as it ships with a clip-on 720p camera and flight goggles, which enables you to get a pilot's view as you fly.
To use this feature, simply launch Parrot’s excellent FreeFlight app on your smartphone and slot it into the goggles to see the Mambo's first person view. Granted, the visuals streamed from camera to phone aren’t especially crisp but they’re perfectly clear enough to navigate by.
£160, parrot.com | Amazon
VTech Kidizoom Action Cam 180˚
If your child is a mini YouTuber in the making, the VTech Kidizoom action camera is a great way for them to build up their camera skills when out and about.
The robust snapper records low-resolution video perfectly suitable for little ones, and will also take decent stills that can be edited in-camera using a range of photo effects. It even features stop-motion and time-lapse functionality.
The camera itself comes with a small rear screen, a rotating lens for selfies, a waterproof case for sub-aquatic use, 128MB of internal memory, a microSD slot for extra storage and a range of mounts for various modes of transport.
£53, vtech.co.uk | Amazon
Plum Climbing Dome
If you have a garden big enough, this sturdy geometric climbing frame from the house of Plum is the perfect way to develop hand-eye co-ordination and improve strength and general agility. It’ll also provide hours of imaginative fun.
The galvanised steel frame itself is painted with a protective powder coating to ensure it remains rust free. And for those who make it to the top successfully, it also comes with a slippery slide for their descent.
The Climbing Dome measures 1.12m x 3.65m x 2.80m so ensure you have at least five metres of square space to accommodate it. You’re also advised to place some rubber matting beneath it if locating it on a hard surface. But you can be sure that if you build it, they will climb.
£380, plumplay.co.uk | John Lewis