We found no end of choices for the best summer toys of 2018. Big and over-the-top describe many of the offerings available. For example, glow-in-the-dark products are popular with new ways to extend fun, taking advantage of warm summer evenings. Our picks include toys that focus on the entire family with great ways to keep everyone active.
Our Picks for the 10 Best Outdoor Toys
Our most important criterion for picking a summer toy is the fun factor. We want to make sure that the kids will use it and it will provide good value for money. We also stayed away from electronic choices that would encourage solitary play. Summer is a time for families to share time together. Our selections centred on ones that everyone could play with, or watch together.
Top 10 Outdoor Games for Summer Fun
The Bex Sport Croquet 6 Mallet is a great toy set to involve the entire family, from kids to adults. Mallets measure about 80 centimetres each. The balls are made of dense plastic that is durable to last for hours of play. They are large enough to hit a decent shot, though the little ones may need some help to wield the mallet.
We loved the fact that it’s a classic lawn game that is just about having fun rather than the flash of other options. It comes with a carrying bag; you can easily take the match to the beach or a mate’s house. We like the challenge it offers while keeping the match exciting. The croquet set is affordably priced too which parents will appreciate.
While the rest of the set is sturdy, the wickets are a bit on the thin side. You may need to reposition them if someone gets carried away with their shooting. Overall, it’s an excellent way to keep everyone active on a warm summer day. It’s brings great value for the price and the enjoyment it offers with a fun game for the entire family
- Up to 6 players
- Includes 10 wickets
- Fun for children and adults alike
- Affordably priced
- Not ideal for very small children
- Wickets can bend with too much force
The Boules Chromed Boule Set offers a fun way to keep kids and adults active. We have to admit that we are partial to these classic games that have stood the test of time. This set features 8 chrome balls, a jack, and a carrying case. The balls are hefty with a good hand feel to them. But they may be too heavy for smaller children without some assistance.
One of the things we really like was the fact that this is one great-looking set. That said, you can use them on any surface. The chrome finish helps them roll fast and far. However, gravel or rough surfaces will scratch them, but it won’t affect the match play. The silver colour also improves the visibility of the set for using them during low light settings.
The balls are marked with a thin line, so that you can distinguish between them easily. While the balls and jack are of high quality, the bag is a bit flimsy. In any case, your kids will be entertained for hours as they launch their own competitions. Overall, we were impressed with the quality of this set which is well-made to provide years of service.
- Durable construction that will handle lots of playtime
- Carrying case with jack
- Ideal for darker environments
- Great for both adults and children
- Could be a little heavy for small children
- Bag quality is flimsy
- Silver surface finish may scratch easily
The Pro All Surface SwingBall is an active game, whether you’re playing solo or taking on a friend. It features a taller swingball head which keeps the match going on for longer. The height is adjustable up to 170 centimetres; so both kids and adults can play. You can fill the base with sand or water for stability. You can take the match play wherever you want on any surface.
You can track the score with a dial on the top of the base. The set has a tennis ball tethered to the cord. The manufacturer made this toy for spirited play with a sturdy design that will hold up during gameplay. The checker bats are constructed tough allowing you to hit harder. That said, this toy is best suited for older children and adults.
You can set it up any place where there is at least four metres of space to accommodate the swinging diametre of the set. We’d recommend even a bit more if possible. We were pleased to find it well-balanced and it stayed stable when the gameplay got intense. Our only caution would be to make sure that there is a clear playing field to prevent anyone from getting hurt.
- Taller swingball head
- Adjustable height
- Solo or match play
- Large base for stability
- Convenient storage inside emptied base
- Not ideal for young children
- Only 2 players at a time
- Bat size is a little large
The Intex – 56508NP – Pool Volleyball Game Set is an excellent way for making your day at the pool more fun alongside lots of exercise. It measures 239 centimetres in length. It can float freely, or you can anchor it into place. The manufacturer’s recommended age is 6 to 8, but there’s no reason why everyone else can’t join in on the match to enjoy a summer day at the pool.
The set includes the volleyball and the inflatable net for complete gameplay. You won’t need any special equipment to inflate it. While you can use it as a free-floating game, we recommend weighing it down so that it stays stationary. The game is in a decent size to accommodate several players.
While it will hold up to regular use, parents will need to caution older children about proper play since it is essentially just an inflatable toy. It’s of good value considering its price and durability. And it’s a great size for smaller pools. You can use the net portion with a beach ball if the volleyball is too lightweight.
- Includes volleyball
- Portable to take to the beach or the pool
- Can be played in paddling pools as well
- Allows several players
- Lightweight and portable when deflated
- Will require weighing down for stability
- Not ideal for young children
- The ball can be too lightweight
We couldn’t feature summer toys without including at least one water pistol. The Foam Water Pistol HYDRO STORM Blaster Shooter Pump is an easy-to-use shooter pump that even the little ones will be able to use. Just immerse completely in water to load. It will use pressure to deliver a stream of water over 6 metres away.
The edges are soft for safe use with kids. We liked the fact that you’ll get an accurate shot too. Each blaster is about 25 centimetres long and extends to 39 centimetres. Smaller children may need some help to fill it because of the large size. For the price, it’s of good value since you’ll be able to give each shooter enough water pistols for a fair match.
The manufacturer recommends for children aged 3 and up, though older kids might prefer a more sophisticated toy. It is suitable for both kids and adults. The construction is sometimes variable; so make sure and check them before the battle gets started. Parents should caution older children to not be rough with these toys. For more water gun options, check out our top 10 best ones.
- Set of 20 shooters in different colours
- Other pack sizes available
- Shoots up to 6 metres
- Doesn’t leak
- Soft construction for injury prevention
- Durability issues
- Not very ideal for older children
The Nite Ize Flashflight LED Flying Disc offers another great way to keep the play going long into the night. It is a lightweight disc at only 185 grams. It measures about 28 centimetres in size. It is well-balanced and delivers accurate tosses. The addition of the batteries and the lights don’t affect the flight dynamics of this well-designed toy.
It is made of hard plastic that has a comfortable hand feel to it. The on/off switch is on the underside of the disc so that you’ll avoid touching it accidentally during play. It is also available in a Disco version for a cool light show during the match. While it is well-made, you might want to avoid playing catch with the family dog because of the batteries.
Strips of LED extend out from the centre, making the whole disc appear lit. It puts on a good show for spectators too. It is suitable for both day and night use. The disc comes with two lithium batteries that power match play for up to 20 hours. It is water resistant so that you can take it to the pool too.
- Bright LED lights for nighttime play
- Great visual show
- Floats, water resistant
- Four colour choices
- Balanced weight for greater accuracy
- Battery life is short
- Not ideal for fetch with pets
The Regency Ultimate 4 Player Badminton Set is a quintessential summer game. It features everything you need for a 4-person play. It includes four rackets, three shuttlecocks, guy ropes, steel poles, and a 20-foot (six metres) net. The net is durable with a rip-stop border that can handle the elements.
All the parts included are of high-quality, and are very well-made. We also liked the fact that the shuttlecocks are cork rather than plastic. The rackets are well-balanced for powerful swings. The set includes a carrying bag for easy transport. It is easy to assemble with everything you need to get the match going straightaway.
The assembled set is sturdy and can handle intense match play. Best of all, the net doesn’t sag. It’s not the cheapest badminton set out there, but you get what you pay for in a product. And with the other lawn games we’ve selected, it’s an excellent way to keep everyone active in what are sure to be fun matches.
- Handmade by Jaques of London
- Up to 4 players
- Very sporty
- Can be pricey
- Not for young children
- As with all racket sports, strings may break
The Cricket Set Size 3 is an affordable way to get your child started on this fun sport. The manufacturer’s recommended age is 5 to 8 years with a maximum height of 4 foot 9 inches (145 centimetres). The set includes everything your child will need to get ready for match play including a bat, bails, stumps, and a cricket ball.
The wooden bat is a good weight for new players in this age group. They’ll be able to get a decent swing with it. Parents, of course, will need to set the ground rules for play near the house. The other accessories are of good quality for an entry level cricket set. The carrying bag is so-so, but it gets the job done.
The bat is durable enough to last until your child is ready to move on to another one. The ball, bails, and stumps are alright for a beginner set. It’s provides good value for the price, especially if you’re not sure if your little one will like the sport.
- Carrying case
- Includes 4 wooden bails, stumps, and rubber cricket ball
- Sturdy wooden cricket bat
- Great for beginners
- Full supervision required for small children
- Not ideal for adult batting
The 10ft Zero Gravity Ultima 4 High Spec Trampoline is a quality product that is evident when you look at the construction. It has a heavy-duty weldless frame that is rust resistant. We liked the PVC top surface that holds up well to UV light. It has an extra thick pad with 20 mm thick EPE foam for added comfort and safety.
It has an internal safety enclosure with a quick release system for fast disassembly. It offers a good distribution of weight with plenty of bounce. There are eight legs and 56 springs in the 10-foot model. It also includes a ladder for easy entry and exit. And the great thing about a summer toy like this one is that your kids will have fun without realising the exercise they’re getting.
The trampoline offers lots of room and is also available in 4 other sizes. The weight limit varies with the product and range from 50 to 100 kg per single person. We were impressed by the fact that the manufacturer has done extensive safety testing on its own in addition to the EN71 certification. Parents will be glad to know that we found the customer service excellent if you have any issues. Trampolines are a great way to be active, and here’s our list of the other best trampolines you can look at for your selection.
- EN71 certification for safety
- Safety enclosure with quick release system
- Includes ladder
- Thick pad for added comfort
- Assembly can be hard
- Requires direct supervision at all times
The Elite Quoits Ring Toss Game is an excellent choice for a simple sport that offers fun for the entire family. It’s affordable, which will make mummy and daddy very happy. We loved the versatility of the game with its soft but durable rings, which makes it safe for both indoor and outdoor play.
It comes with an easy-to-assemble sturdy wood ring board and 5 rope rings. The easy gameplay makes it a toy for all ages. The manufacturer’s recommended age is 3 years old. Just set up the board and start tossing the rings. Even though we picked it for a summer game, it will do a great job of keeping your kids entertained during winter days when they’re stuck inside. We found it refreshing that a game doesn’t have to have flash to be fun.
Our experience with the manufacturer, Elite Sportz Equipment, was outstanding. Parents can feel confident with their purchase with its lifetime replacement warranty. The set comes with a case for easy transport though it’s small enough that you can keep it assembled. We liked the idea of creating friendly competition with matches between family members and friends.
- Lifetime replacement warranty
- Indoor or outdoor play
- Durable with a carrying case for portability
- Simple and fun
- Poles can get stuck inside base
What to Look for in Summer Toys
It can be hard to choose a summer toy or game that provides enjoyment to your children without costing an arm and a leg. Toys have become more sophisticated through the years which has also driven up the prices. That’s why it makes good sense to look beyond the flash and glitter to find summer toys that offer more value than just being the current fad.
Safety, the Primary Consideration
As a parent, you want your kids to be safe with toys that are well-made and durable. According to Child Alert, falling is the cause of nearly 40% of accidents involving children. Look for third-party safety certifications with toys such as trampolines. That shows a commitment by the manufacturer to produce a quality product with unbiased verification.
Safety also applies to added features that will prevent children from using a toy improperly. You know your kids best including the potentially harmful ways they may use a toy. Look for options such as locks and enclosures to ensure it’s used correctly. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations for age and weight capacity to make sure it’s appropriate for your child.
Also, consider where your children will use the toy. Look for features such as padding and smooth edges on products that will be used indoors to protect your furniture and walls. Likewise, think about the impact of summer toys on your lawn and garden. Some may require disassembly after each use which can affect the value of a product for you.
The Advantage of Family Toys
Summer toys offer an excellent opportunity to choose products that can involve the entire family. It can help strengthen bonds and improve communication. They provide benefits for both children and adults by encouraging interaction and team building. It’s a rare chance for kids and their parents to act as partners in a match.
Everyone’s enthusiasm will keep the matches going longer. As a parent, it also gives you the chance to supervise gameplay so you can make sure everyone is playing fair and using the toy as it is intended. It offers you the opportunity to see firsthand that the product is performing as advertised.
Getting Everyone Active
Obesity is a major health problem both in the UK and around the world. Public Health England estimates that 25% of children between ages 2 and 10 are overweight or obese. Choosing summer toys that get you and your kids active is a smart choice for everyone. After all, the activity patterns that kids learn as children will guide their lifestyle as adults.
Many toys also offer safe ways to build skills like coordination and balance to support good cognitive abilities. Others will challenge your kids to plan a strategy. And the more they engage your children both physically and mentally, the more likely they will continue to use the toys. A healthy dose of competitiveness adds to the fun for both you and your kids.
We wanted to do our part to encourage kids to be more active. A survey conducted by TLF Panel found that almost 40% of parents questioned spend one to two hours a day using technology. As much fun as it is, we’d like to see more time devoted to the skills smartphones can’t teach like social interaction and relationship building.
This video by the Public Health Agency discusses the importance of physical activity for children even if they’re active for short 10 bursts of exercise at a time. It all adds up in the long run.
Getting Your Money’s Worth
You should scan the product’s description carefully to verify what’s included. Some toys will include accessories such as batteries or balls, but not all do. You’ll also find out if you should stock up on extra things like bulbs. The last thing your kids will want is an interruption in the match because the batteries went dead.
Also, read the details for information about warranties. Manufacturers realise that toys will get rough treatment during play. Make sure major parts are covered for some time period in case you get a dud. Verify return policies and options for replacement parts.
You might find it helpful to scan reviews. Buyers are quick to identify sellers who provide poor customer service.
Finally, consider your part in the purchase. Find out what’s involved with assembly and the difficulty of the task. Look to make sure you have any necessary tools to put a summer toy together. It’s essential to consider the whole picture of what it means to own a particular toy especially if it’s a major purchase. Do the research before you hit “Buy Now”.
How Can I Incorporate Different Games?
Our selection of the best toys for summer 2018 includes picks for both land and water. Each one offers the opportunity for parents to interact with their children in a fun setting. Most of the games we selected are portable, so that the family can play at home or take it along on holiday. Most of them also involve the whole family to get everyone active. These games make for great viewing too, providing plenty of entertainment for the sidelines.
Conclusion: Which Summer Toy do you Recommend I Buy?
The popular summer toys of 2018 include a lot of games that kids can play at night or day to add to the excitement. The best ones provide benefits that go beyond just having the coolest toy in the neighbourhood. The idea is to engage your child into hours of creative gameplay that help in development. Children often get bored quickly with one type of toy. These group games remove that element by making it challenging and engaging. That makes any one of our choices priceless.