Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Monday 30 January 2023 Dublin: 7°C
# parents panel
9 of the best-value outdoor toys for young kids, according to real mums and dads
Here’s the stuff that’s worth the money (and the flat-pack assembly) this summer.

parents-panel-banner-final1.1 - Copy Shutterstock / Shutterstock / /

AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we’ve created a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads can share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way.

When summer weather arrives (or it stops raining for a day or two), it’s time to get the kids outside to soak up some much needed vitamin D. We asked parents of young kids…

Which outdoor toys were worth the money for your young kids?

Here’s a selection of the best on the market (and a few DIY options too), according to our panel…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy - Copy - Copy Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

For Clíodhna’s first birthday she got two brilliant outdoor gifts from relatives who knew their stuff. First, a plastic turtle sandpit that was loved last summer and has been played in loads this year so far. Second, a toddler picnic table which we move between the house and garden. It’s very light and easy to move, and great for playing with playdough or colouring on.

- Ríona Flood

With four young kids, our must have garden toy is the swing and climbing frame set out the back. It was delivered as one big (expensive) kit of wood, bolts, screws and a large book of assembly drawings! It took two long weekends and a few bashed and freezing fingers to get built, but it was well worth the hassle. Its robust and it’s full of adventure, and is coming with us when we move house soon.

- Ross Boxshall

image4 (1) Ross Boxshall Ross Boxshall

The best thing I ever got for the kids was a very large inflatable water slide from B&Q, bought on end-of-season markdown at half price, and used the following summer. When fully inflated it was nearly 15ft tall and the kids would get hours of fun out of it.

- Ken Hyland

Ellie Mae is four and she does love the Little Tikes playhouse in the garden – but the thing she uses most is an outdoor chalkboard that I DIYed from an old bed headboard. I took the covering off it, gave it two coats of chalkboard paint, and all in all it cost me €10.

- Denise Cumiskey

20638928_1563729563692045_8370862765121047725_n (1) Denise Cumiskey Denise Cumiskey

Our son’s most-used outdoor toy is the sandpit we got him in Lidl a few years back, with a canopy over it that lowers down to cover the sandpit when not in use. It was a present for his second birthday and, three years later, he is still getting great use out of it! The canopy provides some nice shade and it lowers down to stop grass and bits of rubbish blowing in.

- Olly Keegan

Picture1 Olly Keegan Olly Keegan

To be honest, out of all the toys we’ve had over the years, a ball is probably the one that is used the most. A soccer ball and a rugby ball covers all the bases, for switching moods. As with all kids though, the things they play with change with the wind. Even balls and bikes get parked up for periods of time.

– Alan Dooley

We have no garden, just a balcony, but we have a sandpit and an IKEA tent out there for our three-year-old – though I’d love a garden with space for a climbing frame.

– Marta Lisiecka

Plus, want to win a getaway to Kilkenny’s luxurious Lyrath Estate? Enter right here – and don’t forget to subscribe to our Family Newsletter in the box below!

More: 8 of the best parks and playgrounds around Ireland, according to parents of young kids>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel