Beat Summer Boredom with an Outdoor Toy Rotation

If your kids are starting to hit the doldrums of summer and constantly complaining that they’re “so bored!” let me introduce you to the magic that is an outdoor toy rotation!

The Best Part of Outdoor Toy Totations?!

Everything Finally has a Place to Call Home!!!

The secret best part of setting up an outdoor toy rotation is, now all those outdoor toys have a place to call home and aren’t just thrown all over your yard and driveway. The chalk, balls, trucks, and bubbles all have a permanent home that makes clean-up a breeze! 

a pin image that reads hwo to set up an outdoor toy rotation for 3 year old and 1 year old with two images one with a rainbow of chalk sticks and the other is a shot of a wooden toy shelf full of trays of toys.

In addition to all the toys having homes just like with toy rotations inside, if you rotate the toys that are outside, you’ll have less out, and clean-up time will be so much easier for everyone!

We actually have two different outdoor toy rotation setups. One for the front yard and one for the backyard. Do you need one in both locations? No, not unless you spend a fair amount of time in both locations. 

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You’ll want to consider where your outdoor toy rotations will be.

Our front porch is almost entirely sheltered so I felt comfortable putting a wooden shelf out there for our outdoor toy rotations.

I ended up with a second-hand changing table which I really like because it’s deep and will actually hold the various baskets and trays nicely. 

wooden diaper changing table holds baskets and trays of toys for out outdoor toy rotaion

Our backyard was a different situation and we don’t have any kind of well-covered space that I feel comfortable putting wood furniture out there.

our backyard toy shelf is a black metal coat tree with teal buckets hanging from the hooks and plastic bins and buckets on the lower shelves full of outdoor toy rotation toys

After some digging around the internet trying to find a weatherproof shelf with low shelves I came to the decision to use a metal coat tree/hall organizer shelf. I liked that this also had the hooks up high where we could hang little buckets to hold smaller things that we just need on hand! Sunscreen and bug spray.

You could also look into something like a potting bench or a bar cart. Just make sure it can stand up to the weather and you can use whatever you want!

Outdoor toy rotations work no matter what age of kids you have!

Bitty is nearly 4 and Bean is 17 months old, so our outdoor toy rotation is set up to serve us if your littles are older your items might be different but the principles will still apply!

By offering a limited selection of toys kids aren’t hit by choice paralysis and there is way less to clean up and less clutter on your lawn! It’s honestly such a win all around!

Take a Peek at my Outdoor Toy Rotation System for 2 Young Kids

I custom rotate the girl’s outdoor toys every month or so, but only during spring-summer-fall. The shelf obviously goes nowhere during the winter I just don’t rotate in the winter. 

a pin image that reads backyard toy rotation with four close-ups of some of our outdoor toy rotation toys

I have about 6 things out front and 4 things in the backyard. 

For our outdoor toy rotations, I try to always include a water play setup, some kind of dramatic play, some animals, and a fine motor item if I can figure one out. 

From there I will fill in with just add in some random toys that haven’t been used in a while and are waterproof!

Things that rarely rotate out are:

Chalk – This is always available, but I do try to change up how it’s displayed or presented. This is offered both in the front and the backyard.

Balls – sometimes I do put the balls away but they know where I keep them when they’re put away and if they want to get them out they are welcome to. We live on a fairly busy street so all of our balls are kept in the backyard

Mud kitchen, This is always out and is always open for them to play. This is in the backyard

Sensory bin – I never remove the sensory bin, but I do rotate what’s in the bins about once a month. This is on the front porch.

Check out how we build our outdoor sensory bin here!

a pin image that read how to build a sensory table in 8 simple steps with an image of the finished table in the afternoon sun and filled with dirt and flowers for a small toddler to play

What Outdoor Toy Rotation would be Complete without Some Gross Motor Options?!

Bean only has a couple of options at the moment as she just isn’t showing much interest. She has a popping push toy and a little scoot bike. She is starting to show a little more interest in the bike but isn’t riding it anywhere yet.

Bitty has her big girl bike, her strider bike, and her scooter as far as gross motor toys go. Then of course we have chalk for hopscotch and such. I was really hoping to be able to put the strider away this summer but she is resisting her big bike at the moment and I don’t want her to be without a bike

Take a detailed look at our outdoor toy rotation for a three-and-a-half-year-old and a one-year-old

Outdoor Toy Rotations – Front yard

We tend to spend a lot of time in the morning on our front porch. Bitty will be riding her strider bike in the driveway and there are other things for miss Bean to play with on our shelf. 

our front porch toy shelf for our outdoor toy rotation with the kids bikes and scooters near by

Up on the shelf is where I keep our chalk and bubbles. The shelf also has some hooks where we hang her jump rope and a towel because having a towel quickly on hand is never a bad idea 

Pool noodle discsthese are just an open-ended play idea that we made by slicing up a pool noodle! More often than not we use them in the pool

Nesting buckets awesome multipurpose buckets could be used in the pool could be used in the center bin could be used just to play anything. 

a set of rainbow nesting buckets

Plastic Blocks Bean is starting to stack so these are with her in mind

A collection of colorful plastic blocks

Gardening play setup – This is to be used with the dirt sensory bin that I have currently set up. Our tools have been collected over the years from random places, but I’ll link a set with similar peices

a dramatic play set up with flowers, pots, shovels and watering can for our outdoor toy rotation

Matchbox Cars Just a random collection of old matchbox cars we’ll probably take some stuff out of recycling to make ramps at some point

a random collection of matchbox cars spilled on the ground

Wing a Bubblesthese are so good for young bubblers because to get them to really work you got to swing those around with some gusto and we all know that small children rarely have the self-control to do bubbles normally

a metal cake pan with two wing a bubbles for our outdoor toy rotation

Melissa and Doug fishing game  This is a great pretend play as well as some fine motor game

magnetic fishing game and poles in a teal bin on the porch

Outdoor toy rotation – backyard

We have a separate shelf in the backyard with a few more toys on it! This serves us great for the evenings and weekends when we are all outside as a family!

out backyard rack full of toys for our outdoor toy rotation with buckets hanging on the hooks up high and baskets and bins on the lower shelves

Mega Blocks these don’t get used much anymore but the novelty of taking them outside has gotten them used quite a lot

some Megablocks spilling out of a bucket on the patio in the back yard

Fubbles Bucket – This is a great bubble option if you have littles who want to blow bubbles around older littles that can blow bubbles.

a blue fubbles no spill bubble bucket with green bubble wand

Balls – I pulled our balls out this month to encourage both girls to do a little more running. Bitty’s soccer ball, Beans texture ball, and some smaller texture balls

a random selection of balls in a plastic bin

Octonauts with seashells We really love the Octonauts around here and we happen to come into quite the little collection of seashells so I presented them in a little bit of a small world

three Octonauts figures standing amongst seashells on the patio

Lalaboom beads – this a great multipurpose toy that both girls enjoy building with

some large colorful plastic lalaboom beads sitting on the patio

Chalk normally I would not dedicate a whole big space to this but we just recently opened a brand new box so the novelty of having all the colors and unbroken sticks is fun

a rainbow of chalk sticks laying in a circle on the ground on the patio

What toys would you include in your outdoor toy rotations?

We have seriously been loving our outdoor toy rotations. It really helps us spend more time outside and it stays off the ‘I’m bored or ‘I don’t know what to do’. 

That said a lot of the time my girls just like to swing so there are days that we don’t touch our outdoor toys and that’s fine because we’re still spending time outside and that’s the whole point! 

a pin image that reads  what our outdoor toy rotation looks like with two images one with all the baskets filled with toys for the backyard and one with some nesting buckets

If you were to set up an outdoor toy rotation for your kids right now what do you think you’d include what are their go-to’s and what if your inside toys do you think would be a big hit outside?!

If you want to see more outdoor toy rotations make sure to follow me on  Instagram where I will share some more of our other outdoor fun!

a pin image that reads must-have outdoor toys lots of fun for 1000 hours outdoors with an image of a young girl growing a ball in the grass
a pin image that reads 3.5 year old and 1 year old rainbow toy rotation with an image of a rainbow of rope baskets in a circle filled with colorful toys to match
a pin image that reads 3.5 year old and 1 year old day in the life with an image of two young girls swinging in their backyard

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