kids

The sand bucket list: 6 backyard toys for kids that parents love too.

Little Tikes
Thanks to our brand partner, Little Tikes

As a kid I used to get so pumped for the warmer months of the year. Instead of being cooped up inside, our backyard was transformed into a wondrous play zone, filled with laughter and yes, a healthy amount of chaos.

These days I see the same excitement in my kids, and I love joining in the fun. It’s a time to be silly, learn and make special memories together, especially after I’ve had a crazy busy week at work and need that time out.

After a mammoth play session, we always come out smiling and feel more connected as a family.

So, ever since my two boys entered toddlerhood, we’ve been expanding our collection of outdoor toys. For durability, design and good old-fashioned fun, I can’t go past the range from Little Tikes.

Little Tikes
My boys in their Little Tikes play house. Image: Supplied.

They've just celebrated their 50th anniversary of creating toy experiences that generations of kids, and their parents, continue to fall in love with.

Here are my top picks for spring and summer, for everyone from small babes to toddlers to little kids under five:

1. The Cozy Coupe® ($149) – styling wheels for mini cruisers.

LittleTikes Cozy Coupe
The Cozy Coupe is a Little Tikes classic and for good reason. Image: Little Tikes
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The Cozy Coupe is the most iconic item in the Little Tikes range for good reason. It’s easy to manoeuvre and sends little imaginations into overdrive.

I used to love powering around in my Cozy Coupe as a toddler and it warms my heart to see my kids do the same. After a few races around the backyard, they stop off at their imaginary petrol station, switch off the ignition and they open the gas cap and pretend to refuel while making a “glug, glug, glug” noise. Or if you want an even more realistic experience, there's a Little Tikes Cozy Pumperyou can get separately so it's like they're really filling up the car at the petrol station.

And when my little ones want a “supercharge”, I give them a push using the top handle, which guarantees a giggle.

While the range was limited in my toddler days, it’s been reinvented to include the Dino, Princess and Patrol Cozy Coupe, as well as the super cool Cozy Truck.

2. The Gas ‘n Go Mower ($39) – grass-cutting fun for the little one.

LIttleTikes GasnGo
The Gas ‘n Go Mower encourages kids’ natural inclination to imitate. Image: Supplied.
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Kids love imitating their parents or carers. Whether it’s pretending to vacuum, cook or get dressed up, I often turn around to find my little ones mirroring my moves and giggling. That’s why their faces lit up when they first saw the Gas ‘n Go Mower.

This ingenious toy lawn mower encourages kids’ natural inclination for pretend play. Its hands-on features and sounds mimic a real lawn mower and everything is mechanical, so you won't have that frustrating experience of ever having to replace batteries.

It's cute how the kids can pretend to fill up with the removable gas can. By the time their chore list includes actual mowing, I reckon mine will be experts!

3. Sizzle ‘n Serve Grill™ ($69) – for fun family barbecues.

LittleTikes SizzlenServe
The Sizzle ‘n Serve Grill™ is perfect for pretend play at dinnertime. Image: Little Tikes.

After a hard day’s mowing, take a load off and enjoy a barbecue with the kids. Or, a safer way to get them around a barbie would be to get them the Sizzle ‘n Serve Grill.

In my household, while Dad burns the snags on the Real McCoy, the kids could serve me an entrée of pretend hamburgers and hot dogs complete with condiments. Their faces will light up as a I munch away on my plastic meal and give their cooking efforts a five out of five.

When the kids use this pretend grill, they'll share utensils and discuss when it’s time to flip the burger patty. Love a bit of teamwork!

4. Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark ($149) – a splishy, splashy good time.

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LittleTikes SpiralinSeasWaterpark
The Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark will provide hours of fun on warm days. Image: Little Tikes.

On hot days, there’s nothing better than a bit of water play. And no, you don’t need a pool. When the temperature goes up, get the kids in their bathers and create a fun zone with the Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark.

The kids drop balls down the spiral and watch them travel down into the lazy river, then turn the Ferris Wheel to scoop up and drop off the balls. It’s all about squirting, splashing and laughing while everyone gets drenched. If you want to create “the best day ever”, simply whip out the water table and it’s smiles all round.

5. Totsports ™ T-Ball Set ($25) – a big hit with the little and not-so-little kids.

LittleTikes TBallSet
The Totsports T-Ball Set™ is the toddler’s backyard game of choice. Image: Little Tikes.
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Little kids and big kids will have a blast playing ball with the Totsports T-Ball Set. The whole family can get involved in a game and the kids will be ecstatic when they hit a home run.

I’m about as sporty as a geriatric tortoise but I really look forward to playing ball games with the kids. It teaches them about sportsmanship while helping us all keep active (even if Mum fails to score).

For only $25, this set is my go-to gift for kids aged 18 months to five. It's always a big hit.

6. Activity Garden™ ($149) - for movers, shakers and crawlers.

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So much to do in the Activity Garden. Image: Little Tikes.

The Activity Garden is affectionately known among my mum friends as the “ultimate boredom buster”. It’s packed with different knobs, buttons, balls, sounds and sorters that stimulate little brains.

It even includes a Tap-a-Tune piano, telescope and shutters – perfect for a game of parent peek-a-boo.

It’s the ideal indoor/outdoor toy and sure to be a winner with kids aged six months to three years. It almost makes me want to have another bubba so I can buy one. Almost.

For more of Little Tikes' range, including their play houses, swings and slides, visit littletikes.com.au.

What are your favourite toys for spring?

Little Tikes

At Little Tikes, we understand every day is an adventure with more to discover. We make products that encourage active and imaginative play. Products that get small bodies moving spark curiosity, create wonder and let kids dream big. With 50 years of expertise in play, we're experts at doing it right! We are known for our playhouses, ride-ons, sports, sandboxes, climbers, slides, role-play, infant and preschool toys and we love what we do. Check out our range at one of our participating retailers, or online at www.littletikes.com.au

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