Sensory seeking children mean extra giggles, extra wiggles, extra fun, and a seemingly endless amount of energy. But all that hyperactivity doesn’t have to be bouncing off the walls of your home, because incorporating outdoor play into a sensory-seeking child’s daily routine can be both healthy and incredibly fun.
“Sensory experiences through play promote sensory and emotional regulation,” explains Anne Vosicky, lead occupational therapist at Katiebug Therapy. “The child is learning to grow and play, while simultaneously receiving needed sensory input. It is a natural and fun way to help a child stay regulated and consequently better able to participate in other daily activities and routines.”
Knowing how important playtime is for all children, and that sensory seeking children require play experiences tailored to their needs, it makes sense that certain kinds of outdoor play toys would be beneficial for them. But with so many outdoor toys on the market, it can be difficult to know which ones to choose. That’s precisely why we’ve put together this list of the 12 best outdoor toys for a sensory seeking child.
Including highly rated toys I can personally recommend after using them with my own son, these toys are not just fun, they are exactly the outdoor amusement and sensory play your child needs.
1. Best Choice Products Large Wooden Sandbox
Sand provides an immersive tactile experience while encouraging the use of fine motor skills and cognitive planning, which is why playing in a sandbox is a building-block activity for any sensory seeking child. One of the highest-rated sandboxes on Amazon, the Best Choice Products Large Wooden Sandbox, offers bench seating that easily flips shut to form a cover once playtime is over. Constructed with heat-treated cedar that’s built to last, the aesthetically pleasing design blends with almost all outdoor décor.
$100 at Amazon
$120 at Walmart
2. Calm Max Trampoline
Trampolines have long been a favorite type of outdoor toy, as the perfect outlet for a child with an abundance of energy. But for sensory-seeking children who may also be enthusiastically impulsive or lack the ability to understand safety boundaries, having a safe trampoline is the only way to ensure playtime stays fun. That’s exactly what you’ll find in the Calm Max Trampoline. Reviewed at 4.6/5 stars on Amazon, this fully enclosed trampoline is ATSM certified with safety in mind.
From $190 at Amazon
There are few sensory experiences that compete with being immersed in water, which is why aquatic therapy is such a popular therapy choice for children. Your child can have an immersive sensory experience right in your own backyard with the 12-foot-by-30-inch Intex Prism Metal-Frame Pool.
This easy-setup pool is made to stay standing the entire season, so you won’t find yourself spending every weekend setting it up and taking it down. The pool also includes a cleaning filter pump for simplified maintenance. Popular on Amazon, we personally tested it and found it’s absolutely worth the budget-price investment.
$140 at Amazon
$165 at Walmart
4. Nova Kids Seesaw Swivel Teeter-Totter
Vestibular changes that come from moving up and down are a great way to meet the needs of sensory seeking kids who crave movement, and making movement happen is easy with the Nova Microdermabrasion Kids Seesaw Swivel Teeter-Totter.
A wildly popular toy on Amazon with more than 1,500 reviews and a 4.3-star rating, this teeter totter not only moves up and down, but it also swivels 360 degrees for extra sensory fun. ASTM, TUV/GS, and CE certified for top-notch child safety, it best fits children ages 3-10.
$42 at Amazon
5. Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower
The act of climbing and hanging upside down is a sensory seeking action well known to parents of little sensory seeking monkeys, and now those actions have a safe place to occur with the Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower.
Another hugely popular product on Amazon with over 6,500 happy buyers and a 4.5/5 star rating, this jungle gym is constructed using UV-protected, lightweight, interlocking plastic tubes that promise to be easy to assemble. Best for ages 3-8, reviewers love that, as the warm weather starts to fade, you can bring it inside to continue playing through the winter.
$128 at Amazon
$150 at Walmart
6. Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table
Sensory seeking children will absolutely love the Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table. It features a large splash play area to use its 13 included accessories, as well as a raised rain shower feature that little ones adore.
It also fits easily into small spaces, making it a great option for city or rural living alike. Plus, since it utilizes an easy-plug drain at the bottom, cleanup is near instantaneous. This water table encourages pouring, dumping, splashing, and laughing in one place.
$80 at Amazon
$80 at Walmart
7. Step2 Up & Down Roller Coaster
If you have a sensory seeking toddler, you know speed is definitely their thrill. That’s exactly what the Step2 Up & Down Roller Coaster brings to the party. This toy has been around for ages and isn’t going anywhere soon if the 5,000 Amazon reviewers who gave it 4.8/5 stars have anything to say about it. Gravity propelled, this toddler-sized roller coaster doesn’t require batteries or electricity to glide down its track. As a bonus, the coaster car can be self-propelled as a ride-on toy to be used anywhere.
$140 at Amazon
$109 at Walmart
8. Zerhunt Bubble Machine
Not all sensory-seeking children enjoy physical contact, but that’s OK because the Zerhunt Bubble Machine accommodates that need while providing a fair share of fun. Pumping out thousands of visually stimulating bubbles without any blowing actions required this bubble machine has been making kids happy for over a decade. While it’s the highest rated bubble machine on Amazon with over 12,000 reviews, if for some reason you aren’t satisfied, it’s backed by a 12-month warranty.
$30 at Amazon
$33 at Walmart
9. Lil’ Rider Wiggle Car
Parents of hyperactive sensory seeking children are often advised by therapists to engage their kids in “heavy” play, such as pushing an overloaded laundry basket around in an attempt to tire them out. That’s not typically an overly fun way for kids to enjoy themselves, which is why you should get your kiddo a Lil’ Rider Wiggle Car instead.
This car requires a bit of work to move, as it’s propelled forward by quickly and repeatedly turning the steering wheel back-and-forth, but the effort pays off in a satisfying way. Based on an award-winning design, 6,600 Amazon reviewers have awarded this product 4.5/5 stars.
$40 at Amazon
$39 at Walmart
10. Little Tikes Jump N’ Slide Inflatable Bouncer
If you have a sensory-seeking child who loves to bounce but would benefit from a softer landing, the Little Tikes Jump N’ Slide Inflatable Bouncer is exactly what you need. Complete with safety netting and a super fun slide, it’s easy to see why more than 10,000 Amazon reviewers and parents of sensory-seeking children everywhere turn to it as an outlet for hyperactive little ones. It also deflates in seconds and inflates in minutes, meaning fun is never far away.
$250 at Amazon
$220 at Walmart
11. Skyfort II All Cedar Swing Set
If you have a sensory seeking child who uses your house as their own personal swing set, it’s time to move that energy outdoors and onto the Skyfort II All Cedar Swing Set. Solid, sturdy, and made for kids both big and small, this set can truly grow with your child and their needs. This play structure has plenty of options to help get the energy outside of your kiddo and your house, including monkey bars, swings, a slide, climbing wall, and a club house.
$2,299 at The Home Depot
12. Wow Sports Super Slide
The Wow Sports Super Slide is ideal for older water fanatics who may have outgrown their water table and sprinkler toys. One of Amazon’s highest rated slip n’ slides with over 1,300 positive reviews, this extra-long slide is made of heavy-duty PVC, has inflatable bumper sides, and even includes two inflatable raft slides to cushion kids from sliding on the ground.
$150 at Amazon
$180 at Walmart
Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or Flipboard for the latest deals, product reviews, and more.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.