What I have
I have all the big climbers, slides and playhouses...along with many riding toys, doll strollers (their all time favorite), and bikes.
What I've Made
What the kids seem to like the best are items I make from items I have around the garage. I use several plastic milk crates and create an obstacle course. I place a sturdy board on one and the kids walk up the board like climbing a hill...then they jump off. They go to the next crate and get on and jump off. I have several of the single crates for them to get on and jump off and they are placed between the other items. Then they go to the bridge which is two milk crates with a board on top to walk across, I incorporated the portable slide for them to use and the teeter totter. They also love to race so we do laps around the entire yard. In between, or to rest I will have them do summer salts, lay and roll, or spider walking. Variety is important.
Other ideas are small spray bottles filled with water. They water all the flowers and will play with these for an hour. Great heat relief too.
Nature Takes Part
They love nature walks in my yard...which is quite large and has many flower gardens. I point out special colors and types of flowers and they see bugs, birds, bunnies, and squirrels. All learning opportunities.
I also have an actual garden for them and after planting the seeds and once things start to grow we will pull weeds, water the plants and gather the veggies when ready.
This weekend I bought cheap paint brushes and and small buckets to fill with water and they will pretend paint on just about anything.
As for store bought toys, the prices are often outrageous for new so I recommend checking rummage sales and Craigslist in your town or nearest town. That's where I have found all my really big outside toys.
Lil Rascals Child Care
Manhattan, KS 66502