With summer fast approaching, parents are looking for engaging ways to keep their kids entertained outdoors. I love the idea of doing art projects outside. Being in nature inspires creativity, as do the kids outdoor toys I’ve found below.

From good ol’ fashioned sidewalk chart to a cool water pad for doodling, these outdoor art toys keep the fun (and mess) outside. (Pro tip: Washing your child off with a hose is a lot easier than bringing those toes covered in wet paint inside to the bath tub!)

What’s more, these art toys for creative outdoor play are a great way to get outside (and turn off screen time) even when the temps are soaring. They can sit in the shade and create to their heart’s content without working up a sweat!

Here’s to a summer filled with long afternoons outside painting, creating an imaginary world on a sidewalk canvas and inviting birds into a new home of your child’s own design.

Our top outdoor art toys this summer

Milestones Kids Garden Tile Stepping Stone Kit



Kids Garden Tile Stepping Stone Kit

A magical garden accessory, made more special because your child helped create it! Mix up the concrete and cast a mold that can be decorated with the included stained glass pieces. The kit contains everything you need to make a creative garden stone along with letter stamps to write their name. Display your colorful creations in a flower bed, at the base of a tree, in a container or even indoors.

Cico Kidz My First Rock Painting Book

Cico Kidz


My First Rock Painting Book

Painting on rocks is a great way to combine nature and art! Spend the first part of this outdoor activity finding a few rocks that would make a smooth canvas, and the second half creating your own mini masterpiece. Hardy’s book is packed with easy-to-follow directions and project ideas (just look at that cute penguin!) Also, rocks make perfect paper weights, i.e., an easy gift for kids to make for loved ones. Win, win!

Crayola Washable Finger Paint



Washable Finger Paint

Finger painting is a toddler rite of passage, and it’s even better when you can do this activity outdoors! We love the Crayola finger paints, which not only wash right off of hands (and most fabrics!) without staining, but still offer nice bold hues.

HearthSong Heavy-Duty Vinyl Inflatable Indoor and Outdoor Easel



Heavy-Duty Vinyl Inflatable Indoor and Outdoor Easel

This inflatable art easel will be a hit in the backyard this summer! This complete art set includes everything you need to paint masterpieces: four paints (1 oz. each), four shaped sponges, and a paintbrush. Skip the paper, as your kids can paint directly onto the canvas, which can be washed with a garden hose so it will be ready for the next project!

Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit Pastel -



One-Step Tie-Dye Kit Pastel

Summer isn’t complete without a good tie dye session. We love this kit because while it doesn’t absolve you of supervising, it does make the process a whole lot simpler and a lot less messy. Just add water to each of the pre-measured and filled bottles and dribble directly onto dry fabric. The results are just as stunning as the old fashioned way and with these subdued pastels, they somehow look even more profesh.

Renegade Made Sidewalk Chalk Tagging Set

Renegade Made


Sidewalk Chalk Tagging Set

This award-winning art kit takes sidewalk chalk to the next level with kindness by including everything you need to brighten up drab sidewalks with original art for others to enjoy. Using stencils with inspiring phrases, your kiddo will be making the day of everyone who walks by. This kindness kit contains: 6 packs of washable chalk paint in 3 colors, 3 paint cups, 7 re-usable high quality drawing stencils, paint brush, stirring sticks and a Renegade mask to conceal your true identity.

Mindware Make Your Own Bird Feeder



Make Your Own Bird Feeder

Build and decorate your own one-of-a-kind bird feeder! While your little one may need some help with the assembly, let their creative heart run wild with the included paints as they decorate. Once the paint is dry, hang the bird feeder outdoors and use the included guidebook to learn what seeds you can use to attract different birds. This birdhouse kit includes 6 wood bird feeder pieces, twine for hanging, craft glue, 13 paint colors, 3 paintbrushes and instructions.

Adsoner Doodle Drawing Mat



Doodle Drawing Water Magic Mat

Here’s a great toy that you can use both indoors and out. The Doodle Drawing Water Magic Mat is made of eco-friendly and high quality non-woven fabric, and big enough for friends to join in the fun. Kids will “paint” with a magic pen filled with clean water, and drawings magically disappear in 5-10 minutes, making it ready to doodle again! This is a great toy to bring along if you are going on a picnic or need to keep your child occupied while you’re outside. Love that it comes with stencils, too!

Crayola Glitter Chalk



Glitter Chalk

Don’t get us wrong. We definitely love us some sparkle. But when it comes to indoor glitter projects, we have…feelings. One spill and you’re finding that devil dust in places you never could have imagined for years. But outside? Go wild, kids! This ultra-fun sidewalk chalk from Crayola adds a touch of shimmer to all their sidewalk masterpieces. And the best part–what happens outside, stays outside.

Crayola Washable Neon Sidewalk Paint



Washable Neon Sidewalk Paint

Sidewalk chalk is fun, but it’s not the only medium in sidewalk art! These washable sidewalk paints from Crayola let them experiment with color mixing and application on all kinds of outdoor surfaces. The kit comes with three bright neon shades along with a reusable tray for mixing, a paintbrush, roller and three matching chalk sticks.

Alex Art Sidewalk Chalk Mandala

Alex Art


Sidewalk Mandala

While my kids always seemed to take great pleasure in writing the word “poop” seventy times across the sidewalk and driveway, it’s not always the artful look you’re going for. Encourage their creativity and give them a jumpstart on their composition with this cool kit. It comes with six pieces of chalk and a 22.5″ fold-out stencil to create intricate sweets-inspired patterns.

A version of this story was published June 14, 2021. It has been updated.