Your questions answered

Question: We have a garden but its quite small. What are the best outdoor toys to buy for 3-5 year-olds, taking limited space into account?

Dr Richard Woolfson's Answer:

Variety in play is very important, so whatever outdoor toys you have, switch them round every few days – the fact that you have a small garden, therefore, doesn’t really matter. Outdoor toys don’t all need to be in use all at once.

As safety is very important, always buys toys only from a good supplier and that are appropriate for your child’s age group. In my view, there are no “best” outdoor toys because much depends on your child’s interests, his skills, his personality and the toys that he already has. Having said, that, here are my personal preferences... I would recommend the basics to start with, like a climbing frame, a seesaw, a swing, a slide, a trampoline, a tunnel to climb through and a sand/water pit. Then there are ride on toys that your child has to push round the garden with his feet, and pretend-play toys for, say, gardening. Remember, he doesn’t need to have them all. Any toy that gets him to move his arms and legs – and that he enjoys – is entirely suitable. Children this age also love playing with a large ball. or a bat and ball. There is no harm in letting him try to use a skipping rope, although he might find this frustrating. If you notice that he plays with the same outdoor toy all the time, put that one away for a couple of days while he plays with another.