Our outdoor toys are dirt and water. And sticks. Add a shovel if it is handy, otherwise they'll dig with a stick. And trees, if you have them. For us, the key is letting the kids do what they want to with the space. If they want to dig something up, move it, build it, I just let go of my ideas of what the space was for.
And don't forget GARDENING. Children growing things is really important. We don't have a lot of full sun, so a lot of our edibles are in pots, and we are starting to dig up the front lawn in some places. Its a slow process though.
We have Peas
growing next to the walkway out front. And more peas, lettuce, herbs and flowers
in pots on the other side. The girls did the planting themselves, and are helping dig area for the summer veggies.
We also love our hammock
This year we put up a rope swing
, which gets daily use.
also gets a lot of attention. They can use all the water they want without me telling them to turn off the hose, and they love going out after a storm and seeing how fast it pours out. When we haven't had rain, they do other things, but most of the time there is a lot in there. Its a great system! This spring they started digging ditches from the barrel into imaginary "waterways", they do this a lot now.
At my SILs house they built the "waterway" through her side garden
, and it is now a permanent addition, so beautiful as the plants are growing in.
Oh, And teepees, stick forts,
etc. 4 sticks and and old sheet. We use it every day.
We had a big beautiful wooden play structure with all the accessories at our previous home, and we have never had as much fun outside as we do here.