Looking for fun toys for your kids to play with outside? Toy Insider Senior Editor Marissa DiBartolo stopped by Better Connecticut in New Haven to talk about the most fun toys to explore nature with. For more on the items featured in this segment, check out the product notes below, and for our complete rundown of the best gifts for the season, check out our Spring and Summer gift guide.


  • Explore and uncover metal treasures just like a scavenger on Planet Jakku!
  • Find metal and watch this real detector activate with flashing lights and authentic Star Wars sound effects.
  • Hide coins or other metals inside the four included scavenger targets or find your own treasures!
  • The Jakku Scavenger Metal Detector is designed after Rey’s Staff and the lightweight, ergonomic design is great for kids.
  • Features a red LED light for nighttime explorations and a sensitivity control dial. Includes a full-color science learning poster where you can learn about the Planet Jakku, Rey, and how metal detectors work.
  • Age: 8+
  • MSRP: $29.99
  • Available: Amazon


  • The ONLY combined microscope and telescope out there!
  • Includes scope with 8x magnification, perfect-fit goggles with enlarged eyepieces, break-away strap, soft rubber hand grips, and telescoping barrel with 15x magnification for distance viewing.
  • Magnification and field of vision designed specifically for preschoolers’ level of perception.
  • Perfect for STEM learning and scientific exploration on the go! Encourages scientific exploration and discovery, and introduces the wonderful world of life science.
  • Age: 3-6
  • MSRP: $16.99
  • Available: Amazon



  • Get ready to have tons of fun in the sun with the all-new, totally redesigned NextWave Jumbo Beach Basket from Amloid! This bright and colorful activity set is packed with play value with all the accessories kids need to spend hours at the beach or in the sand box with new sand forms and a collection of multifunctional sand tools.
  • New features include a sturdy nylon shoulder strap along with a comfort grip handle for easy on-the-go portability. And the collapsible folding case makes clean up a breeze by shaking out water and sand when its time to go. Plus, the cover detaches from the basket to double as a super-sized animal sand form!
  • The 15-piece set comes complete with assorted sea creatures and nautical forms, bucket with handle, castle molds, rake, roller, sand spinner, sifter and shovels in a variety of sizes.
  • Available in three styles: Flamingo (pink), Whale (purple) and Shark (teal).
  • Ages: 2+
  • MSRP: $14.99
  • Available: Sam’s Club


  • Create colorful, marble designs with Marbled Rock Art! transform ordinary stones into vibrant works of art with this all-inclusive kit.
  • Follow along with the instructions to learn how to create unique marbleized designs and explore color mixing with primary colors.
  • Combine blue and red to create purple, blue and yellow to create green and add black to make vibrant colors pop!
  • With 2 pounds of stones in various sizes, you can create tons of rocking’ crafts! Rock Art offers kids a great source of creative fun. For outdoor display, be sure to add an exterior varnish to protect your designs from the elements.
  • Age: 6+
  • MSRP: $5
  • Available: Amazon, Walmart


  • My Fairy Garden is the first of its kind: a toy that’s also a real, live garden! Children love kits that allow them to grow plants at home; it gives them a connection to nature and a sense of satisfaction at having nurtured a living thing. My Fairy Garden takes it to a new, exciting level by allowing children to interact with it as part of an enchanting play set!
  • Children plant the quick-germinating seeds, and care for their garden, all while setting up and playing with adorable fairies, woodland friends and accessories!
  • Each kit includes everything children need to grow their very own fairy garden, nurture the plants, and play in the fairy world they create!
  • My Fairy Garden is also a great STEM product, teaching children about plants and growth!
  • Collect all three kits and eight accessory packs.
  • Age: 4+
  • MSRP: $14.99 – $29.99
  • Available: Amazon, Kmart, Target, Walmart


  • Shed some light on your kids’ learning adventures. Designed for both education and adventure, the Primary Science Headlamp Projector from Learning Resources equips kids with a wearable accessory ready to accompany them on any excursion.
  • In light mode, the headlamp casts a beam up to 10 feet in front of little explorers, giving them the illumination they need to plan imaginative explorations under beds, into closets, or within blanket forts.
  • In projector mode, the Primary Science Headlamp Projector becomes a tool of educational entertainment, projecting images from two animal-themed mini-discs onto flat surfaces 4 to 6 feet in front of kids. Teach vocabulary and early science concepts with pictures of reptiles, birds, and mammals, or just let imaginations run wild.
  • An adjustable elastic strap keeps the headlamp secure during all kinds of adventures, and a lightweight design means kids stay comfortable even after a long day of play.
  • Age: 3+
  • MSRP: $16.99
  • Available: Amazon


  • Discover paleontology and geology in this new series of excavation kits with scientifically accurate models and quality educational materials. The series includes eight excavation kits containing dinosaur replicas, fossils, and minerals; two collectible mini kits including a small blind dinosaur dig-out egg and a collection of mineral specimens; and one giant, 26-inch long dinosaur skeleton model kit.
  • Use the finely crafted hammer and chisel to discover skeleton reliefs, fossilized dinosaurs, and more from the surrounding soft plaster block.
  • Age: 7+
  • MSRP: $12.95 each
  • Available: Amazon