Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. families are turning to outdoor play to manage social isolation measures and the cancellation of schools and organized sports. Sales of Outdoor and Sports Toys surged by $193 million during April, 2020, a 51 percent increase over the same time period last year, according to NPD Group.

“As families across the U.S. continue to grapple with school closures and the cancellation of organized sports, parents and children are turning to their backyards to keep active and busy,” said Juli Lennett, NPD’s toys industry advisor. “Across the country outdoor spaces are taking the place of daycares, schoolyards, and sports fields. As the warmer weather takes hold, these spaces are becoming increasingly important for families who are looking to take refuge outdoors while still adhering to widespread social isolation measures.”

Growth in the Outdoor and Sports Toys supercategory was driven by a number of categories that experienced strong dollar gains during April, including Playground Equipment (+81 percent), Skate/Skateboards/Scooters (+107 percent), Ride-Ons (+78 percent), Water/Sand Toys & Accessories (+47 percent), Pools (+161 percent), and Sports Activities & Games (+25 percent).

“With summer quickly approaching and many parents expecting to continue working from home, keeping children busy will become even more of a priority,” said Lennett. “Parents will be looking for more solutions to keep their kids active and engaged during the summer months, which will undoubtedly bode well for the toy industry overall.”