Ride on toys for toddlers are one of the perfect toddler outdoor toys, because little people just love to be in motion. Whether it is a bike, a trike, or a little donkey or car that your toddler pushes around with her feet, ride on toys foster independence, encourage creative play, exercise your toddler’s muscles and give him or her reasons to get out into the fresh air and sunshine.
You have lots of options in ride on toys for toddlers; some more appropriate for little people, some good for older toddlers, and others that are good through the whole range. These include:
• Toddler bike—The most advanced of ride on toys, a two-wheeled toddler bike is usually appropriate from around four or five; although balance toddler bikes (those without pedals) can be used by younger children.
• Toddler trike— either a traditional three wheeled tricycle or a car/animal style version of the same; these are good for learning pedaling without having to worry about balance.
• Toddler pull toys—toddler wagons and sleds where one toddler ‘rides on’ while another pulls, or where mom or dad pulls; there are also other toddler pull toys made to be dragged around but not ridden.
• Toddler push toys—wheeled toys that your toddler sits on and pushes with his or her feet
• Motorized ride on toys toddlers ride – toys your toddler sits on, but which are powered by batteries, not toddler-muscle
• Toddler rocking toys—toys that your toddler rides on, but which stay in one place.
• Toddler bouncers—balls, horses, or other rubber animals that your child moves by bouncing from place to place.
What is best for your little one? It depends on how old your child is and what you want from the toy. Toddler push toys are wonderful for one, two, and three year olds, who don’t yet have the coordination to pedal but love to take charge of their own mobility and cruise around. A four or five year old will, most likely, still enjoy toddler push toys, but he or she will also be ready for toddler trikes with pedals. Using either a push toy or pedal trike will give your child’s legs lots of exercise and help him practice his independence and steering.
Balance bikes for toddlers add in one more important toddler skill: yes, balance! It’s something that’ll eventually be automatic for your child, but that doesn’t mean the victory is any less when it is finally mastered. Then, putting balance skill and the pedaling required for a regular toddler bike together makes your toddler into a maestro of ride on toys for kids.
Then there’s toddler bouncers—perfect to introduce anywhere from a year up to late toddlerhood and beyond. A one year old won’t be able to move the thing, but will probably enjoy bouncing in a stationary way; an older child will be able to gallop through the house.
Rocking toys fall into a completely different category. What does your child learn while playing these? Not much, maybe, but it is exercise, and rocking is a very fun exercise for many children. What’s more, there’s a bit of a physics lesson every time your child sits on the toy, and lots of opportunity to learn cause and effect as it relates to gravity. Rocking toys are especially useful indoors, when there isn’t quite enough room for push toys, trikes, or bouncers.
Motorized ride on toys are the last category of ride on toys toddlers. I don’t recommend them much because they give your child less opportunity for independence and action—but they are good for learning steering and safety rules of the road, and many children love them. If getting enough exercise is not an issue for your toddler, a motorized ride on toy will not hurt him.
There’s a run up of the various types of ride on toys for toddlers —follow our links to find out more about each type, and to read reviews of the best samples of each.