Your first set of wheels is a big deal. For most of us it happens when we’re toddlers, with a ride on on toy that we can shuffle about the house on at top speed, terrifying the pets, and our parents. Choosing the right ride on toys for toddlers is important as they will take up a fair bit of space and likely be a feature of your life for quite a while. Here are some tips of choosing the right one for you and some examples of the best toddler ride on toys.
If you have a very active toddler, you might also like this post about indoor climbing for toddlers.
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Things to Consider When Choosing a Ride On Toy
Firstly, will your ride on toy live inside or outside? If it’s going to be an outside toy you’ll want something that will stand up to the weather so avoid wooden ones and only go for metal if you have somewhere dry to store it.
What is your toddler like? A younger toddler might be best with an easy to control, 4 wheel toddler ride on car with a good, wide seat. An older or more adventurous toddler might be ready to try a toddler balance bike.
You’ll also want to consider how much space you have for your toddler to ride the toy. If it’s an outside toy and you have a big garden then you can choose a fairly big toy. If it’s only going to be ridden in the house you’ll want something fairly small that your toddler can steal around the furniture.
You’ll also want to consider the future of the toy. Are you aiming to buy something that will last? A child may only really use a ride on toy for a year or two but if you want to pass it on to other children you’ll want something durable. If it’s for more than one child you might also want to consider a unisex design.
Features of Ride On Toys
My kids had a train shaped plastic ride on and their favourite thing about it was the little cubby under the seat where they could put their toys. I’d definitely advise looking out for some storage in your ride on toy. Alternatively, trailer that pull along begins the ride on offer a similar opportunity to carry things about.
Some ride on toys offer extra features like buttons to press, things to spin, sounds to make etc. These can be a nice addition if you are buying for a baby who’s not quite ready to ride it yet but aren’t really necessary for toddlers. Lots of walkers are designed so that they can also be used as a baby walker and this is handy because it saves you buying two quite big items.
There are also a small number of ride one that are foldable, like the Skuttlebug*. This is really useful if you are short of storage space or plan to take it to a lot of places with you.
Types of Ride On Toys For Toddlers
There are a lot of different options when choosing ride on toys for toddlers, be,ow is a summary of the options available, their pros and cons and links to some of my favourites.
Plastic Ride On Toys
The majority of ride on toys you come across will be made of plastic. It’s great because it’s fairly durable, comes in lots of colours, are lightweight and is usually the cheapest option. Classics like this Thomas the Tank Engine ride on* are popular. The Little Tikes Cozy Coupe* is another classic plastic ride on but they are large so it’s one you’ll need plenty of room for and you may prefer to keep outside.
Wooden Ride On Toys
If you’re keen to avoid plastic, there are lots of wooden options you could consider. They tend to be heavier and more expensive than their plastic counterparts but are likely to last well and be less of an eyesore in your living room. If you want something fairly small this Ladybird is a great choice*. if you want something really special then this Roadster* is amazing. It’s expensive but can be good value if your child has siblings to pass them on to. They also sell well secondhand.
Electric Ride On Toys
If you fancy splashing out, then you could consider an electric toddler car. They are great fun and toddlers usually love them but you will need a good amount of space to get the best out of them. Most electric ride ons are either quad bike style* or made to look like miniature real cars. Bear in mind that electric ride on toys will need their battery charged so can sometimes be out of action at the time your toddler wants to play.
Swivel Ride Ons
Swivel ride ons are moved by the child turning the wheel from side to side which creates forward motion In a way I’m not scientific enough to understand. They are fun for much longer than an average ride on but it usually takes toddlers a while to get the hang of them. You’ll also need a good amount of space as they need to build up momentum. Swivel cars* are great for older toddlers and preschoolers and they also offer walker/ride on hybrid* for older babies/younger toddlers.
Plush Ride Ons
In the last few years, the cost of plush ride ons, usually horses* have come down in price. Like the swivel cars, there is a knack to getting them moving but they will last longer than most ride ons and can be fun with less room than you need for swivel cars.
If you don’t fancy wheels you could go for a bouncer instead. These inflatable animals* are a bit like space hoppers and can be fun for an energetic toddler who has a good sense of balance. They aren’t really a replacement for a ride on toy but can be a good addition to give some variety. My children often sat on theirs to watch to TV.
Toddler Balance Bikes
While not great while they are still very little, a toddler balance bike* can be an option if you have a very active child. They are usually have two wheels at the front, quite close together and one at the back, making them more table than a standard balance bike but they require more balance than a standard ride on. You can also get tricycles* where the back wheels can be moved closer together and eventually changed to just one wheel so that they require more balance once the toddler is ready. They’re great for getting one ride on that will work for different ages.
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