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Toddler Ride-On Toys: The Good, The Bad, and The Necessary

Toddler Ride-On Toys: The Good, The Bad, and The Necessary

Last updated on May 8th, 2024 at 01:38 pm

Are you looking for fun outdoor toys for your toddler? Before you hit the stores, check out the ins and outs of toddler ride-on toys!

One of the joys of being a parent is watching little ones grow and develop and gain a sense of independence and freedom as they mature. As little ones learn to balance, stand up, and eventually walk, toddler ride-on toys can provide endless hours of play for kids.

Ride-on toys come in many forms: 

  • Parent assisted ride on toys: Parents physically push the ride-on toy with a child in tow
  • Foot-to-floor ride on toys: the children move the toy with their own legs
  • Pedal-powered toys: ride-on toys move by using the pedals
  • Motorized toys: power-assisted by battery or electric power

Ride-ons can provide children with a great platform to develop gross and fine motor skills, refine balance, and help with coordination.

What Are the Best Ride-on Toys for Toddlers?

As most of us parents know, toddlers are very active. Toddler ride-on toys are a great way to harness this energy and use it to practice physical skills and develop new ones. Seek out toys that encourage your toddler to be active:

Good Toddler Ride-on Toys to Check Out

STEP2 Whisper Ride II Ride on Push Car

Step2 Whisper Ride II Kids Push Cars, Ride On Car, Seat Belt, Horn, Toddlers Ages 1.5 – 4 Years Old, Max Weight 50 lbs., Quick Storage, Stroller Substitute, Blue

Little kids love to play pretend in this push-style ride-on. The steering wheel is pretend but has a working horn and lots of interior space for a comfier ride. Features cup-holders and under-hood storage make it fun for the tot while convenient for the adult pushing.

Step2 Up & Down Roller Coaster Rapid Ride & Hide Edition

Step2 Up & Down Roller Coaster Toy for Kids, Ride On Push Car, Indoor/Outdoor Playset, Toddler Ages 2-5 Years Old, Compact Storage, Max Weight 50 lb., Multicolor, 30.5 x 23.5 x 14.75 inches

Your toddler will love cruising down 9 ft. of roller coaster track in an ATV-style coaster car! They’ll practice gross motor skills by pushing the coaster car back up onto the platform, as well as balance and hand-eye coordination while rapidly riding down the track. The track includes step pieces so that kids can easily climb into the car from either side. Great for indoor or outdoor use and on or off the track. 

Ride on Wiggle Car by Lil’ Rider – Ride on Toys for Boys and Girls

Wiggle Car Ride On Toy – No Batteries, Gears or Pedals – Twist, Swivel, Go – Outdoor Ride Ons for Kids 3 Years and Up by Lil’ Rider (Blue) 30"L x 13.5"W x 16"H,Green / Black

It’s so easy to operate; all you need is a driver and a smooth, flat surface. There are no batteries or fuel; just wiggle the front steering wheel, which is attached to two pivoting wheels and harnesses the natural forces of centrifugal force, gravity, and friction to cause the car to move forward and backward. Turn and navigate in small spaces indoors and ride outdoors. This is a great ride-on toy for any child age 2 or older and holds up to 150 lb.

Little Tikes Go and Grow Lil’ Rollin’ Giraffe

Little Tikes Go and Grow Dino Indoor Outdoor Ride On Toy Trike for Preschool Kids - Toddlers Dinosaur Inspired Toys and Toddler Trike to Develop Motor Skills for Boys Girls Age 1-3 Years

This ride-on toy (buy on Amazon) is a great starter ride-on and it’s also super cute! Who wouldn’t want to ride their own giraffe? The seat is adjustable and comes with customizable spot decals. Some assembly is required, but still very easy to put together.

LOL-FUN Baby Balance Bike

LOL-FUN Baby Balance Bike Toy for 1 2 Year Old Boys Girls Gift Toddler Tricycle 1-3 Year Old with Removable Pedal, 4 in 1 Trike for Ages 1-3 Present

This ride-on toy is one that will grow with your toddler. It features a 4-in-1 design that goes from tricycle to balance bike, to toddler bike with just the press of a button (or two)! Buy on Amazon

Kid Trax Silly Skaters Unicorn Ride-On Toy

Kid Trax Silly Skaters Unicorn Toddler Foot to Floor Ride On Toy, Kids 1-3 Years Old, Soft and Inflatable, Single Rider, Light Up LED Rollerskates, White (KT1590)

OK, so what kid DOESN’T want to ride their own UNICORN? This is going to be a home run! This ride-on toys is a soft, inflatable unicorn on roller skates for riding or pushing along. Motion-activated light-up LED roller skates add to the fun and fanciful style, and it’s constructed of soft, durable rubber material for long-lasting use. Buy on Amazon

Larktale Scoobi

Toddler Ride-On Toys: The Good, The Bad, and The Necessary

Want just one toy that will take you from ride-on all the way to a big kid scooter? Check out the Larktale scoobi. This awesome transitional toy goes from balance ride-on toy to tricycle to easy-to-use scooter. While pricier than the other toys listed here, this one will last you a lot longer. Use the coupon code LARK-TWIN for 20% off your order – Click here to buy.

What Toys Should a 2 Year Old Play With?

Toddlers are rapidly learning language and starting to test their boundaries and enter the inevitable “I want to do it by myself” stage. They have good control of their hands and fingers and like to do things with small objects. Pretend play also starts around this age. Introducing dress-up clothes, dolls, kitchen sets, toy cars, trucks, and airplanes encourage pretend play and imagination. Encourage creativity with large crayons, finger paints, and Play-Doh. During the toddler years gross and fine motor skills are developing quickly. Enrich these skills with puzzles, large Legos and blocks, and sand/water toys.

Toys for using their large and small muscles; balls for kicking and throwing, toddler ride-on toys, scooters, tunnels, low climbers with soft material underneath, and pounding and hammering toys are good age-appropriate toys also. Noisy toys are always enticing to children of all ages, but I suggest only buying noisy toys with removable batteries. 

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Can a 2 Year Old Drive Power Wheels?

Fisher-Price Power Wheels toys are designed for children ages 12 months to 7 years. However, the majority of drivable vehicles have a minimum age recommendation of 3. Every Power Wheels are built for a specific age group. Before buying a Power Wheels for your child, check the age range. If you’re worried about letting your little kid have full control in a Power Wheels, purchase a model with a remote control so parents can help steer. 

Are Ride-on Toys Worth It?

Ride-on toys are a great catalyst for kids’ physical and emotional development. Children’s ride-on toys help improve gross and fine motor skills as well as coordination and balance. These toys are a lot of fun and will give your kids a sense of freedom. They help kids to become more creative and confident. Playing with ride-on toys encourages physical activities and outdoor play.

A bike tire and a small boy balancing on pavement

What Age Is Best for Ride-on Toys?

The best way to determine if your child is ready for a ride-on toy, is by assessing the physical development of your child and also being aware of the age appropriate guidelines of the toy.

It’s not recommended to buy toddler ride-on toys for children that are 10 months and younger. Usually, kids at that age have not developed balance enough to help them sit up. This can make ride-on toys dangerous, due to risk of falling off. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics toddlers should have completed the following movement milestones before encouraging the use of ride-on toys:

  • Walk unassisted
  • Able to kick a ball
  • Can climb on furniture and other objects
  • Ability to climb stairs
  • Beginning to run

What Age Should a Kid Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels?

Learning how to ride a bike without training wheels is a major milestone in a child’s life, and while all kids develop at their own pace, the average age to master this skill is somewhere between five and seven years old. While developmental skills are one of the factors that influence when your child will start riding a bike on his own, availability is another. Your child isn’t going to learn until he tries to take off his training wheels and gets on a two-wheel bike. If they aren’t ready for this step just yet, try a toddler tricycle instead.

a toddler boy standing over a small bicycle with a helmet on outside

What Age Can a Toddler Ride a Balance Bike?

18 months to 2 years old is a perfect time to start a toddler on a balance bike. Introducing a balance bike early will allow your toddler to learn to ride independently from the very start. With little ones, a lightweight bike is especially key! The basic theory of the balance bike is that children will be more successful at riding a two wheel pedal bike if they learn the balance first. You learn the balance and then add brakes and the pedal. 

When you’re shopping for toddler ride-on toys, here are some things to keep in mind your child’s capabilities. While their age, height, and weight are key to helping identify the right toy and are often listed on toy packaging or instructions, as a parent you know best your child’s balance and coordination skills. It should go without saying: supervision is necessary. Particularly for kids that are using a motorized toy. Make sure they are comfortable and can properly control the speed and know how to slow down and stop.

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