My Recommendations of The 3 Best Riding Toys for Toddlers
A time will come when your children are ready for riding toys. Of course one day they'll be riding bikes and skateboards but before then, they'll ride tricycles and gliders of various types. The riding choices have changed a lot from what I remember as a child. I remember the red four wheeled, foot pedaled car but that was only so good. It wasn't something my parents would put in the car to my older siblings soccer games as it was too bulky and didn't collapse. My big wheel would be brought from time to time but still, with all the soccer equipment in the car, it was an easy thing for my parents to say no to. Nowadays, it seems like a lot of these toys fold up nicely and are less bulky than what existed decades ago. These are my recommendations of the best riding toys for toddlers.
This has to be the coolest riding toy for kids. I remember rocking the big wheel when I was little and thought it went so fast and skidding out was a blast. While those memories are still dear to me, the PlasmaCar captures the best of all a child wants in such a racer. Your child should be ready to put on a brave face because these can go fast. With a long enough slope, your child can build up speed and hold on as gravity takes them flying. Before my boy was old enough for one, I remember watching kids in my area riding one on the street during a quiet time and getting enough speed to catch air off a small hump in the street design. And the little girl riding it threw her hands up for an extra level of thrill while it was going on. I'm pretty sure I saw a future fighter pilot that day.
While the description I'm giving puts a tag of danger on the item, the reality is that any of these toys can be dangerous when used irresponsibly. Pads, helmets, and explaining safety to your children is our responsibility. While we don't want to rob them of fun, we want them to come home in one piece. My boy is still young enough that his mother or I (or another responsible adult) supervises him when he rides such a toy.
No Pedal Balance Bike
I was skeptical when I first saw this. I didn't understand it. A bike with no wheels? How do you pedal? Does it go fast? It doesn't even have brakes! Is it a prop? After doing some research, I found out why this exists. It's a good stepping stone to get your child ready for an actual bicycle when the time comes. The idea is that a mix of using their feet to propel themselves, as well as stop, and finding balance while riding is prepares them for the actual thing. Ideally, the training wheels step can be skipped. I personally remember learning on training wheels and being reliant on them, as well as having a fear of falling off the bike. What wasn't taught to me is that when you're moving, and keep momentum, the bike stays balanced and there is little the rider has to do to maintain that balance, other than keeping their attention on the road ahead. A rider doesn't need to compensate for every left or right tilt and feeling of imbalance. Keep pedalling and keep going and you'll regain composure. Not just good riding advice, but good life advice too!
I find this to be the best starter trike for the age that they show they're ready. If your child is 9 months old and wants to sit on it, let them. Support them and let them ride around the house in it. Of course, hold the handle bars and guide them as they won't be able to actually propel themselves yet. However, doing some laps around the living room or going up and down a hallway is a fun experience and you'll get to see their big smile and hear their joyful laugh as they feel the freedom of riding. My favorite part about this toy is how the wheels fold into the body, making it very compact. That means it is easy to transport in a car, in a stroller, in a closet or garage, and won't clutter your house. The wheels on the trike seem to be inline rollerblade wheels and I've thought about swapping out the bearings on the wheels to something I'd put in a skateboard, but I have to remember my kids are young and my wife would kill me if I made their toys faster. I'm happy my children enjoy riding it so much, finding slopes to go fast down, and can tire themselves out with all their pedaling.
Giving kids the freedom to riding is a wonderful milestone. It's important to start them out right on their first riding instruments and let them taste some speed and excitement. Of course, everything suggested requires you doing your part too, to make sure they stay safe. Consider a helmets and pads when getting to real pedal bikes for them. Make sure you know what you need to do in case they have a serious fall that's worse than a scraped knee. But of course, give them the freedom and allowance to have fun and live a little.