• Choosing the right bike, or ride-on toy for your Toddler.

    When there are so many options out there for ride on toys, balance bikes, trikes and other hybrid's how do we choose the right one for our Toddler? Especially to avoid filling up our yards, decks and even houses with many of these gizmo's hoping to find that "magical" one he or she loves!There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the right bike for our little ones, here are some of the main ones to consider.

    1. Child's Age

    The first and most important consideration is your toddlers age (and ability). If they are under 1, you might want to consider very simple & affordable ride-on toys.

    Really good choices in include the Scramblebug & YBike. Both of these toys have 4 wheels, are very low to the ground and are easy to get on and off. They also allow your little on to maneuver in different directions without having to steer! This will keep your Toddler entertained for many months.
    Other options include many choices of cheap ride on toys made by many manufactures (such as Fisher Price) that just go back and forth. These are fun, cheap but don't generally have a lot of staying power. Kids will get bored fast. If you do buy one of these, look for used options, or something affordable that will let you upgrade later on.
    What about Kids over 1-2 years of age?

    Once kids are a little older they seem to have the ability to either steer or pedal - but not both at the same time. Most kids this age are still a little small for a balance bike, but are often beyond the boring ride on that just goes back and forth.

    If you already own something like a YBike or Scramblebug then it might see you through right until Balance bike age, but what if you just have a back and forth cheapo ride-on? If that's the case - I'd highly recommend looking at something like the Scuttlebug, or the Chillafish Bunzi. These are great because they teach your child how to steer without having to pedal. And children love steering! As they are 3 wheel ride on toys, they do teach a little bit of balance as well.

    The only criticism I have of all these toys is they don't work outside very well, their wheels are too small and not very grippy. The only toy I know of that possibly works well outside at this age is the wishbone convertible bike. But, I don't necessarily want to recommend that as its super $$ and wood (heavy and can't be left out in the rain). For less money you can buy a Scuttlebug AND a better quality balance bike. But that's just my 2 cents!

    Another option (especially for outside) could be something like a specialty Balance Trike. These aren't readily available in Canada at an affordable cost, but still worth mentioning. Google Italtrike to find those. Maybe one day Scamper Gear will carry them! They do seem like a good & very durable option for schools and daycares.

    Alternatively, you could go for an old fashioned tricycle. You'll have to find one small enough though, as most trikes are still too big for kids under 2.  Once Kids are two - I have lots of reasons to skip the trike and move to a balance bike! There are some push trikes out there (Smart trike for example) if you want to go this route. See if you can find one used, as new they are $$ and I don't think the quality is all there.
    2. Budget
    Ride on Toys for kids under two are often less expensive and easy to find. They get expensive when looking at specialty items such as the Wishbone, just make sure that really suits your needs over the long-term! If you're on a budget look at purchasing items (such as a Scramblebug) that will work for the first two years, then move to a Balance bike which will keep them going until they're ready for a pedal bike.

    If you have a bigger budget, maybe consider a simple ride on until they are 1-1.5 and then move to a 3 wheel and steerable ride-on such as the Scuttlebug until they are 2 and move to a balance bike.

    3. Purpose
    Is the toy mostly for inside, or do you need to use it outside? if its for inside, or on a level surface such as a deck - there are lots of good options. As I mentioned above, if its for outside options are limited for little kids!

    Once they are old enough for a balance bike, make sure you choose one that works in all weather conditions. I'm obviously a huge fan of the FirstBIKE but there are some other good options out there. Watch for quality pneumatic tires, sealed bearings, materials that can get wet & a size that fits your child.

    4. Size

    I've already covered this a little in the previous sections, but be aware to ensure any toy you buys is not only suitable for the age and maturity of your child - but also the size. For example there are LOTS of tricycles out there that are way to big for little kids. Most of them are too big for any child under two (they just can't reach the pedals).

    When your child is old enough for a balance bike (most kids are ready from 18mo - 24mo) then be sure to buy a bike that adjusts to a size small enough for your child - and goes big enough to last for the long term!

    So, that's it - my 2 cents on how to choose a ride on toy for your Toddler :)

  • ← Next Post Previous Post →