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 AgeThe 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.
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!
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.
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 :)