Sep 05 , 2020
You might have seen kid-sized versions of Lambos, trucks, and cute fire engines around the toy store at some point or another. These aren’t just a novelty for curious collectors to keep at home. Designed to come in all shapes and sizes, ride-on toys are a popular item that babies and little kids can use to zoom around and explore new frontiers.
Ride-on toys refer to any toy that kids can ride and use to move on their own, either through foot power or with the help of a motor. These don’t only include bikes and scooters, but also motorized mini cars, toy rockers, sit-on riders, and trikes. What makes ride-on toys so special is that they provide endless opportunities for fun play, gross motor skill development, imagination, and safe exploration. The freedom your child gets from zooming around with his own special ride-on toy is truly like no other!
When can my child start using a ride-on toy?
It’s best to let your child start having fun with a ride-on toy when he’s around 1 year old. This is because younger babies may not have the sense of balance needed to keep themselves upright on rocking horses pedal cars, and other similar toys. Your young baby may have an easier and safer time playing around with a stationary activity center instead.
Indoor ride-on toys without any pedals or motors are great for 1-year-old babies who have already mastered walking. These toys only need to be pushed with both feet to move, making them perfectly safe and easy for curious babies. When looking for an indoor ride-on toy for your baby, make sure to look for these features:
- The toy should be close to the ground. Your baby should have an easy time getting on and off your chosen ride-on toy, and he should be able to plant his feet completely flat on the floor while moving around with it.
- Choose four-wheeler ride-on toys. Toys with only two or three wheels may not be stable enough for your young baby. In contrast, toys with two sets of wheels are less likely to fall down or cause injuries to your little one. When in doubt, you can always stick to simple and safe rocking horses.
- Watch out for small parts! As always, make sure there aren’t any tiny choking hazards on the toy. If there are removable parts, make sure they aren’t small enough to fit into your baby’s mouth.
The Best Benefits of Ride-On Toys
Ride-on toys offer more than just hours of fun for little kids. They can also really help with your child’s physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development. Here are some of the best benefits ride-on toys have to offer.
1. Essential Skill Development
Toys are meant to nurture your child’s sense of learning and skill development. Ride-on toys enable your child to build crucial gross and fine motor skills. When your child pushes himself to move around, he builds strength in his legs and core muscles. Kids also get to improve their sense of balance and coordination when they steer to the left or right. Gripping handlebars and pushing buttons also help kids build strength and better control of their wrists, hands, and fingers. The learning possibilities that come with a great ride-on toy are endless!
2. A Sense of Confidence and Curiosity
Kids develop a great sense of confidence and achievement when they get to master a new skill all by themselves. By riding around in a toy they can truly call their own, kids can become more confident about their abilities and become more motivated to learn all they can from free play. Small milestones, such as discovering a new area at home or pressing a new button, provide little kids with joy, confidence, and a great sense of independence.
Ride-on toys are also great tools to use when building your child’s sense of curiosity. Moving around with a ride-on toy motivates kids to learn more about their surroundings. When kids explore the backyard or even the living room with a ride-on toy, they get to discover new and exciting textures, sounds, and sights.
3. Improved Group Play Skills
Sharing and taking turns are important social skills that aren’t always easy for young kids. By teaching your child how to share his ride-on toy with siblings and friends, you can help him improve his social skills and bond better with other people. Your little one can also build a deeper sense of confidence and improve crucial socio-emotional skills, such as building positive relationships and exercising self-control, when he gets to play around in a ride-on toy with parents, friends, and relatives.
4. Fun Exercise
Exercise is just as important as nurture and naptime. Ride-on toys provide endless opportunities for kids to move around and strengthen their arms, legs, and core muscles. Kids who are motivated to exercise with a ride-on toy can also become more motivated to work out and improve their health later on. Your child’s heart, lungs, and overall health are sure to improve with the safe use of a ride-on toy.
5. Better Problem Solving Skills
Exploring new spaces with a ride-on toy allows your child to exercise crucial problem-solving skills. Ride-on toys help kids learn not only about avoiding obstacles, but also figuring out when to apply more or less strength in their legs, and turning left or right to reach a destination. By avoiding walls, moving around furniture, and navigating all kinds of areas, your child develops the spatial and cognitive skills he’ll need for day-to-day activities later on in life.
Safety Tips for Ride-On Toys
Ride-on toys may be fun and exciting, but they can also become dangerous hazards when used carelessly. Here are some crucial ride-on toy safety tips to remember.
- Avoid motorized or battery-operated toys. Ride-on toys that move on their own using a motor or remote control aren’t safe for little kids. They provide less control than non-motorized toys, making it easy for your child to encounter accidents while playing. Stick to safer manual toys instead.
- Don’t let your child zoom around upstairs. Any stairwell, even a short one, is bound to become hazardous for a curious little kid. To avoid any chance of your child falling down a flight of stairs, always make sure that he uses a ride-on toy on the very first floor.
- Always provide protection. Let your kids build the habit of wearing helmets and other protective gear while they cruise around. This will ensure that they don’t suffer serious injuries and motivate them to play safely for the rest of their childhood.
- Maintain constant supervision. Accidents are bound to happen when you aren’t looking. Keep a careful eye on your kids when they around in your back-yard or sidewalk. Watch for possible signs of danger, such as loose objects and incoming vehicles. Most of all, make sure your child doesn’t venture into anywhere unsafe, like the open road or a flight of stairs.
- Store ride-on toys in a safe place. It isn’t impossible for kids to want a little more playtime. To avoid the possibility of your child riding around without proper supervision, keep ride-on toys stored in a safe area far away from their reach. A locked closet or storage room should do the trick.
- Test toys first. It’s always best to observe whether a brand new toy is really safe and appropriate for your child. Before bringing a ride-on toy to the check-out counter, see how well it moves and whether it’s prone to falling over a lot, and make sure there aren’t any sharp edges or small parts that could endanger your child’s health.