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Amazing Adventures With The 7 Best Riding Toys For Toddlers
One of the best parts of being a parent is watching your children develop their sense of adventure and independence. Their boundless curiosity drives them to roll, crawl, stand up, balance, and eventually walk, freeing their independent spirit. But their journey has just begun! With the basics of movement mastered, ride-on toys allow these cute little explorers to take their adventures to the next level. To help inspire their next discovery, we’ve reviewed the best riding toys for toddlers. With these awesome options you can be sure they’re safe as they speed off on their next quest!
Best Ride-On Toys for Toddlers – The Results
Below, we’ve given you a quick snapshot of the results of our review of the best ride-on toys for toddlers, giving you what you came here for quickly and easily. If you want to look through the more detailed reviews, scroll further down and take a look. As you go through it’s worth keeping in mind that there are several different types of riding toys, so make sure you think carefully and pick the one that’s right for your child and one that you’re comfortable with them riding on.
Our Top 7 | The Best Ride-On Toys For Toddlers
SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT
Types of Ride-On Toys
In purchasing a ride-on, its firstly important to recognize that there are different types. Make sure that you think carefully and pick something that’s suitable for your little adventurer and also one that you feel comfortable with them riding on. The main types of ride-ons are:
- Push ride-ons: This is the classic style where the little tikes sit on top and push it along with their little legs, also using them to slow down and stop. This is usually a good starting point for younger children and some provide handles for caregivers to help with the pushing and control. Balance bikes also fit here.
- Pedal riding toys: Bicycles and tricycles are the obvious candidates in this category, but in addition to bikes and trikes it’s quite common to find pedal cars. Pedaling requires more coordination and skill and is better suited for older kids or more practiced riders
- Scooters: The skill set required to use a kick scooter effectively is different to push ride-ons. Although they still require a pushing action, the muscles and coordination required to do this while standing is quite different. The braking mechanism is also very different. Their popularity and the plethora of options also justifies their own category
- Motorized ride-ons: The latest addition, motorized riding toys are typically battery powered, often representing little cars or motorbikes. Some offer both driver and remote control functionality, with the latter allowing riders to enjoy these from a very young age, so long as the adult can master the controls!
Our Detailed Reviews of The Top 7 Best Riding Toys For 1-3 Year Olds
We’ve done our best to cover a wide range of ride-on toy types and our reviews have focused on factors that will be important to both parents and the little tikes who are enjoying their new ride.
- Safety – Priority number one with young kid’s toys should always be safety, with our review process keeping safety front-of-mind.
- Value – We’ve also thought about value. With so many different options out there, its very easy to end up spending too much money or not enough. Quality is taken into consideration when thinking about value, as is versatility, durability and longevity.
- Functionality – Lastly, we’ve though about functionality. This focuses on the features offered and the various ways your child can enjoy their sweet new ride!
Also, a quick disclaimer. I know it goes without saying, but parental supervision is absolutely critical. Your child’s newfound mobility and freedom is amazing, but it can also be dangerous if left unchecked. Always stay within a distance of your child that allows you to quickly step in and help them out if necessary, ESPECIALLY, if you are near any roads or areas where cars might be driving.
Now, without further ado, here’s our list!
My Son's Pick - Uenjoy 12V Licensed Mercedes-Benz Motorized Ride On With Remote Control
Let’s start with an awesome one! The Uenjoy 12V Ride on boasts great safety features, awesome functionality and comes with a sensible price tag. Kids can use the pedals to drive or parents can control the car using a wireless remote control. A variety of realistic features create the impression of a real Merc as kids develop confidence and their motor skills. My son was a little scared of the movement and the sound first, but he grew to absolutely love it!
Safety - 4/5
- Having a remote control with an emergency brake to take over the car from a distance is awesome, just be sure to keep it with you at all times!
- Includes a safety belt and lockable doors
- Built-in suspension will deliver a smooth ride for the driver
Functionality - 5/5
- The car can be modified to have two separate looks, the more traditional look, and a drop-top style
- Houses a sweet speaker system with working radio, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port and aux cable. Awesome!
- Extra features such as LED headlights, mag wheels, contoured seating, Mercedes-Benz badges and variable speed really make this car super cool!
Value - 4/5
- As would be expected, this bad boy is pretty pricey, and can set you back up to USD300, but its just so cooooolll! Compared to other similar models, its actually quite well priced.
- The remote control and safety features enable younger riders and the foot pedals and actual steering will keep it entertaining for older kids and may even last up until they’re 5 or 6
- Some people have claimed the battery life is not great, so it’s worth keeping this in mind
Climate Crusader - The 6V Motorized Real Rigs Toddler Recycling Truck
This truck is sensational value and it’s unique design features a wonderful. The battery-powered Kid Trax Real Rigs Recycling Truck is bound to be an absolute favorite for parents and children alike! The truck itself is a happy little character that talks to your child with over 100 sounds and phrases and is complete with an engaging and moving face. It strives to educate little tikes about the importance of recycling, responding positively as they correctly “recycle” one of the 9 accompanying toys into slot into the built-in shape sorter.
Safety - 3/5
- The truck has a top speed of 1.5 miles per hour and a single button for start/stop, being easy for kids to operate and slow enough to be safe in most situations
- Sadly, it any other meaningful safety features like a seatbelt, side doors, or parental overrides
Functionality - 5/5
- The built-in shape sorter recycling station and 9 separate toys that come with the truck are fantastic
- The overarching message of recycling delivered through the moving face, songs, phrases and interaction is unique and a beautiful lesson to learn, regardless of little ones ages
- Fully controllable steering wheel and acceleration/stopping control
Value - 5/5
- At around the USD200 price point, this wonderful little truck is pretty-good value for a fully cordless, electronic ride-on.
- Super engaging and should keep your child engaged and excited from 18 months old all the way through the three or even four years old
- It comes with a wall charger and the battery life is reportedly quite good
Thrill Ride - Step2 Up and Down Roller Coaster Rapid Ride and Hide Edition
Unless your Richie Rich, your not gonna own your own roller-coaster, right? Wrong! Step2 have brought every child’s dream to life, providing a genuinely affordable roller coaster for little tikes to enjoy at home. Children will line up for a ride on the Up and Down Roller Coaster, complete with track pieces as well as the ATV-style model car which can be ridden on and off the track. We’ve featured the Rapid Ride and Hide Edition, but there are several models to choose from, so pick your favorite and experience the thrill!
Safety - 3/5
- The track comes with steps on each side that enable the child to steady as they mount the car in position
- The car fits neatly in the coaster track for a smooth ride
- Beyond the above, safety features are pretty limited and I’d be prepared for a few stacks as your child gets used to setting up the car. It’s probably a good idea soft to set it up on a soft surface like grass or shaggy carpet!
Functionality - 5/5
- I mean, come on, its a roller coaster and its over 9 foot long!!
- The ability to set the coaster up both inside and outside is great
- Being able to use the car as a stand-alone push-along ride-on is a great feature
Value - 3/5
- Ultimately, you are paying for a great design and lots of plastic. You can usually find it for less than USD150, which isn’t too bad. If you could get this close to or less than USD100, it would be a bargain.
- Ultimately, if your child tires of the coaster track, this will just be taking up a lot of space in the cupboard as the car is pretty stock-standard on its own
Boundless Flexibility - Joovy Tricycoo 4.1 Kid's Tricycle
The Joovy Tricycoo ticks every box, with safety features galore, an amazingly flexible design and great price point to boot. The trike can be adjusted to keep your child engaged from toddlerhood through to about five years old. It starts out as a more fun and exciting replacement for a pram (10-18 months), adds in a steering function (18-24 months), shifts into learn-to-ride mode (24-36 year old) and finally transforms into a classic trike (4-5 years old). Safety features and functionality adjust in each of these modes, but it always relies on the wide-set wheels design of a tricycle to provide stability.
Safety - 5/5
- Safety features abound in this wonderful tricycle including an padded adjustable seat, parent-push handle, flip-down foot rests, 5-point harness seat belt, removable safety barrier, grip handles and even a shade canopy
- All these features are can be adjusted and tailored to suit your little one
Functionality - 4/5
- Although it lacks any electronic features, the sheer flexibility and adjustability of this trike’s design is fantastic, transforming from a fun alternative to a pram into a fully formed tricycle
- It also includes a cup holder and under-carriage storage basket
Value - 5/5
- At less than USD150, this tricycle is fantastic value
- The amazing range of safety features and adjustable design provide amazing longevity, making this high-quality ride-on toy one of your child’s favorites for years
More Than Just A Ride On - VTech Sit-to Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train
The Ultimate Alphabet Train is a good time for little kids as a ride-on, but is also an educational toy for floor play for little bubs, transitioning to a walker and then a riding toy as they develop and grow. The train has loads of different activities to encourage motor skills development and educational learning, including letter blocks, numbers buttons and animal, object, color and shape recognition. As a ride-on, the child sits on top and takes a carriage ride around with built-in handle bars in the train itself. What an innovative design!
Safety - 3/5
- The train comes with almost none of the safety features you’d expect in a riding toy, but it must be remembered that it’s more than just a ride-on toy and really only functions as a push-along ride on designed for indoor use.
- It has no sharp edges to be seen and is well balanced
Functionality - 4/5
- The ability to use the train for floor play, as a walker or as a ride-on is ingenious
- The electronic educational functionality has over 100 songs, sounds and sayings
- Specifically as a riding toy, its functionality is reasonably limited, though the under-carriage storage is a neat touch
Value - 5/5
- At close to USD50, this train is great value, particularly given the large range of ways in which your child can interact and play
- The multiple use modes will increase longevity of the train make sure you get your money’s worth
For The Cool Kids - Micro Kickboard Mini 3in1 Deluxe Kick Scooter
We are in love with the Micro Kickboard Mini which has created a design to bring scooters to even the littlest adventurers, changing and growing as they do. Little tikes (1-2 year old) can sit in the seat that fixes into the handle and use the lean-to-steer design to zip around. You can swap out the seat and switch to the stand-on scooter using the O-bar, which is more comfortable to hold for smaller hands. Once kids are comfortable to use the T-bar that comes with it, and remains suitable for kids up to 3 foot 11 inches tall. Helmets and knee pads are suggested for safe riding, as this scooter can really move!
Safety - 2/5
- The wide-set wheels and low profile provide extra balance and stability
- The manufacturer recommends not letting your child travel over 3 miles per hour, but this scooter can easily go faster, so be careful!
- Realistically, you will need to purchase a helmet and potentially knee and elbow pads to keep your child safe
Functionality - 4/5
- The flexibility for this ride-on to be used by one-year-olds all the way through to about 5 years old is a testament to it’s great design
- It’s foldable and very lightweight, making it easy to travel with and store
- The wheels allow for a smooth ride both indoors and outdoors, but don’t work too well off-road
Value - 5/5
- This is a quality product and comes with a reasonably high price tag of around USD120, but this scooter has the potential to last your child years
- It comes with a 2 year manufacturers warranty and Micro pride themselves on quality customer service, giving you peace of mind
- The need to separately purchase safety gear rather than it being packaged together is a downside
Keep It Simple - Step2 Whisper Ride II Ride On Push Car
Here’s one that’s more suitable for little bubs. They’ll love to play pretend with this push ride-on. The dimensions of the new generation offer a larger and more comfortable interior and the steering wheel includes a working horn. Its simple, clean style still includes features such as cup holders and storage under the hood to carry dolls, blocks, action figures and other goodies. It also comes with a push handle that adds an extra layer of safety and control for the caregivers of ambitious adventurers!
Safety - 4/5
- The push handle is a real plus for safety, giving parents control and a chance to quickly grab any rogue explorers!
- The vehicle comes with a safety belt in case of a bumpy ride
Functionality - 3/5
- Built-in storage is nice, but nothing special
- This car features 3 built in cup holders, which is pretty handy
- The design is focused on parents pushing their children rather than kids driving their own ride, even the steering wheel doesn’t actually function
Value - 4/5
- The price of is reasonably low compared to the competition, usually around USD80 or less
- This is great fun for one-year-olds but will probably bore children if they’re 24 months or older
Here's A Bonus! Something A Little Different
Ride At Home - Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Puppy
The Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Puppy is a more like a bounce-on rather than a ride-on but we’ve included it since it’s targeted at a younger age group and is still a great way to also promote balance, practice getting onto and off of the ground, develop motor skills and have a good time! The puppy can play in different ways and has a music player that allow little kids to dance with songs from the ABCs and 123s as well as learn about colors and shapes.
Safety - 3/5
- The safety handle is easily gripped by little hands and the dimensions of the product are sized for little legs to reach the ground
- Surprisingly, this cute little puppy does not come with a harness or belt to provide support while your child bounces and spins.
- So long as your child can plant their feet on the ground, they should be ok, but be sure to use it on soft surfaces or give your child a helmet as falling off and hitting their head remains a risk
Functionality - 4/5
- The rodeo-inspired design is great fun and the cuteness factor has been dialed up to 11!
- You can’t go wrong with more than 100 built-in songs, sounds and sayings that cover multiple learning areas from learning their first words to counting and letters
- Offers two different settings, broadly learning and dancing, to keep your child engaged
Value - 4/5
- You can usually find it for under USD100, which is pretty reasonable
- The learning modes will keep your child entertained and the focus on play at home rather that out-and-about give this ride-on a niche of its own
- This is a fun alternative to a baby gym or bouncer, but probably isn’t going to fulfill your child’s desire for exploration
Best Ride-On Toys For Toddlers FAQ
If you’re in the market for a ride-on model Here are some tips to remember:
What to look for when buying a riding toy for toddlers?
There are many different smaller considerations to think about when buying a ride-on toy for toddlers, but your overall focus should be on safety, functionality and value. Below we’ve added more detail to each characteristic.
- Certification – Certification from regulatory bodies is definitely recommended and can often by found on the toy packaging. Look for ASTM F963
- Materials – A stronger and more durable material is also likely to be safer, as the risk of the product cracking or splintering may create sharp edges with risk cuts and injuries
- Parental Controls – Ability for the parent to quickly and easily step in to intervene is a key safety consideration
- Safety Features – Seatbelts, locks, emergency brakes, suspension, grip handles, and the like all contribute to a safer and smoother ride
- Sharp Edges – Any sharp edges in the product design are a risk
- Speed Range – A product that has no speed limit could get very dangerous, very quickly
- Ability to Reach Mechanical / Electrical Parts – Fingers can get caught, skin can be burnt or shocks can be delivered if the inner workings of the product are too easily accessible for small hands
- Indoors vs Outdoors – Look for vehicles with wheels that can go on and off-road, allowing for indoor or outdoor use along various different surfaces.
- Adjustability – Being able to adjust the size, look or way in which your child interacts with the ride on toy can provide more entertainment and more ways to play
- Color / Design Options – Products with a unique design and/or a large range of color options are preferable
- Lights – Can be fun, engaging and even practical
- Sounds – Helps to keep your child entertained, and even cooler if you can add your own tunes!
- Battery Life Indicator – These are always helpful, particularly on the larger ride-ons
- Storage – Being able to carry their favorite toys, drink bottles or mum’s handbag in the ride-on is super useful
- Control Optionality – Having a variety of ways you or your child can control the vehicle often improves safety and allows the ride-on to grow with your child
- Unique Design – Innovative design and multiple ways to use the toy will wow both you and your child
- Size and Ability to Easily Store – The dimensions of the product will impact age range as well as the ability to travel with and store the product, but clever design can create a more compact solution
- Relative Price – The price point compared to other similar products is a big consideration to value
- Durability – Tough materials and construction ensure the product can endure big adventures
- Battery Life – Constantly need to charge batteries is annoying
- Quality – Quality materials, design, brand and features will all contribute to a better value product
- Age-Range – Ride-ons that are suitable for various ages will deliver greater value that those focused on a particular age group
- Flexibility – Being able to use products in different places and ways will provide more entertainment to your child, improving longevity
- Ongoing or Additional Costs – Replacing batteries or parts regularly, servicing, needing to buy safety gear or add-on features all contribute to more out-of-pocket expense for you
- Ease of Construction – Easy assembly saves you time and can also save you money if you can put the toy together on your own without too much trouble
What are the developmental benefits of riding toys for toddlers?
Riding toys for toddlers promote independence and support development of both gross and fine motor skills. Each is discussed in more detail below.
As previously noted, riding toys are fantastic for fostering your child’s adventurous spirit and independence. For most of their lives, up until about 12 months of age, when they typically become more adept at walking, babies are within a very short distance of their caregivers at all times. This is obviously completely appropriate and essentially a biological imperative, but other instincts are also at play in the little developing minds.
Kids have a natural curiosity that helps them to discover the way the world works, learn good from bad, right from wrong and safe from dangerous. As their mobility increases, they begin to test the balance of these two instincts, their curiosity compelling them to explore further away from the safety and dependability of their caregivers.
Under a watchful eye, allowing your child the freedom to investigate new things away from mom and dad is a fantastic way to develop their independence, imagination and intuitiveness and can also set a strong foundation for emotional and social skills.
Letting your child successfully navigate just a little further away than usual, quickly returning to the safety of their parents’ side once the awe of their curiosity wears off (or quickly having mom or dad run in to save the day), build their sense of self, their courage and begins to demonstrate that they can feel calm and even happy without their parents being immediately present. This can make transitioning your child to daycare, kindergarten or school much smoother and easier for everyone.
Gross Motor Skills Development
Not only are riding toys perfect for promoting independence, they are also an excellent platform to develop both fine and gross motor skills and promote balance and coordination. The movements required to propel their first little vehicle typically demand coordination of many muscles in large movements supporting gross motor skill growth. Pushing, pedaling, scooting and, to a lesser extent, driving a motorized car all meet this goal. All require a strong sense of balance to continue to maintain control and stay upright as their riding toys move about.
Fine Motor Skills Development
The ability to make the smaller adjustments needed for steering, typically by gripping the ride-on toy in some way, are more representative of fine motor skills. They must also develop their hand-eye coordination in response to obstacles, hazards or whatever exciting thing they’ve decided to go after. As they learn to move faster, all these skills are amplified as they need to react quicker and quicker to keep up with their newfound speed. Pairing all of these together requires quite a lot of coordination and will quickly promote a greater understanding of their own bodies, their strength and their balance.
What are the different kinds of riding toys for toddlers?
There are push ride-ons, pedal riding toys, scooters and motorized ride-ons.
- Push ride-ons require a pushing action to propel the toy and for the child to plant their feet to slow and stop it.
- Pedal riding toys include pedals to propel the vehicle and include bikes, trikes and pedal cars.
- Scooters occupy a separate category as they require slightly different skills to control, the kick action, braking mechanism and steering all requiring a different skill set to other riding toys.
- Motorized ride-on toys that are typically battery operated and often come with a remote control.
How do I know if the ride-on toy I want to buy is safe?
Find the safety verification, typically on the toy’s packaging. The ASTM F963 certification means that the item has been inspected for compliance with the required safety standards established by the trade association. It is also checked to ensure that the item has no edge-to-edge sharpness, pinch point, or any other potential dangers.
What age is appropriate for babies and toddlers to use ride-on toys?
For your child to independently use a riding toy, it is recommended that they have already begun to walk confidently, usually around 12-18 months of age. This will ensure they have the balance and motor skills to quickly and safely learn their new toy.
Manufacturers also provide recommended ages and/or weights and heights, so be sure to read these carefully. Another obvious test you can do is to see whether your child can reach the floor when on the toy.
My little one is struggling with their riding toy, what should I do?
You should also take note of your child’s abilities. Although your child’s age, height, and weight are crucial to helping you choose the correct toy, the guidance is not perfect as every child is different. As a parent, you are the best judge of your child’s coordination and balance abilities and whether you feel that they are safe. Worst case scenario, you can put the toy away for a couple of weeks and let them try again later.
And There You Have It! The 7 Best Riding Toys For Toddlers
That’s the lot guys, our list of the 7 best riding toys for toddlers, plus a bonus one! I’m sure you’ve found something your child will enjoy, or at the very least been given some great ideas for how to pick something next time you’re at the toy store. Thanks for reading, and remember, your little explorers will thank you for their newfound freedom, but always make sure your keep an eye on them!
Until next time!
How About A New Toy For The Little One?
This is our jam! Baby toys are what we’re all about, so you’re sure to find something exciting, educational and super-duper fun! Why not check out loads of great ideas right here!
If you’re specifically looking for a balance bike, which didn’t make it into our ride-on toys reviews above, then check out our review of the Baby Balance Bike by XJD.
And if you’re just starting your baby toy journey, then it’s best to begin with the basics by taking a look at our Definitive Guide to the Best Toys for Babies. Here, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to get those creative juices flowing and help you find the perfect baby toy.