There’s a reason we’re into kids’ ride-on toys. Through them, toddlers and kids get their first sense of freedom, and can experiment with movement and balance. Toddler ride-on toys also help them practice physical skills and develop new ones.
First, some safety caveats. Toddler electric cars are fun. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission advises that toddlers, meaning kids between the ages of one and three, get ride-on toys that are self-propelled with no pedals or motors. The ride-on toys should have a stable base that does not tip over and if wheels are involved, there should be at least three of them evenly spaced. All edges should be smooth, with no sharp points, and they should be unbreakable so no parts can come off.
If you do choose a motorized option, supervise your kids and make sure they’re comfortable with whatever speed they’re motoring along at and know how to stop. Since that’s pretty crucial.
See more: Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds
Most of all, just use your common sense, meaning, supervise your kid when he or she is zooming along on the ride-on. Because despite all our best efforts, falls happen. Here are some of the most popular ride-on toys for toddlers.
Best Kids’ Ride-On Toys
From the same people that made your wagon when you were a child, this ride-on has wide-set front wheels for extra safety and stability.
Pros: Sometimes, all you and your kid need is one quality ride-on toy. This is that toy. Does it have lights and sounds? No, no it does not. Is it well-made, stable, and durable? Yes, yes it is. Its weight capacity is 42 pounds.
Cons: It’s a fantastic ride-on toy, but it will not grow with your kid.
Cons: It’s hard to find any negatives for this ride-on. The one complaint that some parents had was the fact that the horn does not make multiple sounds. Cry us a river on this one.
This toddler Jeep goes between 2.5 and 5 miles per hour both forward and in reverse.
Pros: We particularly like the Jeep’s solid frame that fits kids from age three to 130 pounds, and the Power-Lock brakes system that automatically stops the vehicle when your kid’s foot comes off the pedal, and a high-speed lockout option that let’s you, the parent, control how fast the car goes.
Cons: The battery life isn’t all that great.
Created by an industry leader, this animal themed ride-on is perfect for a toddler getting his or her first taste of balance.
Pros: The fun design of this ride-on toy will keep your little one busy for hours. It has an adjustable seat so you can raise it as they grow, ensuring their feet are always firmly on the ground. Three large wheels will easily roll over any small obstacles, not causing any sudden stops, and the over-sized back wheel has a wheel guard to ensure nothing gets caught. The steering wheel has a controlled turning radius so ensure no sudden sharp turns. It’s good for both inside and outdoor play. Suitable for kids one to three years old, and up to 50 pounds.
Cons: Until your child has good motor skills, there is always a chance they can fall off and hit the ground, so it’s best used on padded floors and grassy yards.
This awesome-looking toddler ride-on toys has four play modes: Kids can sit and rock, stand and walk, push and ride, and connect to a play train.
Pros: This ride-on toy is something of a design marvel. It grows with your child through all periods of his or her development, so they won’t get bored. We hope.
Cons: Changing the seat around is not as easy as described.
This ride-on toy is not only a stunner in terms of design, but it can be used as a walker, rocker or ride-on toy.
Pros: Great for kids ages two to five, and it easy transforms from rocker to push toy to ride-on in seconds. It has inline, non-marking skate wheels.
Cons: The wheels are very hard to clean.
Another great ride-on option for beginners, this one is stable and easy to push forward.
Pros: So many reasons to love this Hape ride-on toy. It starts out as a walker and then becomes a foot-powered car. It’s made from wood sourced from environmentally sustainable forests.
Cons: There are some complaints about the stability of the handlebars.
This is a gorgeous four-wheeled ride on toy, with easy steering and solid stability.
Pros: Because they’re pushing themselves forward, toddler strengthen their leg muscles. This ride-on toy is easy to maneuver, and the rubber wheels make it perfectly safe to use indoors.
Cons: The height is not adjustable, so it’s great for young kids only.
This ride-on tractor works on grass, gravel, dirt, or pavement. It has two speeds, two or four miles per hours And it has an accelerator pedal with automatic brakes.
Pros: Teach your kid to love the land with this John Deere tractor. Kids can listen to a real, working FM radio while driving the large John Deere tractor, which is suitable for kids ages two to seven. Parents control the speed with the second gear lockout feature. The 12-volt rechargeable battery and charger are included.
Cons: As with many other motorized kid cards, the battery life is unreliable.
Like the rocking horses of yesteryear, this sheep mimics the style of a classic wooden rocking horse with a soft, plush exterior.
Cons: This ride-on toy is pretty basic, but you do hear the clip-clop of its hooves as you ride it. It’s powered by kids, not batteries. And it helps improve balance and build strong motor skills.
Cons: It rocks. That’s it.
It's a ride-on and scooter combo that grows with your kid, from ages one to five.
Pros: Kids love scooters, and this is the perfect starter scooter. First, kids sit with their feet on the ground. Then, you can raise the seat as they grow. And finally, you remove the seat and they scoot around.
Cons: Make sure you tighten the handlebar clamp using wrench (included) before your kid uses the scooter.
Of course, one of our favorite brands makes what is perhaps the most perfect of ride-on toys, with some caveats. The rubberized wheels won't damage your floors. And your kid has to propel him- or herself forward, which is great for developing muscle strength and balance.
Pros: First of all, can this ride-on toy be any cuter? But beyond its looks, we love it because it’s sturdy, it’s solid, it makes kids work for their fun, and it’s made of tough, durable wood. It’s suitable for kids 12 months to three years.
Cons: While the toy is a solid choice, it won’t grow with your child. The height is not adjustable. And some parents have said their kids’ legs got caught in the back wheels.
We're always on the lookout for breakout toys that are both fun for kids and easy on the eyes. Meet the Wishbone, which is ideal for fostering a sense balance, coordination, and independence.
Pros: This wooden ride-on toy is multifunctional, going from a rocker to a ride-on with basically zero effort on your part. The wood dents easily, so it’s definitely not meant to be used and abused, and is better for older kids. It’s meant for kids ages one to five.
Cons: The price. And it’s not as durable as its plastic counterparts.
This cute little truck greets your kiddo with a smile when they decide it’s time to hit the road. The driver’s door opens and closes easily so getting inside is simple. The floorboard is removable so as soon as they are big enough to touch the ground you can let them motor themselves around.
Pros: The ride-on’s tailgate drops down and has enough space to toss a few toys inside. The steering wheel spins, but does not turn the car, so there’s no chance of tipping over on a turn. Plus, it honks. Good for kids 18 months to 5 years old, up to 50 pounds.
Cons: Some parents have said that putting it together can be a pain, especially if the holes don’t line up correctly.
The rocking horse is a classic toy that has been enjoyed for generations, but big wooden ones are not particularly safe for toddlers. This one is great for developing motor and balance skills.
Pros: This ride-on toy has very few parts, so there’s little chance of your kid pulling something off and putting it in their mouth. The low seat and large base lower the chance of tipping over to virtually nil. The seat back comes up high to make sure that no heads or backs get banged by even the most rambunctious of riders. Plus, the handles have an easy grip surface on them. Good for kids one to three years old and up to 50 pounds.
Cons: With no adjustable seat, this toy is only good for a limited time frame. Once they have outgrown it, away it goes.
Pros: The steering wheel honks and turns like a real car, but you, the parent, gets to decide where it heads. There are two cup holders, perfect for sippy cups, and underneath the hood there is enough storage for toys. The handle is designed with parents in mind. It’s tall enough for most adults to not have to stoop over when pushing kids around, plus it has a cup holder for you too. When you are traveling the handle folds up for easy transport. Good for kids 18 months to four years old and up to 50 pounds.
Cons: The wheels, contrary to what the company says, are loud. Quite loud.
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