At around age 2, my toddler went through an obsessive truck phase. It lasted several years, during which he could identify, on cue, any massive vehicle he spotted on the road. A backhoe! A dump truck! A garbage truck! A hauler! It went past a mere interest and became a party trick, something he trotted out with giddy abandon whenever other people were around so he could impress them with his deep knowledge base of all things six- or eight-wheeled. The best toy trucks for kids elicit that same joy, despite the fact that most of them are analog toys that have been around, in various iterations, for decades.
Believe it or not, there are actually myriad developmental benefits of playing with toy trucks. Kids learn to identify and name items, and tell them apart, as they scream out that that yes, that’s a blue bulldozer. They grasp the basics of math when they use the trucks to dig up a certain number of items, load them up, then unload them. They start to classify toys based on size and color. And they engage in cooperative play because what’s better than one lonely truck? A cavalcade of them racing each other, that’s what.
As with most toys, the simpler, the better. A truck is engaging on its own. It doesn’t need honking horns, flashing lights, or remote controls to keep kids occupied. Let them work for it, instead of having it served to them. They’ll end up doing much more interesting things with it — and having more fun.
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The Best Metal Toy Trucks
As durable and robust as the company's products, this officially licensed product is made from steel. As such, it's not the best choice for kids who are clumsy, but for those who are downright mean, it's built to last. It also has an articulating bed to drop loads wherever your child chooses.
The Best Wood Toy Trucks
The Best Plastic Toy Trucks
When it comes to highly-detailed vehicles, you cannot beat Bruder. This truck has a hand wheel that turns the drum and actually moves the contents around and — oh yes — the drum then empties out through the adjustable chute. Water even drains out of the water tank through the hose.