Is your little one already feeling a need for speed? There’s no need to wait until they are sixteen to give them their first car, at least not a pretend one. Both babies and toddlers love to play with toy cars and we love for kids to play with them. As your little one grasp and push their cars across the floor they will be improving their fine motor skills. They will strengthen their muscles and hand-eye coordination as they move across the floor to retrieve them. The toy cars will encourage your child to use their imagination and engage in pretend play. They will begin to make real-world connections as they realize their toys look like the objects they see when going for a ride. Making real-world connections helps stimulate your child’s cognitive development. You can even their toys to come up with fun games. For instance, have them count the wheels and windows. We’ve created a list of the ten best toy cars for babies and toddlers. This is list is composed of a variety of vehicles that will help fuel your child’s passion while also stimulating their development.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Mini Automoblox
- Three Vehicles
- Lewo Wooden Toddlers Car
- Teaches Grasping Skills
- VTech Drop & Go Dump Truck
- Frustration Free Packaging
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Toy Cars for Kids
In the toddler years, kids are sponges. There is so much sensory input that, for an adult, it might be overwhelming. But for a little child, their minds and bodies seem just primed to take in all of the sights, sounds, smells, and textures they can find. They grow so fast that it’s mind-boggling.
Besides sensory information, these little ones are very active and their muscles grow and strengthen just by playing. Playing is their work, and it’s really fun for them, and for adults to watch.
Giving children toy cars to play with helps develop physical attributes such as gross- and fine-muscle development, eye-hand coordination, grasping, standing, and vocal development. Add building blocks to playtime with cars, and kids can imagine and create so much more. They get more to play with and get even stronger, using different sets of muscles.
Kids play and learn self-control, how to share their cars, learn how their world is ordered, become exposed to opposites like stop/go, open/close, and up/down, for instance. By around 2 years of age, you may see them putting their cars in some kind of order by colors or by what they are used for. Kids learn to count their cars and are helped along when the cars are numbered or ordered by color or some other attribute.
Kids grow up in their cognitive development, learning about sequences of events, learning by imitation, colors, sharing, size (ie: bigger vs. smaller), etc. In later toddler years, your child will start learning words, identifying what an object is: car, block, spoon, pot, train, truck, and so on. Thus, a child’s imagination and creative mind begin growing, until, eventually, they start drawing pictures, telling stories, making objects with their blocks, and so on.
During later toddler years, children start imitating their parents’ speech. They learn sounds, then words. You can use your child’s play with cars to teach vocabulary. Teach your kids the parts of the car, like, wheels, door, trunk, horn, window, etc.
You can go on by teaching colors and speaking their names. The same with numbers. Point to the numbers and say the number and ask your child to repeat them back. Continue this with the names of buildings like a garage, car wash, and so on. Play games and hold conversations with your child, using the words that he has learned. Repetition enhances learning, so the more you repeat, the better your kid will learn and develop.
For additional stimulation and learning, get toys for your child that can be taken outside to play with the cars and construction vehicles in the sand, for instance. Playing in the sand provides new feelings of touch. The rough sand, it’s weight, and it’s warmth are all sensory inputs that your child can enjoy.
Play in the pool with the ferry boat. That toy combines the cars with the boat and is loads of fun to play with in the water. The water builds muscle and playing with the boat in the water creates scenarios for imaginative fun, problem-solving, and storytelling.
The toddler years go by so fast and toddlers grow very fast so that it seems as though those years are quickly gone and a child is suddenly going to school. What an amazing journey children start on in those toddler years. And you get to go on that journey with them.
So we choose the toys based on whether or not they are age-appropriate and if they support development in toddlers and growing children. So choosing toddler cars with features that assist a child in growing up and maturing is high on the attribute list. Do they help a child grow their muscles and encourage improving fine-muscle movement? Do cars make sounds and are they colorful to keep a child’s attention?
We research each toy to make sure that they support the improvement of cognition, logic, and reasoning ability. Do kids pick up on the concepts of opposite meanings, colors, cause and effect, and a sense of a timeline? Does the toy help a child to count and learn about numbers being bigger or smaller, more or less? We try to get as many toys as possible with all desirable benefits as we can. Some toys don’t, and that’s ok because other toys will have the missing features.
Safety is of utmost importance. We make sure that all toys on our lists are safe for the age group it is meant for and that it doesn’t have tiny parts for kids under 3 years of age. We look for toys made with nontoxic plastic and colors. And if it supports a green earth by being made of recycled products, all the better.
The safety of a product is dependent upon the manufacturer so our list contains toys made by reputable companies which produce safe and beneficial toys for kids. We have companies on our list that have been in business for many years, and who have built their reputations on the safety and usefulness of their toys.
How We Came Up with Our List
Choosing the best and the most developmentally appropriate toy cars for toddlers may be challenging for some parents. This is why we have devoted our time to researching the toy cars that we are confident your toddler will love. Not only are these toys safe to play with, they are also made of high-quality materials. Moreover, our researchers have made sure that the list only includes toy cars that have superb developmental value specific to toddlers. We understand your need to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that the toy car you are going to give your toddler is the right one.
Toddlers and Toy Cars
By age 18 months, toddlers are ready to bring their gross-motor skills to the next level while at the same time reinforcing their mastery of fine-motor skills. They already have excellent control of their hands and fingers, making it perfect for holding baby car toys. Pulling on their toy cars can help strengthen their leg muscles while at the same time help develop coordination and balance.
Toy cars can also help toddlers develop their understanding of the world around them. Many of these products have features that are similar to the real ones. Some have blinking lights and realistic sounds as well as other interactive features that help facilitate the learning of the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors.
More importantly, they can help develop toddlers’ sense of imagination and creativity as they attempt to explore their immediate surroundings. This can help enhance their sense of autonomy and freedom.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know if my son is ready for a certain car toy?
A: It seems all kids love cars, boys especially. Girls like them too, some especially when they have people figures inside of them. You have to know your child, and you need to do your research. Take advice from experts. When your son is starting to grasp objects, he may be ready for an age-appropriate toy car. There are numerous articles online. You should also be able to just try a little car or grouping of cars and see if he is interested. If not, put it away and try again in a few months. You can’t really do this wrong. Just make sure there are no small pieces that could present a choking hazard.
Q: How can I find out if there is a lead in my child’s toy?
A: Lead poisoning is a serious condition and should be treated right away. Lead sometimes is found in dust, soil, or paint, though the problem of lead in paint has been known about for many years and mostly eliminated. But many toys are made in other countries, so they may still be a problem.
If you have concerns about your child’s toy having lead in it, your best bet is to call your local health department for information. There are home test kits out there, but at this time, they are considered unreliable.
Q: My child has a ridiculous number of toys, including lots and lots of cars. He seems a bit overwhelmed by all of them, but he got them all as gifts. He often has trouble choosing. What should I do?
A: A delicate situation, I imagine, as you don’t want to offend the gift givers. But you have to ask yourself if this is detrimental to your child, and it sounds like it may be. Maybe you can start by putting some of the toys away for the time being. Keep your child’s choices limited. Then ask questions and encourage him to make a decision. You can use this as an opportunity to teach decision-making–even if your child is young, have him make the choice. Explain to the gift givers what is happening and tell them you will rotate all the toy choices from time to time so nothing is wasted. Most people will understand.
Q: What do you mean by learning “opposites?”
A: This is something playing with cars is really helpful with. Toddlers, as they grow, start learning concepts like how to solve a problem, names of objects, and what it means to drive. One such concept is learning about simple opposites. Some opposites they learn playing with cars are stop vs. go, forward vs. reverse, up vs. down, fast vs. slow, and so on. They learn by doing.
Q: I would like to interact and play with my little boy more. How can I use cars to do that?
A: Cars are wonderful for playing with your child. Help him make up games in which you chase each other or race your cars. Or take turns driving the car. Teach vocabulary, counting, colors, and sounds that are part of the car’s make up. Use ramps, garages, and car wash buildings to make up stories.
You can do even more by combining the cars with blocks. Help him build the ramps and buildings and create a whole neighborhood for the cars. Ask your child questions to help him bring out his creativity. The possibilities are endless.
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