Add a tricycle to a kid’s world and you give him a multitude of advantages as he grows up. Around age two, kids should be near ready for a trike. Ages 2-4, they are learning to push the pedals and steer. If your child can’t reach the pedals yet, they should be able to ride it as a push trike. They can ride up and down the hallways inside or on the sidewalks outside. By doing these activities on their beloved tricycle, they build strong muscles, which means motor skills are developing. Along with that come increased confidence and independence. The child’s self-esteem is increased and they find themselves trying new things, using his imagination to become creative and learn problem-solving. These development milestones are very important to growth and development.
There are many new styles of trikes that have come out in the past decade or so. Some are based on function, and some provide a newer look. There are other companies that favor the retro look. And there are some that add fun to function, like those based on tv or comics characters. Those seem to be the ones that the kids love the best, maybe because their imaginations are sparked and they can create lots of imitative stories to act out while they ride. The superheroes trike models are famous for helping kids get into their roles as heroes who get the bad guys and rescue damsels in distress. There are many trikes to choose from, and our choices are in the list below.
The Best Tricycles for Kids and Toddlers in 2018
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Kids Tricycles
For all of our lists, we pour through hundreds of products to find the ones we think are the best ones for our readers. We believe you support our efforts in relating our toy lists to your child’s development. We try to find toys that are creative, a smart buy and are easily assembled. We also choose the products that are most highly rated.
Good manufacturer – All of the toys on our lists are made by reputable manufacturers who get high marks for customer service and satisfaction. We also look for innovative ideas from toy makers so that you get new looks and new ways of doing things that might be better than what came before. We present, you decide.
This is important for a weight-bearing toy, so as we go through the products, we try to check for safety issues and look for weaknesses that may be there. We don’t want fingers squished or kids landing painfully on a sidewalk or any of the other hurtful things that could happen. So if we see something that triggers a question, we research it, and we may leave it off the list.
Pleasing to the eye
People are attracted to objects that are pleasing to the eye in color, shape, and size. When looking for a toy, most people look at a product first, then read about it or touch it. Kids are very visual, so we want toys for them that they are attracted to. Since kids eyesight may not be fully developed when we purchase a toy, they look first at bright colors like red, blue, and yellow. As their vision continues to develop, they start including paler hues in their field of vision. So we try to pick colorful toys that attract kids’ attention. That being said, we also mix in some paler colors so that you, the parents, have a choice.
Top rated products
We always look for the top rated products. We judge by the number of stars and the number of reviews a product gets on Amazon. We look for reviews on other sites as well. We can tell by the reviews whether or not parents and kids are excited by a product or if they view it as lackluster. What customers think of the products we decide to offer helps to determine if it makes our list, so we will keep reading.
How tricycles help kids
Kids need lots of exercise because they need to build muscles both big and small. A tricycle fills that bill. They exercise arms by steering and balancing and legs by pedaling. Also by balancing on a trike, the child’s core muscles in the abdomen are strengthened. All of this exercise makes a kid’s muscles stronger, and that will help support his body as he grows up.
Getting on and off, and riding. When toddlers are very small, they have little sense of balance, but when they start walking, balance becomes paramount in their development. Without it, they don’t walk. Riding a trike or bike involves making those balance muscles much stronger, and if your kid likes the bike, and he’s on it a lot, those muscles will grow much faster. And his balance will become much better as he grows.
As children grow, their muscles get stronger, their grip improves, and their gross and fine motor skills improve. This gives a little one confidence that her body structure will support her as she tries out new movements and new steps, and new ways to climb.
The other type of confidence is self-esteem. Confidence in self. As her confidence grows stronger, a little girl will try to stretch it so that she tries new things without fear or knowing that she can overcome fear. As she gains confidence in riding her trike, she will go on new adventures, assert her independence, find new friends to have fun with and increase her repertoire of experiences.
At around age two, most kids are ready to try to move away from parents a little and assert their independence. Interesting how that coincides with the time they are ready to start riding push bikes and moving on to trikes. This push for independence often results in what parents call the “terrible twos.” But this age is good because kids become more willing to try new things, like a trike. If your child is not ready, she will tell you. Then just put it away for a bit and pull the trike out later. Once she feels more confident, you may not be able to hold her back. Then you just have to provide the safeguards so she doesn’t get hurt.
How to choose a tricycle
Keep it low to the ground. It’s important for the safety of your child, because they may take a tumble. Most kids do. It’s childhood. This way they don’t have far to fall. This also helps kids in keeping their feet on the ground. If it’s a push bike or trike, they still have to be able to put their feet on the ground and stand up. It’s safer. It gives a kid more confidence, and it’s easier for him to get his legs moving to push if they have to.
Make sure the trike fits your child. If you put your child on the trike and he can’t reach the pedals, it’s not a good fit. Try to get a trike with an adjustable seat so you can make it fit. If the trike doesn’t fit your child, return it and get one that is a better fit. Getting a trike that’s lower to the ground will help. Make sure he can reach the pedals. If your child can’t reach the pedals, then he will get frustrated and not want to ride.
Get the needed accessories to keep your child safe. Most notable of these is a helmet to protect the head in case of a fall. He should be wearing a helmet every time he gets on the bike. It may be inconvenient, but it’s necessary. Other possible accessories include elbow and knee pads. Even if you are right next to your child, an accident is possible. Better to be safe than sorry.
Get a trike with big wheels. Not only do most kids think big wheels look cool, the big wheels also help to stabilize the trike because they are normally wider. It’s also important to look for wheels that have tread on them so that the trike has more traction. Without traction, the trike slips and slides. With tread, the trike holds fast.
Teaching your child to ride a tricycle. The main part of riding a tricycle is learning how to pedal. Your child has to get the connection between pushing the pedals with his feet and moving forward. So choose a big space, maybe a grassy place with a slight slope. Make sure your child’s feet are on the pedals, and you slowly push. Then give her a chance to push with her feet against the pedals on her own. Repetition is the key, and it won’t be long before she gets it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does it mean when they say it’s a 12-inch trike?
A: The 12 inches refers to the size of the wheel by diameter.
Q: What does a balance bike do?
A: A balance bike is a push bike. It has no pedals, so the child moves it along the floor with her feet, learning to push with her legs. It is designed to teach children to balance, coordinating their upper and lower bodies, their vision, and learning to steer.
Q: How will I know when my child is ready for a tricycle?
A: Most children can start riding a tricycle around 2.5 or 3 years. When your child can stand and walk with confidence and understands cause and effect (like knowing that if she runs into the wall, she may get a bump on the head) then you may want to get her a trike. To work up to this stage, you may want to start with a 3 or 4 wheeled push bike. Then she can learn that if she wants to move, she will have to push with her feet and legs. Then move up to a trike so she can build her muscles and learn some balance.
Q: My little girl’s trike is too big for her to reach the pedals. Should we add pedal blocks?
A: While some people do use the pedal blocks, we feel that they are a quick way to get into an accident. Your child won’t be able to feel the motion of the trike as well, so her balance may be impaired. And the blocks make controlling the trike much harder. It’s best to get a trike that fits or go back to a push bike.
Q: We would like to get a tricycle for our four-year-old boy, but we have a gravel driveway and our street is gravel. What type of trike should we get for him?
A: You probably want a trike with good, treaded tires. If they are big tires, all the better. The big tires make the trike more stable and the tread keeps the wheels in touch with the ground. Safety is the key.
Q: We bought a small plastic trike for my son, and the plastic wheels are scratching my floors. What can I do to protect the floor?
A: There are some ride on toys with non-scratch wheels, so you could try that. One example is on the list above, the Chillafish BUNZI. Another solution is to cover the wheels with something like cloth. If the wheels are small enough, try cutting the ends off of a sock and putting the sock around the wheel.