Choose a ride-on toy for your toddler that will encourage your little one to exercise, develop balance and co-ordination and, best of all, have fun!
We’ve never met a child who doesn’t love to play on a ride-on. Once he can safely sit up confidently, he’ll enjoy sitting on it while you gently push him around, but it will really come into its own once his legs can reach the ground and he can propel himself forwards. They’re great for the winter, as they’re a brilliant way for a toddler to burn off excess energy indoors.
With four play modes – sit-down play, walker, pull-along wagon and ride-on train – this is packed with features to keep little ones occupied, including letter blocks, light-up piano keys, a turning book and beads and cogs. It can be a bit tricky to steer, but it’s much more than a ride-on and excellent value.
One of the most familiar and recognisable ride-on toys for toddlers, you'll be hard-pressed to find a toddler who hasn't jetisoned around the playground in one of these. It's been a favourite for generations for good reason - well-built, with hours of imaginative fun to be had. Your little one loves to copy you, so set him off on a road to adventure in this little car just like Mum's.
This ride-on fox grows with your little one, with three modes - a walker, a ride-on, and a scooter. The first mode allows toddler to push their toys around in the bucket, which then can be turned over to be ridden on, and later taken off to transform into a scooter.
This robust plastic ride-on ship holds lots of appeal for pirate-themed playtime. It’s easy to manoeuvre and climb on and off, with plenty of extras to keep little hands occupied. Pirate figures are included and it plays fun noises – which didn’t drive our grown-ups crazy! Our testers loved the storage hatch below deck.
We love a wheelybug. They're suitable for ages 1-3 and are handcrafted from wood with a sponge covering. They come in a variety of designs but we can't help but favour the bumblebee.
You'll have seen these at all the soft play areas and little ones take to them like a duck to water - but do keep an eye on your child when they're on the smaller side, as toddlers can topple off very quickly (speaking from experience!). They're lightweight to use and in bright colours, as if your toddler needs any more reasons to love it.
A bargain option, Chad Valley are well known for well-made toys so this is a great choice for a first ride-on toy. For ages one and above, this can be used to ride on or push around.
Is your toddler ready for a ride-on toy?
You’ll need to follow the minimum age and maximum weight guidance for the toy to ensure your toddler can play safely, and also so it’s appealing and appropriate for his age and stage of development. Check he has the physical capabilities needed to use the toy properly and safely at the moment – and that his legs can reach the ground.
Can a toddler ride-on toy be used as a walker too?
Many ride-ons can be converted to a walker. This extends the age-range that it can be used from, offering better value for money if your little one is still young enough to get the benefit from a walker. Even when he’s older, occasionally converting it from a ride-on to a walker and back again can spark his interest in playing with it more.
What other functions do ride-on toys have?
Some children will be perfectly content with scuttling around on the ride-on itself, others will enjoy having lots of buttons, gear sticks, sounds and lights to keep them occupied. Some ride-ons feature a removable panel with buttons for music and lights for stand-alone use. And while your little one might love a beeping horn or engine noise, you might find it annoying, so check if there’s a volume or mute button.
Where will you use a ride-on toy?
Think about whether you have enough space inside for it to be played with. And have a look at your floors too: smooth, hard flooring is best – if you’ve got thick-pile carpet, even the strongest toddler is going to struggle to get about. Most ride-ons are designed for gentle dry-weather outside use too, so check whether the wheels look easy to clean.
Make sure your toddler ride-on toy is robust
Toddlers aren’t the best drivers, so it needs to be robust enough to cope with being crashed into walls and furniture on a regular basis. Avoid thin plastic components which can snap easily.
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