Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by admin
If there’s one thing 2-year-olds have a lot of, it’s energy. Put that energy to good use with a sweet ride-on toy.
Not only will your tot be more likely to take their nap on time after tiring themselves out on one of these, they also may develop balance and coordination as a result.
These are in order of the most demanding physically to least demanding. If the 2-year-old you’re buying for is more cautious or on the later end of the physical development spectrum, skip down to options 7-9.
1. Balance bikes / No-pedal bikes
Of all the ride-on toys for 2-year-olds, the best ones teach the most balance and coordination. Most 2-year-olds will become strong and coordinated enough to try a balance bike at some point during their second year, but others won’t figure it out until later. These balance bikes are real crowd-pleasers, but the best models are upwards of $100, and you’ll also need to buy a helmet. Click here for more details on balance bikes, including buying suggestions.
Scooters also teach some balance, and some kids feel more comfortable with their feet closer to the ground as they ride. I thought this discussion on whether to buy a balance bike or a scooter was helpful. The most popular toddler scooter on Amazon (shown left) is even height adjustable so that it grows with the tot. Again, you’ll probably want to include a helmet with this gift. (Might as well get them into the habit now.)
3. “Wiggle Cars” / “Plasma Cars”
These will probably be too advanced for those who are just turning 2, but almost-3-year-olds may love them (I found plenty of comments from parents about 2-year-olds enjoying them in the reviews on Amazon).
You drive them by moving the steering wheel back and forth. A lot of parents also commented that THEY would ride these wiggle cars around with toddlers in their laps, to everyone’s delight.
4. Trikes / Tricycles
Biking advocates will tell you that it’s more important for kids to learn balance and body control than to learn how to steer and pedal during their toddler years, but tricycles are still popular options for 2-year-olds.
Some parents opt to buy a trike with a handle so they don’t get stuck carrying the bike and the toddler when the the toddler gets tired of pedaling.
5. The EzyRoller
I wasn’t aware of this brand when my kids were toddlers, if it even existed. I do know that my now-5 and -8 year old love cruising down the sidewalk in front of our house on our EzyRoller and that our 2-year-old neighbor always gets mad that she’s too small to ride it. It turns out that they make a version that’s sized just for toddlers! EzyRollers are sturdily made and well-reviewed. I’ve also bought replacement wheels at Target with no problem.
6. Pedal Trucks and Tractors
My son is 8 now, and it pangs my mama heart to think of how much he would have loved this toy at age 2. Even if your 2-year-old can’t pedal yet, they will love pretending to drive this thing until they figure it out.
7. Bouncers and Rockers
This inflatable horse is super popular and is a good choice for 2-year-olds who want to practice balancing but with a little less risk. If the toddler in your life has shown interest in pretending to ride rocking horses, etc., this could be a very popular gift.
8. Play cars – Electric/Battery Powered
If you can spend a little more money and aren’t as worried about developing motor skills, these can be fun and they’re definitely an exciting gift. Age suggestions vary by the manufacturer, so check before you buy.
9. Play cars – Self-Powered
Although they don’t encourage the same level of exercise as the earlier toys in the list, these play cars last for years, don’t require batteries, and are great for imaginative play.
Little Tykes Cozy Coupe is a toy many of us will recognize from our own childhoods, and is available these days in various colors and styles.
10. Ride-On Coaster Toys
When I first wrote this post years ago, I didn’t include coaster toys. I probably didn’t like that they took up a ton of space and used a ton of plastic. They’re also not as versatile as the other toys on this list because you essentially just do the same thing over and over again. That said, I don’t want to ignore these coaster toys. They’re designed specifically for ages 2 and up, and the reviews are really good. My kids have even played with this toy at friends’ house and enjoyed it. So, if you have the space, this can be a great option.