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.
If the 2-year-old you’re buying for is more cautious or on the later end of the physical development spectrum, you may want to hold off on the more demanding ride-on toys and skip on down to options 5-7.
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 along with their older sibs). 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.
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. Make sure you buy one with a handle so you don’t get stuck carrying the bike and the toddler when the the toddler gets tired of pedaling.
This inflatable horse has 4.5 stars from more than 750 reviews on Amazon. It’s $43 and comes in a bunch of different colors. My own 2-year-old wasn’t super interested in the one at the toy store, but he might get into it later. If the toddler in your life has shown interest in pretending to ride rocking horses, etc., this could be a very popular gift.
6. 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. The one shown here is probably the most popular model, and costs $58 on Amazon.
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. (The one shown here is suggested for ages 1-3 and costs $88 on Amazon.)
Any more suggestions for types of ride-on toys? Please leave a comment. Thanks, and good luck tiring that toddler out.