Once those mobile skills kick in, little ones want to go, go, go in any way they can — and you’d be surprised how fast tiny legs can scurry from one room to the next. You could always teach your child how to ride a bike to expel some of that energy, but that requires time, effort and loads of practice. But here’s some good news: there’s an alternative to bike riding when mom’s energy levels start to wane, and that’s ride on toys.
Whoever came up with ride on toys deserves a medal, or at the very least more recognition than they’ve been given up until this point because ride on toys are to toddlers as amusement park rides are to adults. They’re a taste of thrill and adventure, even if they’re only set up in your playroom. With ride on toys, kids can hop a smiling Thomas the Tank Engine train, hold down the farm on a tractor trailer or hit the open road (er, sidewalk) in a convertible RV. They’re toys, but they’re also fuel for their imaginations with the added bonus of keeping your child occupied for awhile.
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1. The Original PlasmaCar
PlasmaCar’s OG ride on toy reminds us of some kind of bike/scooter/hover car hybrid for kids and adults. The contraption comes sans gears or pedals, and it doesn’t operate on batteries, either. Instead, it runs on gravity and friction, and can miraculously hold up to 220 pounds, which means when the kids go to bed, mom and dad get their turn on the ride on toy, too. And if this sounds too good to be true, it isn’t: The PlasmaCar meets and exceeds all US, Canadian and European safety standards — though, fair warning, it isn’t friendly to wood floors, so you might want to keep this family-friendly toy either outdoors or in carpeted/tiled areas.
2. Peg Perego John Deere Ground Force Tractor
Who knew riding a tractor trailer could qualify as riding in style? The Peg Perego John Deere Ground Force Tractor is the real deal. You don’t have to live on a farm or ranch to ride it, either: these wheels were made for mowing over grass, dirt, gravel or pavement just the same.
Key features of this ride on toy include two speeds plus a reverse option, an acceleration pedal with automatic brakes and an extra large stake-side trailer to load up with bales of hay (or toys). What’s more, the tractor comes with a working FM radio, so your child can jam while they ride.
3. Power Wheels Thomas & Friends Thomas
Thomas the Tank has been around since 1984 and kids still can’t get enough of this always-smiling, adventure-seeking train. If your little one is also a fan, then this Thomas & Friends ride on toy from Power Wheels is the perfect gift.
The six-volt battery-operated toy can hold up to 40 pounds and moves up to one mile per hour on the 18-foot track (and up to two off the track). And there’s no need for your child to pedal: This ride on toy operates according to its on and off button. What’s more, the train is interactive as it says phrases and lets out sounds while your little one rides.
4. Best Choice Products 12V Ride On Car
Your little one might have big dreams about the day they’ll drive like mommy and daddy, but those days are far in the future (so let’s keep them there, please). The 12V Ride on Car from Best Choice Products gives kids a taste of what it’s like to get behind the wheel without any necessary forms of identification.
The design of the truck is eerily realistic from its adjustable seatbelts to the bright LED lights and 12V motor with three speed options (low, medium and “high,” aka 3.7 miles per hour max). It runs both manually and by remote control, so if the driver needs a break, mom and dad can take over from the patio.
As for safety features, the automobile is designed with non-toxic plastic and includes 14-inch traction wheels that feature a spring suspension system for outdoor use. And just in case those bells and whistles weren’t enough, the ride on toy has a built-in AUX outlet so kids can plug in their (or your) phone and/or other media devices so they can jam out while they cruise.
5. Fisher-Price Harley Davidson Tough Trike
Not sure if your kid was actually born to ride? Fisher-Price’s mini Harley Davidson model is a solid ride on toy if you’re still testing the waters. The tricycle is decked out in the famous motorcycle brand’s signature colors, logo and flame graphics, and even features a secret compartment to store snacks, toys and whatever else your kid might want to bring with them on the open road. Plus, this trike is built with the safety of your child top of mind so you can rest assured that with big foot pedals for stability, easy-grip handlebars and durable tires, they’ll be zooming off in no time.