Ride-On Toy Buying Guide

Your child’s mind and body develop through play, so it’s important to provide them with toys that combine mental and physical challenges. This ride-on toy buying guide outlines your options.

Ride-On Toys 101

For children, there's nothing like the thrill of racing around the house or up and down the driveway. Ride-on toys help to develop young muscles and foster a sense of adventure. And since ride-on toys resemble adult vehicles, animals or cartoon characters, kids just naturally want to play with them. You can start your kids with rocking toys, pull toys and push toys. Learning to sit securely atop a rocking horse can give your children the confidence they need to tackle wheeled ride-on toys. Pull toys activate a number of muscle groups and introduce the concepts of weight and momentum. Push toys and pedal toys help to develop leg strength and balance, and help prepare your child for tricycles and bicycles. Powered ride-on toys require less physical effort, but the various controls promote cognitive function and responsibility.  

Types of Ride-On Toys


Rocking Toys

Rocking toys come in many different shapes and sizes, and kids seem to love them all. Your options range from plastic and wooden rockers built on playful animal themes to replica versions of the traditional rocking horse. Most are intended to be mounted, but some are just for rocking. Young children still learning to stand and walk will enjoy the movement of a rocking toy, while toddlers and older children can mount them quite easily and engage in actual riding.

Pull Toys

You can still find the classic little red wagon, but today’s version is more likely to be built of plastic with oversized wheels, secure sidewalls and extra features you never dreamed of. And it may not even be a wagon. Other pull toy variants include brightly coloured trucks and cars, choo choo trains and even planes. Look for features like folding handles for easier storage, holders for sippy cups, and non-scratch wheels suitable for use on hardwood floors. 

Push Toys

Push toys generate priceless smiles on the faces of children and adults alike. The push in push toys comes either from the feet of the child riding the toy or the adult lending a helping hand. Push toys are fun and engaging for kids, but they also perform the serious task of exercising little legs and encouraging independence. During the crawling and early walking stage, push toys are important for developing gross motor skills. You can buy push toys in many different styles, including toy airplanes, toy tractors, sporty vehicles and cartoon characters.

Centrifugal Ride-On Toys

For children who are too young for a pedal car but can't wait to begin propelling themselves up and down the hallway or sidewalk, there are centrifugal ride-on toys. This ingenious ride-on toy is powered by the centrifugal force generated when the steering wheel is turned. The faster your child turns or “spins” the wheel, the quicker the vehicle moves. Pedal-free and built low to the ground, a swing toy car is a safe choice for young children.

Pedal Toys

Graduating to a pedal car is a big moment in your child’s life. It usually means more freedom, more speed, and moving outside to the driveway or patio. Children aged three and up are generally ready for a self-propelled vehicle. Replica fire trucks, police cars and race cars are popular themes. Pedal-toy features may include adjustable seats and handlebars, oversized front tires for stability and horns for clearing slow-moving adults out of the way. Plastic construction is common for younger children, while older, heavier children may require sturdier components.

Powered Ride-On Toys

Battery powered ride-on toys often resemble adult versions of all-terrain vehicles, exotic cars and motorcycles. They also come with big-car features like motors, power brakes, functioning doors and radios. Powered toys typically have a top speed of five to seven mph. With safety in mind, they generally include mechanisms that allow parents to set the high speed. A good-quality powered toy that's properly maintained can be handed down in the family as your children come of age.

Ride-On Toy Safety Tips:

  • Choose a toy that’s appropriate for your child’s age
  • Make sure all toy parts are properly assembled and fastened
  • Your child’s feet should be able to touch the ground
  • Use only on smooth, flat terrain and under adult supervision
  • Supply a helmet and knee or elbow pads for riding power toys

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Ride-On Toy Benefits

A ride-on toy is an ideal way to help your child develop physical coordination and personal confidence. Under your supervision, your child can safely experience the sensation of riding while learning basic life lessons about speed, direction and balance. Many of the simple principles learned on a ride-on toy are transferable to other activities and also provide a positive introduction to the world of mechanical objects. Best of all, your child is having fun and enjoying time with mom and dad. 

Ride-On Toy Maintenance Tips:

  • Wipe down hard surfaces to eliminate bacteria
  • Beware of cracked parts or signs of wear
  • Tighten any loose fasteners or hinges
  • Keep extra batteries on hand for powered toys
  • Cover or store powered kids’ cars indoors to protect sensitive electronics
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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