Ride-on toys can bring tremendous value to a child’s playtime. Experts often point out that “play is a child’s work,” so providing children with the best, most appropriate toys that prolong their playtime and enhance their learning is important.
With their possibilities for active movement and role-play, ride-on toys can provide hours of happy entertainment for young children. In this article, we’ll outline important considerations when choosing the best ride-on car or truck for your child and review some of the best ones on the market.
Top 10 Ride on toys in the UK
Popular children’s brand VTech has done it again with a colourful, sturdy toy that ingeniously switches from a three-wheel design to a two-wheel design. Young toddlers and infants developed enough to stand are delighted by the Trike to Bike’s bright colours and front panel filled with fun activities. In fact, it offers two learning modes and introduces shapes and colours.
The crowning feature of this toy is its adaptability: very young children can ride this toy as a trike, and toddlers can ride it as a bike. While stable enough to assist small children who are already walking, this VTech toy is not a good item for infants who need help standing, as the wheels might roll out from under them.
Children old enough to balance on their own, however, find that the wheels offer some resistance, and won’t slip out too quickly. While some children appreciate pushing themselves along, many often love to simply practice their gross motor skills by stepping on and off the vehicle. Either way, converting the toy from two to three wheels is easily completed.
- Hard plastic surfaces are easy to clean
- Two-to-three-wheel adaptation means toy can be used for longer
- Engaging front panel increases entertainment value
- Low to ground and well suited to early walkers and very young toddlers
- Three-wheel design offers increased stability
- Bright colours might clash with decor
- Unsuitable for older children ready to go fast
The Big Bobby Car is a classic ride-on vehicle that lives by the motto, “simple is better.” While straightforward in its construction, its ergonomic design makes it comfortable for young and older children. Suitable from 12 months, this toy’s four wheels, low centre of gravity, and moulded plastic make it extremely durable and stable.
The Big Bobby Car comes completely assembled, except for the steering wheel, which is easily added. Children love the realistic looking wheel and the horn. It’s also notable that this toy is compatible with a host of additional accessories: tow handles, trailers, and more, enhancing its appeal to children.
This toy is available in several different colours, and while each option is certainly bright, parents might appreciate the more classic aesthetic of this particular children’s toy. Its smooth plastic makes it a breeze to wipe down, and while its stickers won’t hold up well under rain or snow, parents will find the easy-rolling wheels do well on hard outdoor surfaces, such as gravel trails and asphalt sidewalks.
- Sturdy construction
- Rolls easily on hard surfaces
- Comfortable for young or older children
- Simple design provides aesthetic appeal
- Variety of accessories make it a go-to toy
- Might be too basic for some children
- Some users report that the steering wheel occasionally pops off
- Might be too small for taller children
Convenient storage is always a plus, and the Scuttlebug Bumblebee gets high marks in that category! An ingenious design with three wheels and handles, the Scuttlebug folds away in three simple steps. When folded, it’s small enough to slip onto a shelf, store away in a cabinet, or even fit inside a backpack for convenient transportation.
This ride-on toy has three wheels for added stability and is suitable for ages one to three. The front wheel provides steering and excellent manoeuvrability, while all the wheels handle indoor and outdoor terrain like a pro, including grass or astro turf.
Children love being able to place their feet firmly on the floor, and the design of the bike is such that they will be practising balance and developing gross motor skills without even knowing it.
Thanks to its lightweight design, the Scuttlebug can be transported anywhere, a huge advantage for families always on the go. The colours are bright and engaging without being garish, and overall aesthetic will be appealing to modern families.
- Easy fold away design
- Non-scratch wheels
- Fully assembled
- Travels well across all terrain
- Three-wheel design for stability
- Uncomfortable for very tall children
- Must be used with caution on hilly walks
The tiny tractor lover in your life will love this John Deere licensed Ride-on Tractor! This sturdy ride-on vehicle comes complete with every bell and whistle imaginable and is the perfect option if you’re looking for that “wow” factor.
This ride-on toy comes with a fully operational frontloader that can tip and scoop. It also comes with a detachable trailer that connects via a rear hitch pin and has an opening bonnet and pedals suitable for three to five years.
The trailer is a no-brainer for children; loading and unloading items into it is an irresistible job that encourages learning and exploration. This toy stands out immediately in its classic John Deere green and yellow.
It is important to note that this toy does require fairly extensive assembly, and will require a good deal of room to operate, making it an inappropriate choice for play areas short on space. Another factor parents should consider is this toy’s large number of working parts; the potential for something breaking is higher than for a toy with fewer parts.
However, it’s worth pointing out that this toy has no electronic components, and will encourage children’s ingenuity and mobility.
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- Detachable trailer
- Fully working frontloader
- Suitable for older children
- Realistic look to encourage role-playing
- Sturdy construction
- Extensive assembly required
- Not appropriate for small spaces
The Ride-on Swivel Scooter (also known as a “plasma car” or “gyro swing” car) is an innovative design that propels riders without electronic or battery assistance of any kind. Children sit on the vehicle and place both feet on the footrests, and both hands on the steering wheel. Then, using their whole upper bodies to turn the wheel back and forth, gravity and centrifugal force cause the ride-on toy to glide forward on its own!
What’s especially fantastic about this toy is the wide age range it accommodates. Children as young as three can use it, and even adults report using and loving this toy! It is truly an excellent choice for nearly all ages, and especially great for children that are normally too tall to be comfortable on other ride-on toys.
However, while children will use their upper bodies to initially “power” their cars, they will not be active like they would with most other ride-on toys. The Swivel Scooter can also pick up speed quickly, so supervision is required on hilly surfaces, and it should not be used around vehicles or near roadways.
- Innovative design that will turn heads
- Fun for all ages
- Appropriate for tall children
- Perfect for outdoor use and storage
- Useful for multiple ages or children
- Bulky to store
- Not for use indoors
It’s rare to find a beautifully constructed wooden ride-on toy in today’s market, but that’s exactly what the Wheelybug Ladybird is! It stands out instantly, thanks to its simple lines and vibrant designs, making it an appealing choice for gift-givers looking for a more classical or understated aesthetic.
This ladybug toy is brightly painted, and covered with a padded layer of sponge and tough polyurethane for added durability and comfort. Perfect for children ages one to three years, it has multi-directional castors. Children will love sliding forward, backwards, and from side to side, and won’t get frustrated by running into walls or other objects like they might with traditional ride-on toys.
The Wheelybug’s funky unisex design lends itself well to being shared with other children or handed down to a sibling. Its extremely low centre of gravity makes it virtually impossible to tip, while its handle encourages core and grip strength. The Wheelybug Ladybird can be ridden on, but it can also be used as a push along toy for babies or toddlers just learning to walk.
- Handcrafted wooden design
- Unisex design appealing to boys and girls
- Multi-directional castors increase enjoyment
- Funky “vintage” design appealing to parents
- Stable four-wheel design
- Easy sliding might mean lots of banged up walls
- Might result in frustration for very young children that can’t step onto it
This adorable update on a classic ride-on might be a fun way to share your childhood tradition with a special child in your life! They say classics are classic for a reason, and this sturdy little toy is no exception. Two- and three-year-olds love to open the coupe’s door, climb in, close the door tight, and go for a ride.
In a sea of toys very low to the ground, the Cozy Coupe is a nice surprise for adults: it is tall enough to push without having to stoop too low.
This Little Tikes toy includes a high seat back and storage in the rear, plus a full functioning driver’s door. Children love to grip the easy-to-steer wheel in front and ply the working horn. Added benefits include a parent grab handle on the roofand removable floorboard for toddlers.
This toy is suitable for use outdoors or indoors, though buyers should consider how much space the Coupe will occupy–it might not be welcome indoors! It is also not suited for anything other than smooth terrain–rocky surfaces or grass will make this toy difficult to drive.
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- Extremely durable construction, great for hand me downs
- Fun tradition
- Working door and steering wheel children love
- Grab handle on the roof for parents
- Well balanced, four-wheel construction
- Difficult assembly
- Roof means tall children might outgrow it faster
This officially licensed Ferrari ride-on car is a miniature version of the real thing that is sure to thrill your budding race car driver! The scaled down replica of the Ferarri 458 supercar is packed with authentic details. Little ones ages 18-36 months will appreciate the fully manoeuvrable steering wheel and will be delighted by the genuine Ferrari red.
Imagine your child competing in the “big race”? That’s exactly what they’ll want to in this realistic looking vehicle. This miniature toy Ferrari sports vehicle will stoke a child’s imagination and encourage the most competitive little racer to dream big.
To operate the ride-on vehicle, children sit on top of the seat and use their legs to push the car along. The car comes with a horn that plays fun songs and sound effects. It is lightweight and easy to steer. These features will enhance the child’s sense of role-playing, resulting in longer, more engaged play.
Some might appreciate the car’s luxury aesthetic, though others might prefer a more childlike toy for their little ones. Either way, the car is sturdily constructed and will be easy to clean. It requires two AA batteries to power the lights and sounds, though these can be optional if preferred.
Due to the battery-operated components of the car, however, it’s only recommended for indoor use.
- Miniature version of the real thing
- Iconic Ferrari red colour
- Quality construction
- Push car encourages movement in children
- Sleek design encourages imagination
- Batteries not included
- Not recommended for outdoor use
The HOMCOM Electric Scooter looks like a daring motorbike, and is sure to excite little ones! Suitable for children ages three to six years, this bike has a three-wheel design for stability. Thanks to a 6V Battery, its maximum speed is 2.5 km/h.
Children will love this classic chopper style ride-on and its fun details, which include a headlight, forward and reverse gears, and a hookup for an iPhone or other music player. Parents and caretakers will appreciate the safety function of the vehicle: acceleration is controlled by a foot pedal, and the toy stops virtually instantly when the pedal is released.
The powerful battery must be charged for ten hours when the toy is first assembled, but after the initial use can be charged again in six to eight hours, for approximately 45 minutes of play time.
Parents should consider that this toy may be difficult to store: thanks to its battery, it must be stored indoors, but its bulk may make that difficult. Parents should also consider the terrain outside their home: without sufficient paved paths, children might find “driving” their motorcycle frustrating.
That said, there’s nothing like the thrill of having a powered motorcycle as a young person!
- Powered toy creates a novel experience
- Three-wheel design provides stability
- Three-wheel design provides stability
- Flashy design that excites children
- Working iPhone hookup
- Bulky and challenging to store
- Battery must be charged for long periods of time
This ride-on car has all the bells and whistles and is only one of two electronically operated toys on this list. The Mercedes ML350 6V Electric Ride on Kids Car is a licensed, realistic scale replica of a Mercedes SLK.
Kids will love the realistic look and smart design, as well as the vehicle’s key start. Children turn the realistic key on the dashboard a quarter of a turn and hear authentic engine start-up sounds.
Little ones will also enjoy the MP3 player input with volume control, as well as the working steering wheel and operational seat belt. The vehicle makes sounds, including horn and turning noises. The Mercedes replica also has working front headlights that can be turned on and off via a switch on the dashboard.
The feature parents will especially love is the parental remote control. Children can use the pedal inside the car to operate the forward and reverse gears and the steering wheel, or an adult may operate these features using the provided remote. This is an added safety feature, as well as a feature that enables very small children to enjoy the car!
- Parent remote for added safety and fun
- Realistic, licensed replica
- Powered battery adds the “wow” factor to this ride-on toy
- A plethora of features and gadgets
- Sure to stand out in a crowd
- Sure to stand out in a crowd
- Sure to stand out in a crowd
The Clear Winner
Each of the options we’ve shared has definite pros, but our favourite is the Scuttlebug Bumblebee. Small children learning how to walk can push the Scuttlebug, children old enough to “drive” it will enjoy it, and it has unisex appeal, ensuring a long life for this toy.
The Scuttlebug is made from durable and sturdy materials, and the fact that it can be folded away easily solves storage problems in a snap and gives it the added benefit of transportability, something every other toy in this category is hard pressed to beat. We also appreciate its versatility–it can be used easily indoors and outdoors on smooth pavement or grassy terrain.
Thanks to these stand out features, the Scuttlebug Bumblebee is a clear winner in a list full of ride-on toy favourites!
Benefits of Ride-on Toys
Toys that children can ride on benefit them in many ways. They often help children to be more active. Many ride-on toys encourage the uses of children’s legs and arms, strengthen core muscles, help children develop coordination and gross motor skills, and assist children in learning how to balance. Some ride-on toys can even double as walkers, helping the littlest children learn to walk.
Ride-on toys also open up whole new modes of locomotion to children; instead of walking or running, now they can ride. This brings a whole new dimension to their world of wonder!
Toys children can ride allow them to explore their environments at new heights, helping them learn and develop a thirst for exploring. Some ride-on toys are so realistic, they heavily encourage children to role-play, a valuable type of play as young people act out and learn about what they see in the grownup world around them.
How to Choose the Right Ride-on Toy
Make a quick online search for “ride-on toys,” and you might feel overwhelmed. There is a myriad of possibilities in every size, shape, age range, and design! How do you know where to begin?
Here are a few things to consider as you shop for the perfect ride-on companion for the child in your life.
How Much Space Do You Have Indoors or Outdoors?
It’s important to think about where the child will be playing with his or her toy. Will he or she be indoors mostly, playing in small spaces on carpeted or hard flooring? Will he or she be outdoors on paved paths? Or, maybe outdoors on grass? Larger toys won’t fit in small indoor spaces, but some toys aren’t suited for outdoor use.
The type of terrain or flooring the child will be playing on is important, as it will impact the ride-on toy you choose: small, difficult to roll wheels are not good fits for grass, while large toys designed to go fast probably shouldn’t be used indoors.
You should also consider how much space you have for storage. Room to “ride” freely and lots of storage space might not be an object, but some families find that storage space is at a premium, and that must be considered when choosing toys.
What is the Family’s Aesthetic?
If the child’s toy is outdoors, it might not matter what it looks like, but if it is indoors and out in plain sight frequently, the child’s family might want to pay close attention to the colours and materials with which the ride-on toy is constructed. A vintage or “retro” style toy might suit a home better than one with garish colours and flashy sounds.
What is the Longevity of This Toy?
Do you hope the child will be able to use this toy for years or do you hope this toy will be able to be passed down to other children? If so, construction and unisex appeal are extremely important. The trendier or flashier a toy, the less likely it will be appealing later down the road.
You should also consider the child’s height: will this toy leave him or her with plenty of room to grow? Some toys are only good for a short developmental window, while others have adaptations or features that make them beloved for much longer.
Also, the number of moving or electronic parts is something to consider. The more parts a toy has, the more likely something will break or be damaged.
Materials used in construction also indicate the longevity of your purchase. Plush materials can be notoriously difficult to clean; spills can be dabbed, but rarely completely laundered! Plastic is very easy to sanitise but must be extremely sturdy to hold up well.
Tips for Great Play
Some (if not all) ride-on toys should be used with supervision, and some even require protective headgear. Ride-on toys should never be used around vehicles.
To enhance the child’s level of enjoyment, you can add role-playing cues (such as costumes for indoor toys or sand for outdoor toys), or “stage” toys differently. If a child wakes up to find his or her toy in a new place, he or she will feel excited about this “new” toy all over again!
For very young children, you also might consider keeping the ride-on toy on a carpet or mat, to soften potential falls.
There are many types of ride-on toys, including electric, bikes and trikes, push power, pedal power, and more. The best toy depends on the child and his or her environment and developmental stages, but here are ten toys we think children will love.