Since rocking horses have been a classic playtime object since the 17th century, many parents still seek them out for their toddlers out of nostalgia. But as with most other classics, today’s toy companies have come up with innovative new ways to carry on this time-honored tradition. We’ve reviewed some of the best modern rocking horse toys on the market and summed up their pros and cons for you to examine. We hope this guide helps aid your family on your upcoming rocking horse purchase!
The Best Toddler Rocking Horses – Wooden Models, Soft Plush, & Ones With Sound
(Best modern take on a classic rocking horse — $$$)
Why it’s great: Toddlers and children ages 2-6 will love this advanced, interactive rocking horse by Radio Flyer! My son was given this as a gift and he adores it. This toy can walk, gallop or trot – and makes different sound effects based on level of play. This high quality rocking horse also comes with a brushable mane, comb and carrot accessory for further imaginative play. It has a built-in saddle and stirrups, as well as a safety frame with Radio Flyer’s special EZ climb step for easy mounting. The horse’s springs are also covered for further protection.
Keep in mind: You are likely to have to help younger toddlers get on and off until they get the hang of it.
Good for: Parents looking for a fun and innovative rocking horse that brings this classic toy into the 21st century.
(Best wooden horse — $$)
Why it’s great: The Labebe Wooden Rocking Horse is a sweet and simple modern wooden take on the original rocking horse design. The high-quality wood is solid and smooth, with an impressive maximum weight of 150 pounds! The seat is designed with a special high back to prevent slips and falls. This 2-in-1 rocker can be converted into a rolling toy without tools, and the corresponding wheels are wrapped in rubber to reduce scratches and noise.
Keep in mind: The rocker is a little smaller than expected. Be sure to check the dimensions to see if it’s right for you and your little one.
Good for: Families who prefer wooden and eco-friendly toy options and who appreciate minimalistic design.
(Best unicorn — $)
Why it’s great: The Animal Adventure Real Wood Ride-On Plush Rocker would make a wonderful addition to any toddler bedroom or playroom. This precious imaginative unicorn rocker will be a great hit with toddlers of all ages! This horse arrives assembled and ready to go, making it the perfect birthday or Christmas gift. Parents appreciate the quality of this combination wooden and plush rocking horse. It is designed for children 3 years of age and up and has a maximum weight limit of 75 pounds. The plush material can be spot cleaned, and movable reins along with embroidered details add an extra special touch.
Keep in mind: This one is on the smaller side, so it’s best for toddlers and younger, petite 6-7 year olds.
Good for: Parents searching for an adorable pink version to this childhood classic.
(Best sound effects — $)
Why it’s great: This rocking horse features a soft, huggable body and a mouth that moves along with the included interactive sounds. Pressing the horse’s right ear results in 6 different phrases and sound effects, and pressing the horses left ear plays a special tune. In addition, as a 2-in-1 rocking horse toy, the Rockin’ Rider can be converted from a rocker to a roller easily and without tools! These features along with a very reasonable price make the Rockin’ Rider 2-in-1 Pony Ride-On a fantastic rocking horse for toddlers of all ages.
Keep in mind: This rocking horse was also a bit smaller than expected so be sure to verify the dimensions are what you’re looking for.
Good for: Parents looking for a fun and interactive rocking horse that is plush enhances their child’s imaginative play through music and sound and can be converted to a rolling toy for older children.
(Most colorful — $$$)
Why it’s great: This rocking crocodile sports vibrant colors and is soft and plush. It’s nice and low to the ground, so even if your child falls off, there’s little risk of them getting hurt. The black guards on the bottom keep your child from rocking too far forward or backward, which is another great safety feature. The crocodile can be removed from the rocker and used as a giant stuffed animal and it even has bells in the tail that jingle. He is made from rubberwood and decorated with non-toxic paints and biodegradable fabrics, so he’s completely safe for your child. This rocker is also easy to spot clean with a quick wipe down.
Keep in mind: The guards at the bottom keep it from rocking too far. You can remove one set to get a little more rocking motion.
Good for: Children ages 18 months to 5 years that love crocodiles.
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(Best support — $$)
Why it’s great: This is an adorable take on the classic wooden rocking horse. Your child will love the soft, pink mane and accessories. And there’s even a blue option if you don’t care for pink. This horse is unique because it features a wooden guardrail around the sides and a supportive back. It also has a pink padded cover for extra comfort and support. The cover is completely removable if you prefer the plain wood or for easy cleaning. The side guardrails can also come off and will leave you with a regular rocking horse with handles. It also has a white, detachable seat belt for extra safety.
Keep in mind: This one does not come assembled, so you’ll have to put it together when you get it. However, it’s simple and easy to do.
Good for: Children ages 3 and up that want a more supportive and comfortable rocking horse.
(Most original — $$)
Why it’s great: Your toddler will love rocking on the high seas in this original rocking boat. It is made of wood with non-toxic finishes and is brightly painted in red, white, and blue. There’s even an anchor and a life preserver hooked to the sides to make it more realistic. The high back creates a supportive seat for your child and you’ll never have to worry about them falling off this rocker. Your child will build muscle strength in their arms and legs while rocking this boat. They’ll also get to use their imagination and learn balance and coordination.
Keep in mind: This is a very gentle rocking experience and the instructions are easy to follow, but it does take some time to get it put together.
Good for: Children ages 12 months and up who love boats and using their imagination.
(Best safety features — $$$)
Why it’s great: Not only is this rocker completely adorable, it’s also extremely safe for your child. The dinosaur is soft plush and is brightly colored to attract your child’s attention. The seat is comfortable and has padding on the sides and back to completely support your child while they’re in it. It also has a seat belt to keep your child strapped in and prevent them from falling off the rocker. Also, each spine on the dinosaur’s back makes a different crackling noise for your child to explore. The bird on the head is attached with velcro and your child can take it off to play with it. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about losing it because it is also secured with a rope.
Keep in mind: Although the weight limit is 150lbs, your child will only fit in the seat until they’re around 3 or 4 years old.
Good for: Younger toddlers ages 12 months and up that need the added security of a seat belt and padding.
(Best eco-friendly — $$$)
Why it’s great: This cute, pink rocker is made of eco-friendly plastic and is solid and sturdy. It is low to the ground and the plastic base is non-slip, so it’s easy for toddlers to get on and off by themselves. The handles are the perfect size for little hands and are non-slip as well. The seat is nice and wide so your child will be comfortable while rocking on this animal. It also has a bell on the front that jingles as your child rides back and forth.
Keep in mind: This one is pricier, but it is sturdy and will last for a long time.
Good for: Children ages 1-6 years old and families that prefer quality, eco-friendly toys.
(Most options — $$)
Why it’s great: This is another great rocker from LaBebe. It is smaller and shorter, which makes it perfect for young toddlers who are just learning how to balance and rock. This one has a wooden base with wheels that can be moved down to turn this rocker into a stroller! The dinosaur is vibrant and is a super soft plush, so your child will be nice and comfortable. It also has a seat belt to keep your child from falling off. The tail and the spine make noise when your child squeezes them for extra fun. LaBebe has so many different options for rockers that you can check out on their page here.
Keep in mind: The wheels can be pretty noisy on wood floors, but work great otherwise, even on carpet.
Good for: Families with children ages 1-3 years old that want a rocker with multiple uses and options.
(Best budget rocker — $)
Why it’s great: Rocking toys are expensive, but this adorable flamingo is more affordable than most others on the market. You can also choose from a bunch of different animal options. The animals are all soft plush and make a comfortable seat for your child. The wooden bottom and the handles are nice and sturdy, so your child will be able to play on this for hours. It also comes assembled, so you don’t have to worry about trying to put it together yourself.
Keep in mind: This one is recommended for children 3 and older, but you can put a younger child in it with proper supervision.
Good for: Families that want a rocking animal that they can afford.
(Best plush animal rocker — $$)
Why it’s great: B. Toys Loopsy Wooden Rocking Sheep is built for toddlers ages 18 months and up. This adorable plush rocker combines the durability and classic look of a wooden rocker with the comfort and creativity of a cuddly animal. The rocker’s base and handles are natural hardwood, while the sheep body is soft and squeezable. It is the perfect size and style to make an adorable accessory to any toddler’s room or playroom without being an eyesore. While there is no electronic interactive element, a small wooden ball inside the sheep body produces a “clippity-clop” sound when the toy is rocked. Rodeo Rockers also has a complete collection including a classic horse option, a zebra, and a unicorn.
Keep in mind: This plush rocking horse is also on the smaller side so double check the dimensions before purchasing.
Good for: Toddlers who love animals, and parents looking for a rocking horse with a small footprint or who enjoy a minimalistic look for their child’s toys.
(Most versatile — $$$)
Why it’s great: This is a different take on a rocker and it can also be used as a climbing bridge. It is made of sturdy wood, with colorful, rainbow slats. Your child can sit in the bowl and rock back and forth to their heart’s content. You won’t have to worry about your child falling out of this one either, since they’re already essentially on the floor. If you turn it over, it makes a small little bridge that your child can climb on, slide down, or crawl under, which promotes creativity and imagination, along with gross motor skills.
Keep in mind: This one is a little more challenging to assemble, but is well worth it once it’s together.
Good for: Children that like rocking and climbing.
(Most regal — $$$)
Why it’s great: The swan is one of the most regal animals and in this rocker it even has a crown on its head. Your child will love the look and feel of this gorgeous rocker. The rocker itself is made of solid wood and the swan is plush, soft fabric. The wings of the swan act as a side guard to help keep your child in place while they rock back and forth. It also has a seat belt for extra security. The handles help increase your child’s grip strength and they’ll learn balance and dexterity while riding this swan.
Keep in mind: This rocker is spot clean only and with the all white design, it may be harder to keep clean.
Good for: Children ages 0-3 years old that love the magical quality of swans.
(Most whimsical — $$)
Why it’s great: This one is whimsical and fun. The cute, blue dragon has an adorable face and is soft and plush. The seat is wide and cushioned for maximum comfort while rocking. The base and handles are solid wood and the handles are smooth, so there’s no danger of getting splinters. The tail and the wings make noise when your child touches them for extra engagement. This one even comes with a cute little dragon doll too! And there’s a pocket on the side of the neck where the doll can sit while your child is rocking.
Keep in mind: This one does have to be assembled, but it only takes about 10 minutes to do.
Good for: Children ages 1 and up that love fantasy creatures.
FAQs about toddler rocking horses
1. What are the benefits of a rocking horse toy?
While it may seem like such a simple toy, the benefits of playing with a rocking horse are many. Riding on a rocking horse activates your child’s imagination, encourages creativity, and helps them develop their gross motor skills, balance and coordination. In addition, the rocking motion can be soothing, making it a relaxing way to help your child calm down.
2. What is the earliest age my child can safely use a toddler rocking horse?
In general, toddlers can safely ride on a rocking horse toy with supervision once they can walk. The typical age range that children enjoy playing with a rocking horse toy is from 12 months to around age 3 or 4. But check your specific rocking horse’s manufacturer instructions for more specific guidance on age restrictions for that product.
3. How long will my toddler’s rocking horse last?
Depending on the materials used, a toddler rocking horse can last anywhere from a few years to a few generations. Rocking horses that have added plush materials will eventually get dirty and become a gathering spot for dust, stains, or even dust mites. On the other hand, rocking horses made of pure wood should be able to last long enough to be passed down to other family members if desired.
4. What price can I expect to pay for a toddler rocking horse?
While the price will vary depending on the quality of the materials used, the average price that you can expect to spend on a toddler rocking horse is around $60-120. This may be lower or higher, depending on the manufacturer. Some rocking horse toys are made with plastic and are fairly inexpensive. Other rocking horse toys have added plush animal seats, interactive electronic elements, and other more costly features.
As an inevitable rite of passage for generations, the purchase of your toddler’s first rocking horse will hopefully lead to many hours of active and imaginative play.
If your toddler is at least 1 year old and can manage themselves and their surroundings well, you can probably safely assume they are ready for a rocking horse. Look for an option that is durable and that you and your toddler find enjoyable to look at and play with on a daily basis. Happy rocking!