Updated on October 21, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Toddlers learn most from play, and active play allows them to really get moving and use their imaginations. While there are many amazing ways to encourage active play, a great way to get them started is with tricycles. Not only does it get them up and moving outdoors, but it also improves hand-eye coordination and muscle strength. However, trying to find a tricycle that will best fit the needs of you and your little one can be a challenge. There are so many different tricycles with eye-catching features, but it’s hard to tell what you really need and what is more for show. To try and clear up some of the confusion, we have compiled seven of our favorite tricycles so that you can decide for yourself what the best option is for you and your (soon to be daredevil) toddler.
The Best Tricycles For Ages 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5
(Best to grow with your toddler — $$)
Why it’s great: This bike is designed to grow right along with your little one. From the stage that they are too small to reach the pedals right up to when they are ready for the transition to a big-kid bike with training wheels, this tricycle can be adjusted to meet their needs. The pedals of this tricycle can be removed so that your child can scoot themselves along with their feet until they learn how to pedal. The foam tires mean that there won’t be any need to refill them if they get punctured.
Keep in mind: Some parents have said that the bike is small and their little one grew out of it quickly so make sure to check the measurements before purchasing!
Good for: Toddlers 1 to 3 weighing up to 110 lbs.
(Best stability — $$$)
Why it’s great: This is a great alternative to a traditional tricycle. It has four wheels, so you’ll get extra stability from it. Also, the wheels don’t turn with the steering wheel, which makes it easier for your child to keep pedaling while turning without having to adjust their legs or posture. It’s a great size and can be used indoors or outdoors. It’s also adjustable, so you’ll be able to make it the right size length for your child.
Keep in mind: This one is not a true tricycle, as it has four wheels, but it will get your child used to pedaling.
Good for: Toddlers ages 2-5 years old.
(Best simple tricycle — $$)
Why it’s great: This is a tricycle that my son owns and uses, and we love it! The parent handlebar is great for the one to two-year-old stage when toddlers are just learning how to ride, and then as they reach three, you can remove it and let them have more freedom. My son is 4 years old now and he still loves to ride it around the patio thanks to the ability to adjust the seat and handlebar. The tires are durable and sturdy, and it is easy for young toddlers to maneuver and pedal. My favorite thing about this bike is how durable it is, we have had ours for 3 years now and it still looks just as good as the day we bought it. If you are looking for a more retro version, try this one.
Keep in mind: The assembly process is a little difficult and takes some extra effort on the part of the parent.
Good for: Toddlers ages 2 to 5 weighing up to 49 lbs
(Best balance tricycle — $$)
Why it’s great: This tricycle is made of solid wood and can be converted from a tricycle to a bicycle, so as your child gets better at balancing, they can move up to two wheels. The seat height is adjustable too, which means it’ll grow with your child. It has an extra wide base and airless tires, which provides better balance and stability for your child. It also has padded handlebars for extra comfort. If you love this tricycle, but need something a little bigger for your toddler, you can try this balance bike from Kinderfeet.
Keep in mind: This trike is meant to teach your child to balance and doesn’t have any pedals.
Good for: Toddlers 18 months to 4 years weighing up to 55 lbs.
(Best budget option — $)
Why it’s great: If you’re looking for a fun tricycle that’s not going to break the bank, this one might be just what you need. The bright colors and Minnie Mouse theme are fun for your little one and the lightweight plastic design means it’s easy for you to move around. If you prefer Mickey, they have that model too! The low, sloped design of the seat is comfortable for little riders and the pedals are easy to push which makes this the perfect bike for a new pedal-pusher. If your kiddos love “FROZEN” check out this model:
Keep in mind: Some parents have experienced the caps on the rear wheels falling off after a while of use.
Good for: Toddlers 1 to 3 weighing up to 35 lbs.
(Best baby tricycle — $$)
Why it’s great: Your child can use this bike when they are as young as 10 months old. It is made of steel and the seat is soft leather. The handlebar is soft and is non-slip, so your child will have an easy grip. The wheels are vibration dampened, which means they’re noiseless. They are also fully enclosed, so you don’t have to worry about fingers or toes getting caught in them. This bike promotes balance and helps your child to strengthen their leg muscles and gross motor skills.
Keep in mind: This one is not adjustable, so it will only be useful until your child is around 2 years old.
Good for: Young toddlers ages 10 months to 2 years.
(Most stylish — $$$)
Why it’s great: This retro tricycle is awesome for the nostalgic parent because of the cute fifties style design. This bike has a sleek and unique look and is easy for your little one to maneuver. Parents love the size of the bike and how sturdy it is which is important when you are looking at daily use with a lively toddler. The seat is adjustable so it can grow with your little one and their legs won’t get cramped under the handlebar as they get older.
Keep in mind: Some parents have found that the pedals are hard to push for younger kids due to the sturdy, steel build of the bike.
Good for: Toddlers 2 to 4 weighing up to 60 lbs.
(Most versatile — $$)
Why it’s great: This tricycle can be used in four different ways. When your child is first learning how to pedal, there’s a handle on the back so a parent can help push the trike along. This makes it easier for your child to learn the pedaling motion. Once they’ve gotten the hang of it, it converts into a standalone tricycle. When you think they’re ready to learn how to balance, it converts into two wheels without pedals, but it has a handle for the parent to help push and steer. And after that, it will convert into a balance bike for your child to learn to do it on their own.
Keep in mind: Although it has pedals as a trike, you do need to remove the pedals when you convert it to two wheels.
Good for: Toddlers ages 2-5 weighing up to 44 lbs.
(Best quality — $$)
Why it’s great: RadioFlyer is a well known brand that’s been making kids’ bikes and toys for years. They also make excellent quality products and this Big Flyer is no different. The seat is adjustable, so it grows with your child, meaning they’ll be able to use it for many years. The front wheel is larger than the back wheels, so your child will be lower to the ground and there’s less chance of them falling off the trike. The handlebar is made from chrome and has comfort grips, so there’s little risk of your toddler’s hands slipping off.
Keep in mind: This one doesn’t allow your child to pedal backwards like some tricycles do. Pedaling backwards serves as a brake on this one.
Good for: Toddlers ages 3-7 weighing up to 65 lbs.
(Best for learning — $$)
Why it’s great: This bike is great for toddlers who are just starting out with tricycles and it can convert all the way from the first starting out stage to the seasoned tricycle veteran stage. The handlebar makes it easy for parents to help little ones who haven’t quite gotten the hang of pedals and the harness makes sure they are safe and secure while they ride. There is a sun canopy that will make bike rides on warm days much more comfortable and you can bring along a bottle of water in the carrying compartment on the back.
Keep in mind: It’s a little on the pricier side so it might be a bit more of an investment piece.
Good for: Toddlers one to three weighing up to 35 lbs.
(Best themed trike — $)
Why it’s great: This tricycle is a good quality, inexpensive option for toddlers. It’s lightweight and plastic which makes it easy to move around as well as uncomplicated to keep clean thanks to the rounded design. This bike is easy to maneuver, and the pedals are easy for little legs to push. There is storage under the seat so that your little one can take toys along with them and the hollow plastic wheels won’t pop if punctured.
Keep in mind: Some parents have said that this bike is too big, and their little ones can’t quite reach the pedals. It might be wise for you to look at the measurements to make sure it will fit your little one.
Good for: Toddlers age 3 to 4 weighing up to 55 lbs.
FAQ’s about Tricycles
1. What age should I buy my toddler a tricycle?
1 is a good age to start looking at tricycles because they are learning a lot about walking and other active things at that point. By 4 or 5 they will be getting ready to transition into a small bicycle with training wheels so any age between 1 and 3 is perfect “tricycle age”.
2. What age do toddlers learn how to pedal?
Toddlers will start to learn how to pedal on their own for the most part by about 2 years old, but you can start building the basis as early as 1. By 3 years old they should be efficiently pedaling with little to no help. This is why we love tricycles with parent handles!
3. Are tricycles bad for toddlers?
Many parents are concerned about the safety of tricycles for their little ones. While there may be wipeouts, tricycles are a fun and safe option if the proper precautions are in place. This includes a helmet and sometimes knee and elbow pads. With the right equipment and supervision, tricycles are a fun activity for toddlers.
4. How does a tricycle help child development?
While tricycles do help toddlers learn the basics of riding a bike, that isn’t the only positive effect they have on child development. Gross motor skills are hugely benefited by tricycles including building arm and leg muscles and coordination. Gross motor skills are the precursor to fine motor skills, so teaching your little one to ride a tricycle might help them in unexpected ways!
Tricycles are a fun toy to encourage active play in your toddler and they can really benefit them in a lot of different ways. However, there are so many different features that it can be hard to tell what you need. The best place to start is deciding what’s most important to you and your little one and you can go from there. Do you want something inexpensive and lightweight or something sturdy and long-lasting? Once you have your wants and needs in mind, it will be much easier to settle on a tricycle that’s the perfect fit for your family!
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