11 development benefits of ride-on toys that make them a great investment

Every kid wants a ride-on toy – whether it’s a tricycle, bike, pedal cart, electric ride-on car or truck, or even a dinosaur ride-on – these toys are fantastic, and hands-down, one of the highlights of being a kid. What’s even better about these toys today is that there are so many different options to pick from – with traditional options like bikes and scooters to modern picks like hoverboards – kids today are spoilt for choice when it comes to ride-on toys.

These toys aren’t just great – being some of the best, most impressive toys a child can receive – they’re also somewhat of a right of passage, with ride-on toys representing adventure, exploration, and independence. This passage is, of course, essential, being a crucial marker on their journey from toddler to big kid, helping to spark creativity and imagination while introducing them to concepts like safety, rules, and collaborative play.  

As well as these, there is a much more comprehensive range of benefits that these toys offer – including all sorts of developmental skills, which will help them succeed in academia and later life. This is the point of this article – to go over these benefits, making a case for investing in a good ride-on toy for your little one.

11 ride-on toy benefits

In this post, we take a look at some of the benefits that these toys can offer – from early childhood development to language and social skills – there are a wide array of benefits that these toys can offer, many of which aren’t all-that immediately obvious.

We’ll also cover those offered from all sorts of different ride-ons, not sticking to any particular type. This is something that should make a strong case for investing in a variety of other options, instead of sticking with a single type, to get the maximum benefits that these toys have to offer.

So, without any further ado – here are our picks for 11 of the best benefits that ride-on toys have to offer.

1. Helps with the development of fine and gross motor skills

Whether it’s getting in and out of their ride-on, steering its wheel or handlebars, and so on – there are plenty of opportunities for young children to build and strengthen their fine motor schools through ride-on toy play. While it might not seem like it at first – there is a fair bit of dexterity required to operate a ride-on successfully.

And it’s not just fine motor skills either – there are as many opportunities to develop gross motor skills with ride-on play as there are for fine motor skills. These movements or motions require the whole body to perform, requiring coordination between balance and core strength, such as pushing, pulling, or picking up their ride on and moving it around.

Exactly which components of these skills are developed depends on the ride-on toy used – making a good case for purchasing several to ensure your little one gets the full range of benefits. This could mean picking up a tricycle, bike, scooter, and electric ride-on – it might even mean adding others that are more novel into the mix, like hoverboards, dinosaur skateboards, and even unicycles, provided they’re age-appropriate.

2. Keeps kids fit and healthy, encouraging physical activity and exercise

While many ride-on toys aren’t necessarily going to need your little one to exert too much in the way of physical effort, as is the case with any electric-powered ride-on toys, just getting them outside is half the battle.

Once they’re out there, they’ll inevitably spend time getting in and out, or off and on, their toy, running around, climbing, and doing as kids do, which will lead to plenty of physical activity and exercise. This will be much more if you get them enjoying the backyard or park with friends, as they chase each other around, role-playing and living out scenarios and stories together through play.

With problems like childhood obesity on the rise throughout not just the US but the developed world in general, it’s never been more important to encourage your little one to get outside and stay active, helping to improve their fitness and better regulate their weight. It’s also imperative to start them off on the road to physical fitness early, as the habits they develop while they’re either – whether good or bad – will follow them into adulthood.

3. Fosters and encourages a sense of adventure and exploration

Upgrading from walking to their very own set of wheels gives kids the opportunity to move faster and go further than ever before, opening up a new world of adventure and exploration. This -coupled with the fact that ride-on toys are best used outside – makes them particularly useful for discovery.

They’ll also be able to push limits for the first time, dabbling with risk – making decisions on the fly about the speed at which to tackle that bump in the road or how sharply they take that corner on the path ahead. This thinking on their feet will help with decision making, teaching your child to process and take action quicker and more efficiently without delay – something that will help them in later life.

As well as this, developing a sense of adventure and exploration also inevitably leads to greater self-confidence, self-esteem, and even better critical thinking, as they learn to effectively navigate and tackle the world around them as they explore. Critical thinking – and I’m sure most will agree – is one of the more essential skills and determining factors when it comes to success.

4. Teaches young children better balance and coordination

Many of us conjure up images of electric ride-on cars and ATVs when we think of ride-on toys. However, there are a wide variety of such toys, including everything from bikes and scooters to the weirder and more wonderful, like pogo sticks and even unicycles.

Many of these are great for developing good balance and coordination, as without these skills, riding them would be near impossible. Sure, your little one isn’t going to be an instant pro – and it may take a while for the training wheels to come off – but over time, there’s little that will do more for developing these essential skills than these sorts of ride-on toys.

And it’s not just balance and coordination. These toys and activities are good for general physical development, helping children build up core strength, making them not just stronger and better-balanced, but also healthier, giving them plenty of exercise in the practice and keeping them at a healthy weight.

5. Helps enhance and improve spatial awareness and intelligence

Putting your little one in charge of their very own moving vehicle is an excellent way of helping them to build up spatial intelligence. This will give them a better understanding of space and awareness of the objects around them as they navigate in their vehicle through the world.

As they drive their toy car or other ride-on around, they’ll need to back decisions that require plenty of spatial awareness – such as gauging how big a particular gap is and whether or not they can fit through – as well as whether or not they can make a turn, or if they’re moving to fast.

This on-the-fly decision-making will help make your little one more aware of their surroundings and the obstacles in it and help with general intelligence. This is because making snap decisions can help make them think faster and more efficiently – something which will help them during their educational and later professional lives.

6. Helps to build a strong sense of belief and self-confidence

Ride-on toys require a certain level of coordination to use – whether accelerating, braking, and steering with an electric ride-on, or balancing and pedaling with a bike – there’s a fair bit of learning and progression when it comes to operating and mastering ride-on toys. Doing so can leave kids with an immense sense of accomplishment and pride as they develop a level of skill and competence in their ride-on of choice. 

And it’s not just learning to use the toys that do this, it’s also how they play – as the more children are allowed to be independent, given the freedom to explore the world around them without an overbearing level of supervision from parents, the more independent and confident they become. 

Self-confidence and a belief in oneself are tremendously important for success in life – whether they’re just starting out in academia or as adults, as they enter the workforce – having belief and confidence in your own abilities is essential to success in whatever your little one decides to set their mind to.

7. Can help to develop and nurture social and emotional development

Through their very nature of being used primarily outside, ride-on toys can help with the social and emotional aspects of child development – as when they’re outside using their ride-on, they’re far more likely to be playing and interacting with other children. This is just like other outdoor toys, like dinosaurs sprinklers pads, dinosaur bubble blowers, and other backyard toys, which have a similar effect.

Empathy is a big part of social and emotional development and is something best learned from creative storytelling and role play, giving children the ability to see the world from other people’s perspectives. Toys like these are some of the best at promoting the sort of play that leads to creating empathy, letting your little one live out various roles and characters, giving them a better understanding of these, and an appreciation for the lives of others in the world around them.

And it’s not just role-playing that these toys are great for either – your little one can use this as an opportunity to share with other kids – a skill that’s pretty essential when dealing with other people, both as children and as adults in later life.

8. Can spark imagination and creativity, promoting storytelling and role play

As touched on in our last point, ride-on toys tend to be social – with groups of young children playing on their various styles of ride-on together – whether these are electric cars, construction vehicles, or even just a more traditional bike or scooter. This makes these toys some of the more social, offering plenty of opportunities to play out scenarios and role-play with other kids in the backyard, park, or indeed anywhere else that offers great outdoor play.

This interaction with others and the involvement of ride-on toys themselves can lead to all sorts of fun and engaging play, with creativity and storytelling being high on the agenda. They can role-play all sorts of scenarios that they might otherwise not be able to without the use of a ride-on. Say a game of cops and robbers, working on a construction site with a digger ride-on, or just a good old-fashioned race, as they live out their fantasy of being professional race car drivers. You might even want to go a step further, throwing in some costumes into the mix – what could be better than watching your little one drive around the yard in a dinosaur onesie or kids dinosaur costume?

Through exactly this sort of play, children make-believe, they start to develop their imagination and creativity. These skills will serve them well as they enter full-time education as well as later in life as adults, becoming employees, helping them to better succeed later in life by developing and sharpening their creative toolset.

9. Teaches your little one about rules and instructions, as well as how to follow them

There are plenty of activities that are great for teaching young children about rules and reinforcing the concept of them – however, there aren’t many that are as useful as playing with ride-on toys at teaching about the idea of rules. Understanding and following rules is an important skill – and one that is essential both in school and in later life, in the workplace.

Parents need to set ground rules for using ride-on toys, as they can be dangerous if they aren’t operated correctly and safely. These rules could be as simple as where they are allowed to play, how far they can go, how fast, and basic safety guidelines and instructions to ensure that they and their little friends are kept safe throughout.

That said, you don’t want to overdo it – as too many rules can suck all of the fun out of play – limiting the possibility for independent, creative play, which, after all, is what playing outside with ride-on toys is all about. So be sure to set rules in moderation, keeping to the most important ones that directly impact safety, and don’t implement too many.

10. Gets kids outside, away from the television, video games, and other gadgets

One of the biggest challenges parents face today is getting their little ones away from their screens, as they spend way too much time on their digital devices, playing games, and watching YouTube. This can become a major problem and can lead to real issues, like screen addiction in young children.

Gifting them an awesome electric ride-on toy can be arguably the best way to get them away to put their tablets down and head outside – as there’s not much more fun than driving their very own vehicle around the backyard. Few toys are going to be as effective at not just getting them outside but also keeping them there. 

You can also go one step further, turning outside ride-on play into a game – creating obstacle courses, simple racetracks, or creating role-plays and scenarios that help make play more engaging and imaginative.

11. Helps build their vocabulary with vehicle-related words

Perhaps one of the less obvious benefits that ride-on toys offer is to help develop language skills through social interaction and vocabulary.

There are plenty of vehicle-related words that your little one will likely encounter for the first time, thanks to their ride-on toy. Things like “break”, “steer”, “pedals”, and “reverse” are words that don’t get much use in everyday life, however with a ride on, they’re going to be some of the more common terms that your child will pick up as they play.  

As well as the vocabulary benefits, there are a few concepts that a ride-on toy can introduce your kid to, like speed and safety, as they’ll need to learn and exercise control over their vehicle, its speed, and safely navigate obstacles in the world around them.

Final thoughts

Well, there you have it – our round-up of some of the best benefits that ride-on toys have to offer for young children, from the physical to developmental, including some obvious ones and some not-so-obvious.

Whether it’s developing fine motor skills, coordination, spatial awareness, or just giving your little one an introduction to concepts like rules, creativity, and independence – ride-on toys really pack a punch. They offer plenty of childhood development benefits in a single purchase, with little to no effort, making them surprisingly good value for money despite their often expensive purchase price.

Besides the benefits – ride-on toys are frankly just cool, being some of the most impressive, awesome gifts a child will ever receive – and one that will definitely excite and grab the imagination of any little kid who receives one. This makes them one of the best gifts irrespective of all the great benefits they have to offer.

We hope you found this article useful, and that you now have a better understanding of some of the benefits that these types of toys can offer, making picking one up for your little one an investment that’s well worth considering.

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