Favorite Toys Tuesday is ready to embace Spring and have our annual chat about bikes!  Our therapists are already fielding questions and we want to share all we know with you.  Part one reviews the types of riding toys and bikes from infants through tricycles.  Photos will rotate through this post.
1) Infant/toddler riding toys: typically shaped like a vehicle or an animal, and provide maximum stability. All they have to do is learn to hold on and push his or her feet. As well, they learn how to climb off and on from something that moves very little.
2) 4 wheeled riding toys with stable wheels and turning handle: these are fundamental in teaching your child how to balance their trunk and move their legs simultaneously. The defining feature is that the wheels can only move forward and reverse but the handle can turn for some navigation. These can be introduced as soon as the child can sit and balance safely without your assistance (and typically get too tall for your version of toy #1).
3) 4 wheeled-riding toys with swivel wheels and stable handhold: these are a bigger challenge than #1 because the wheels are smaller and each on swivels 360 degrees. There is typically a stable hand hold to allow for better development of the balance reactions as it take more control to get on, off, and propel, because it can go all in all directions.
4) Tricycles: identified by 3 wheels, a turning handle, and actual pedals. Many options have a push handle for the parent to help the child learn to coordinate it all. Kids learn to propel forward using pedals, with a very low balance challenge.
Please note we do not recommend one brand over others-because there are just so many! You can enjoy the one your child will ride the most-because frequent practice is the most important to successful learning. Come back next week to learn about the rest!