Benefits of Balance Bikes for Toddlers: Fun & Education in One
Have you noticed a two-wheeled trend in your neighbourhood that is not a typical pedal bike? Balance bikes have taken over sidewalks everywhere and are a beneficial development fit for toddlers, making them must-have kids play toys. This fun and intuitive two-wheeled ride is a great tool to prepare your child for their big-kid-bike-riding.
What Is a Balance Bike?
Just like hula hoops, jump rope and flying kites are great for kids, balance bikes also benefit kids in many ways. They contain the basic frame of a 2-wheeler bike as well as two wheels, a seat, and handlebars for steering but miss the pedal. This design allows children to focus on momentum and balance to propel the bike forward rather than pedalling. For kids, balance is generally the hardest part of learning to ride a bike. So, if your little one is interested in learning how to ride a bike, a balance bike can be a helpful developmental tool to consider. Here are the benefits your child will enjoy with these toys.
Fun Way to Exercise
If there is one thing parents know is that kids want play toys that allow them to move. Whether your children love to run, crawl, jump, or scoot, kids seem to find endless ways to move throughout the day. Balance bikes are a fun way to fulfil that need. Making exercise fun will create healthy habits that will last.
Improved Gross Motor Skills
One of the main benefits of a balance bike is its ability to help children develop gross motor skills. As they find out how to balance, maneuver and glide on the bike, their brains are developing pathways to use these skills again. Experiences that develop and improve these motor skills are essential for little ones. After all, practice makes perfect.
No matter how old you are, learning a new skill is always a confidence booster. This is no different for little ones. Balance bikes teach children balance and other gross motor and spatial skills. As your child masters how to balance and glide on a two-wheel vehicle, they gain confidence over time as they learn. This is especially true with you by their side cheering them on.
Versatile as Your Child Grows
Balance bike frames are light and easy for little ones to operate as well as sturdy so kids age 2 to 5 can move around with ease. The adjustable comfort seat adapts to your child’s height, so they feel comfortable riding around. These features make the balance bike the perfect fit for them for years of exciting play.
Easier Transitions to Pedal Bike
Motion and balance are two essential skills to master in learning to ride a pedal bike. Balance bikes introduce these concepts to kids, providing a safe foundation for learning to ride a pedal bike. By using their feet to propel themselves forward, they get used to the feeling of creating motion and momentum. As they practice moving faster, your kids will feel more and more comfortable picking their feet up and balancing. Once they master combining these two skills, they will feel unstoppable.
How to Choose a Balance Bike?
When shopping for a balance bike, size should be your number one consideration. You know you have the right bike size for your child when standing over the bike, your child is able to put both their feet flat on the ground and have at least 2 to 3 cm clearance above the seat. If buying online, you can measure this by using your child’s inseam measurement – the distance from their crotch to the floor.
Weight is the second thing to consider. As a rule of thumb, a balance bike shouldn’t weigh more than 30% of your child’s weight. Your child may have trouble moving and turning the bike around if it’s too heavy. Plus, keep in mind that when your toddler decides they don’t feel like riding, you will be the one carrying the bike. With that said, a lighter balance bike could be a better choice.
The most common materials balance bikes are made from are wood, metal and composite. Each material has its pros and cons.
Balance bikes made from wood are light, come in a range of cool styles and tend to be more eco-friendly. However, wooden bikes are not as adjustable as metal or composite ones.
Generally made from aluminium or steel, metal balance bikes often come with adjustable seats that can be adjusted as your child grows. Steel bikes are heavier and durable while aluminium bikes are lighter but also less durable. If kept outdoors, both can rust.
These bikes are generally made of heavy-duty composite plastic. Composite bikes are extremely durable, which means they won’t crack or rust. Although they can be more expensive, they could also be a wise investment if you plan to pass the bike down through generations.