The Good Toy Guide, which aims to provide manufacturers, retailers and parents with an in-depth insight into specific toys, throws a spotlight on wheeled toys this month.
Dr Amanda Gummer from The Good Toy Guide takes a look at what kids want from bikes and scooters as they grow up, and what manufacturers should be mindful of...
Wheels are great fun for all ages.
From sitting on something and being pushed, to performing impressive stunts and showing stamina and skill on skateboards and bikes, children seem to love wheeled things. And parents can feel great about the kids getting some exercise and developing new skills.
So how do wheeled goods appeal to different age groups? For very young children up to two years old, sit ‘n’ rides are popular. Many of these products double up as walkers that can support a child as he or she takes their first tentative steps.
Scooters and first bikes are great ways of helping toddlers and pre-school children aged three to five learn to balance. They can make it easy for the family to go out together as the youngsters soon learn how to go fast on these, and can easily keep up with those longer legged members of the family. Licensed wheeled goods are popular, especially as a lot of the pre-school licences involve a wheeled character or vehicle.
LEARNING TO RIDE
As kids reach the five to eight year old age group, this is the prime time for them to learn to ride a bike, but they also have sufficient balance and core stability to master roller skates and tricks on scooters. Children tend to learn to ride a bike more easily if they’ve already mastered the art of balance, hence the value of the balance bikes and scooters for younger children.
Eight plus is the age from which children can really start to master impressive tricks on wheels. The quality of the product becomes increasingly important and children are well-informed about the features they want.
As children reach the teenage years, the wheeled products (bikes, skates and skateboards, etc) are not seen as toys, but become more a piece of equipment for their hobby. Personalising and adapting these wheeled goods helps children express themselves and enhance their growing sense of identity.
So what does this all mean for the toy manufacturers? Sit and rides that double as walkers need to be sturdy enough to sit on, balanced enough not to tip easily, and light enough not to squash a young child if it falls on top of them. Extra play value is provided by including blocks or a cubby hole for the children to fill and empty.
Licensed products are popular for pre-schoolers, but don’t compromise on quality just to get a licensed product within budget. Children at this age give toys a rough ride, so cheap and flimsy products won’t last.
Products for older children will be appealing if they can be personalised. And design features can make a big difference in the appeal of product to this age group.
TOP PICKS: WHEELED TOYS
The Good Toy Guide evaluates a wide range of toys across a variety of categories. Here’s a selection of wheeled toys The Good Toy Guide is reviewing, plus an example review below:
- Zebra ride-on from Great Gizmos
- Discovery Wagon from Haba
- Skoot from Worlds Apart
- Smoby Red GM tractor with trailer
- Tidlo First Bike
- Razor Black Label Pro model scooter
- Strider Pre bike
- Moover baby walker
- Moover dolls pram
- Plum Products balance bike
Is your teddy the one?
Could your brand’s teddy bear become the new face of The Good Toy Guide? Teddy bears interested in this high-profile role should contact The Good Toy Guide for details of the application process (see details at the bottom of this article).
The deadline for applications is November 23rd at 5pm. The competition is hotting up, so applicants should make the most of this exciting opportunity.
Contact The Good Toy Guide
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