Kids love crazy toys—there was a creepy talking doll that I could not wait to “lose”—but some of the best (and least annoying to parents) toys out there are good, old fashioned toys that roll. Here are some of the best toys (ordered by age appropriateness) with wheels that I’ve bought in my kid’s nearly 3 years on the planet.
This toy has all of the key features: it’s cute, it makes a racket, it rolls, and it has shiny stuff in it. We tied some grosgrain ribbon around it and made it into a pull toy. The Elephant, tiger and hippo versions are the cutest, IMHO.
Hape’s walking toys are sturdy, wooden, very good looking. We got several and also gave some as gifts. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the weight (kids may accidentally hit themselves with it and get hurt) and also when it drops onto wood or marble floors, it could damage them. But a cool, very good looking pull toy!
These cars were so cool! They’re made from the plastic of recycled milk jugs, and are durable enough to put in the dishwasher. We’ve rolled these down the slide, covered them in chalk, chucked them into a kiddy pool, and they are still perfect. Pro-tip, get two so your toddler and their friends don’t fight over them.
This IKEA wagon was very sturdy, and you can switch the handle position to either be out front to assist with early walkers, or set back so they can zoom around with it. We never used the first option, but to this day, my almost 3-year old loves loading it up with stuffed animals and pushing it around. It has survived several pushes down a flight of stairs and has not shown any wear and tear. The neutral green color is really nice too.
This is the G.O.A.T. truck. It is so sturdy, we accidentally left it outside for the entirety of one winter, and it still looks brand new. My kid loves to fill it with sticks, leaves, acorns, snow, whatever. Do not roll your kid in this, because they will fall out and get hurt (trust me on this). It’d be an awesome gift for a one-year-old or even an older toddler.
When my kid was about one, I bought her this foldable scooty tricycle thing, and she loved it! She still uses it today, but I think it’s a bit small, and needs to get swapped out with a proper starter bike. We used this one for outside because it was very easy to carry (it folds! It is super light!) to the park.
We got a wooden indoor bike like this one and my kid spent hours zipping around our not-very-big apartment. She and her friends still fight over who gets to play with this bike when they come over. It’s very well made, and it’s nice to have a separate one for inside, so the filth of NYC doesn’t get all over our floors!
This wagon was super fun, but not very well made; the shovel snapped off and would not go back on, though I wound up just tying some cotton rope to make it a pull toy. We still enjoy it for pulling sticks and toys around, and had a blast with it in the snow. We bought it at CVS for like $10, so this Amazon price seems really silly, but it comes in other options (Ninja Turtles, Frozen, etc.).
For pretend play and adding whimsy to a walk around the block, I’d also recommend a doll stroller like this one. Every one of my kid’s friends, girl or boy has one of these. You’ll likely go through 2 because kids like to try to sit in them and then the thing breaks (usually the fabric tears, which can easily be repaired). We see kids in our neighborhood pushing around dolls, stuffed animals, trucks, lunch. This with a nice stuffed animal would make a very sweet birthday gift for a 1 or 2 year old!
This is the greatest wheeled toy ever, hands down! I always see kids just zipping around our neighborhood on these and I got one for my child when she was about 15 months. At first she’d just make me pull her around on it (I tied a yoga strap to it to make it easier to pull, though Micro sells a strap for this purpose) and when she was a bit over 2, she really got into it.
These days, she uses it to scoot to school, and because the handle can be disassembled, we threw it into a big bag and took it to Hawaii with us so she could scoot while we jogged. The “lean to steer” mechanism is genius, and having looked at a lot of the other scooters at the playground, this one is easily the best. Make sure your kid wears a helmet though! We picked up this cool Minnie Mouse one, and then the refusals to wear a helmet suddenly stopped.
These pocket sized trucks are perfect for keeping in a purse or car for those times when you need a small toy to entertain your kid. They are super durable. We’ve used them at the airport, office, doctor’s office waiting room, and even at the beach.
We also have a tricycle like this one, but it is so heavy that I rarely get it out. It is very well made though and probably has years of life beyond my kid’s use of it.