Balance Bikes Vs Trike For a 2 or 3 Year Old?

If you’re undecided between a balance bike or a trike there is lots of information and this article that will help you make a decision.

Firstly the best thing for you and your child will depend on what you want for your child as well as their age and abilities. There are lots of different types of trike and balance bike so it is important to make sure you get the specific trike or bike that is most suited to your child and your budget. Balance bikes and trikes both offer different skills for your child which is discussed below too.

Balance Bikes – The Skills Your Child Will Learn

Balance bikes do what they say on the tin and are great at teaching kids how to balance. Kids who have learned to use a balance bike, tend to learn to ride a pedal bike in a shorter period of time than those who haven’t used a balance bike.

Trikes – The Skills Your Child Will Learn

Trikes can teach your child many skills. Perhaps the most important of these is they should encourage your child to learn how to pedal. My son was super fast on his balance bike but when we chose to move him from a balance bike to a pedal bike at aged 4, he really struggled with the pedalling aspect. He wasn’t able to do it at all and I think this is an aspect that is overlooked by kids who just use a balance bike and not a trike or other ride on that will teach them to pedal. My son was so used to letting his feet move the wheels on the bike he has really struggled with the concept of pedalling when we have tried to move him onto a pedal bike.

Both a trike and a bike help teach co-ordination, develop gross motor skills and build confidence. They are great tools for building physical health and strength too.

The age of your child and the type of trike

There are lots of trikes around nowadays. If you’re buying for a 2 year old you or younger child you can buy trikes with parent handles that you can use to push your child around in before they are able to pedal.

Many of these types of trikes are adjustable. So you can start of with a trike with a parent handle which can be removed so the child can pedal a trike independently when they are ready.

If you’re buying a trike for an older child (aged 3), you will probably want an independant trike without a parent handle. This will be great for teaching the child how to pedal. However, if they are like my son and find it hard to pedal or they are later learning how to pedal it might be something they are reluctant to use very much.


What Do You Want It For?

If you want a ride on for kids to use in the garden or outside the house I would go with a trike. Kids don’t tend to go very far on their trikes once they start pedalling on their own. They are also cumbersome to put in the car and take to the park.

If you want something that will make your little one more independant. Or something that will get him or her from a to b quickly and easily (perhaps on the school run, to or from the local shop or to the park) consider a balance bike. They will eventually learn to travel quickly and it will give them a bit of independence. Balance bike also tend to be easier to put in the car and take to the park or other open space.

Also, bear in mind you may probably have to do a little bit of chasing your child on a balance bike as they do pick up speed sometimes wherea you probably won’t have to do that with a trike.

What I Would Do

If you are buying for a young child (age 2 and under) I would definitely consider a trike as you can use a parent handle on it at first and there are lots of opportunity for them to learn how to pedal. There would be a lots of growing room in the trike and it would help them to learn how to pedal

Having said this, my son had a balance bike for his second birthday. It took him a couple of months to use it properly but it wasn’the long until he was whizzing around on it. It was a great help from getting from a to be quickly when taking my son to school and he used to love whizzing around on the park on it. Therefore even though he has struggled to learn how to pedal I would still make the same decision again and get him a balance bike.

If you are buying for an older child age 3, I would also recommend a balance bike. They should be able to master it pretty quickly and most balance bike are aimed for kids aged 3 plus. If I wanted something just to use in the back garden or outside the home or I was desperate to teach them how to pedal, I would go with a trike.