Strider Balance Bike – One of our favorite toys!

August 8, 2022, Tiffany Newman

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I can tell you my kids have too many toys. It feels overwhelming sometimes, especially because our house is not large, so their toys end up in the living room and all over the place. My kids do not necessarily have a favorite toy they go to while playing inside. However, my oldest LOVES his Strider Balance Bike. Now, if you do not know what a balance bike is, it is just like a small bike, but without the peddles or chains. Kids ride it by just pushing on the ground and using their feet. We got this bike for my son’s first birthday (yes, a little young, but we figured he would grow into it). We let him try it when he first got it, but he was very wobbly and really didn’t want much to do with it. So, we put it away in the garage for a while until he was around 19 months old, and then we decided to give it another try. We pulled it out, and at first, he was a little nervous about it. He would get on it and not sit on the seat but try and just move his legs with the bar between his legs. My husband brought out his bike and decided to show him how to use it. They both walked the bike between their legs around and around this island that we have in our cul-de-sac. He got more confident as he continued watching his dad use his bike.Carson and his Dad on their bikes together

Carson liked the bike but was also very timid with it and would only want to use it occasionally when we asked. We would bring it out and allow him to try it occasionally. As we continued having him get used to it, he became confident and started actually using the seat. His balance got much better, and he started going slightly faster as well as gaining speed. You could see it on his face the happiness and fun he was having now that he was gaining that confidence. It was so much fun to see.

Fast forward a few more months, and he is close to two years old. He is now very confident on the bike, riding it down hills and around in circles. It is beginning to be something that he enjoys doing more frequently. Now that he is enjoying it more and going further distances around our street, we are teaching him about the “rules” of riding your bike along the streets. We are learning to stop and wait, look both ways before crossing the street, not riding in the street, and ALWAYS wearing a helmet when on the bike.

Carson riding his bike on a forest pathNow, Carson is two years and nine months old and absolutely LOVES his balance bike. He has gained so much confidence with it and now wants to ride every day.   When we pick him up from daycare and get home, the first thing he asks for is to go for a bike ride. I never realized how wonderful that bike would be when we got it for him. Even though it did take him a little while to get comfortable riding it, he is now gliding, balancing, and breaking with his feet (his shoes are very torn) like a pro. We go on walks as a family almost every day so that he can ride his bike. Now that he is getting faster with it, we do races down the street, too, which gives my husband and me much needed exercise.

Carson and his Dad on their bikes togetherEven though he loves riding his bike, like many toddlers, he gets distracted easily, and his focus shifts to wanting to walk or ride in the stroller instead. This usually happens around the halfway mark of our walk, so we have to figure out ways to motivate him enough to make it home. Sometimes, when he does not want to ride his bike, he sets it down on the ground and leaves it. We try to get him to pick it up and continue riding or at least bring it to us. Sometimes it works, and sometimes he just looks at it and walks away. It’s a very interesting thing to try and teach him that if he does that, someone may take it, or he just won’t have a bike any more if he leaves it. We have not figured out the best way to teach him that besides just leaving it there, and really, I don’t necessarily want to do that to teach him a lesson because it could get taken. We have tried explaining the repercussions, tried motivating him to ride it by racing him or trying to just make him get back on it (this one never works). It’s a fun game. We must see how long it takes for Carson to just drop his bike and walk away.

Carson rides his bike in the streetEven though he is learning not to leave his bike places, his bike is such a good tool/toy for him. It has taught him to balance, confidence, and the rules of playing in areas where there are cars or other people. Because his balance and skills on this little Strider Bike are so good, we are considering upgrading to a bicycle with training wheels for his 3rd birthday. We think that once he learns to use the peddles well, he will most likely only need the training wheels for a short period, and then he will be off.  We are excited to see him on an actual bicycle and do something new as a family. We also hope that once Caleb is old enough to start riding that balance bike, he will have just as much fun and LOVE it as Carson does now.