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Radio Flyer Glide & Go Balance Bike Red Review

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Depending on your age, things just don’t get any more nostalgic than the Radio Flyer brand. The brand is an American classic and just about everyone is familiar with their iconic red toy wagon. With the company quickly approaching their 100th year of existence (it was started in 1918) I was delighted to get the opportunity to try out their Glide & Go balance bike. It has quite a reputation to live up to, so without any further ado let’s find out if it can live up to the name of this illustrious brand.

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Unboxing

The shipping weight of the Glide & Go is just under ten pounds, but the actual bike after assembly weighs a little less than seven pounds. This is a little heavier than balance bike such as the Rally from Vilano, but still very manageable for kids. The bike also has a weight capacity of about fifty pounds, which means it is suitable for kids between the ages of 2 ½ to about five years old.

The bike requires some assembly before your child can use it, but the instructions were crystal clear and I had no trouble at all assembling everything on my own. Just be sure not to over tighten the handle clamp as this might cause the bolt or nut threads to strip. I mention this because I have heard of a few people who applied too much pressure when tightening this clamp and ended up damaging the bike. The minimum insertion mark is clearly shown on the seat post which makes it easy to know how high it can be adjusted. It is also easy to adjust the seat on the fly which is great if you have kids of different ages sharing the bike. The only tools needed to assemble the bike is a wrench and maybe a screwdriver if you want to tighten the bell a little bit.

Features

Considering the price class of the Glide & Go it is not quite in the same league as a Strider when it comes to durability, but overall I’m impressed by what it has to offer. The big draw is obviously the way that this bike looks. It is not only eye catching, but also looks like the kind of bikes that big kids would ride which can be a confidence booster for smaller children.  The bike is also very low to the ground which makes it easy for kids to handle. The bike doesn’t have any footrests like on the Strider and some other balance bikes.

The bike has a steel frame, which from the looks of it, is quite sturdy. If you have a very active kid it is always a good idea to invest in something that can withstand a bit of abuse and the Glide & Go definitely fits the bill despite its lower price tag. Radio Flyer uses what they call a “grow-with-me” seat for the bike, which is just a nice way of saying that it is adjustable and your child won’t outgrow the bike as quickly. According to my daughter the seat is very comfortable and she was of course very impressed by the bell. The bell is just one of those extras that doesn’t really add anything to the bike, but it is something that kids will love. Just watch out as sometimes kids actually enjoy ringing the bell more than they do riding the bike!

The Glide & Go features curved handlebars, but doesn’t include any kind of padded protection which might be a concern for some parents. As with most of the balance bikes in this price range the Glide & Go opts for rubber tires instead of pneumatic ones. On the plus side there is no risk that you will ever have to deal with flat tires and the tire actually has a decent tread, so it has a bit more traction than your typical rubber tires.

Pros & Cons

Based on looks alone the Radio Flyer Glide & Go is a winner and the bell alone will be enough to win kids over. It’s priced very competitive and while this means that some components are not going to be as durable or reliable as more expensive balance bikes it is still a great entry level product. Check out the pros and cons below to see what I thought of the bike.

Radio Flyer Glide & Go Balance Bike Pros

  • Classic Radio Flyer look with a streamlined design
  • Easy to assemble
  • Quick release bolt makes the seat easy to adjust on the fly
  • Durable steel frame construction
  • Includes a bell
  • Decent tire tread
  • You never have to worry about flat tires
  • Lightweight enough for kids to handle with ease

Radio Flayer Glide & Go Balance Bike Cons

  • No padded protection for handlebars
  • No footrests
  • Bell can become a nuisance
  • The bike has rubber tires

Conclusion

Personally I am a fan of the Radio Flyer brand and their balance bike did not disappoint. With a company that has been in existence as long as Radio Flyer you can usually be sure that their products are worthwhile otherwise they would have been out of business long ago. As long as you are not expecting something on the same level as a Strider the Glide & Go will provide your children with many hours of happy bike riding.

Vilano Ripper Balance Bike Review

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Vilano is a manufacturer with a range of bikes, from fixed gear and road to hybrids and mountain bikes, so I was interested in seeing how their balance bikes stack up against the competition. The model that I checked out here is their “Ripper” balance bike which has a couple of difference from their “Rally model.” As far as looks are concerned the Ripper is definitely an attractive looking bike, but let’s see if it delivers in other departments as well.

Unboxing

The package for this bike is listed as just under ten lbs, so I was happy to discover that the bike itself only weighs in at little over seven lbs. This means that it is lightweight enough for little ones to handle themselves and there is less risk of them getting hurt if they do ever manage to fall with the bike on top of them. Some assembly is required to get the bike in running condition, but the instructions were clear enough that I was able to accomplish this in less than thirty minutes.

The bike comes with sticker sheet that has decals you can put on the bike and my daughter really enjoyed this. Anyone who has trouble assembling the bike will also be happy to hear that Vilano has a couple of videos to walk you through the process posted on their website. The bike they use in the videos are not this exact model, but it is close enough that most of the steps apply. The model that I got to test out was pink with yellow flowers which thrilled my daughter. Vilana also has blue and green models available that has black tires and seats as opposed to the white ones on the pink model.

Features

The most noticeable feature about this balance bike is the running board where children can place their feet while riding the bike. The inclusion of the running board actually gives the Ripper a kind of hybrid balance bike/scooter look which is quite eye catching.  My daughter had no trouble keeping her balance with her feet on the board while riding. Not all children like the running board design though which is something to keep in mind. Thankfully the foot rest has a low profile and it didn’t look like it got in the way at all. The foot rest is made from hard plastic though which means it can get slippery which is something to look out for. A big plus for the Ripper is the adjustable seat and handlebars.

At the rate that children grow the last thing you want to buy is a balance bike that will be too small for them to use in a couple of months. The seat can be extended up to just over 17.5” inches in height while the handlebars extend up to 21.5” inches which make it a good choice for fast growing children. The handlebars and frame of the Ripper is made from steel and as far as I can tell the construction is very durable.

The Ripper features a padded handlebar which is definitely a must for kids, especially active ones. When it comes to the tires, Vilano opted for the more practical molded plastic wheels with foam tires. The upside is that you won’t have to waste any time repairing flat tires, which is great if you have a child with a penchant for driving over sharp objects, but the downside is that it offers less cushioning and traction. As with all balance bikes using foam tires it is important to teach your child not to drive over surfaces where they are left absorbing all the impact.

Pros & Cons

The Vilana Ripper is a nice entry level balance bike that is easy on the wallet and sturdy enough that you won’t have to start looking for a replacement too soon. Check out below what we liked and disliked about this bike.

Vilano Ripper Balance Bike Pros

  • The running board on the Ripper allows children to balance easily and serves as a great footrest
  • The frame and handlebars feature a durable steel construction
  • Thanks to the adjustable seat and handlebars of the Ripper children won’t outgrow it as fast as non-adjustable balance bikes
  • The Ripper has foam tires which means you never have to worry about them getting flat
  • Padding on the handlebar safeguards children against injuries
  • The Ripper is priced very competitively
  • Its low weight makes it a safer balance bike and also easier to carry around by parents if the child becomes tired of riding

Vilano Ripper Balance Bike Cons

  • The foam tires has less cushioning and traction than rubber ones
  • The hard plastic foot rest can become slippery if it is wet.

Conclusion

When it comes to a first balance bike for children you ideally want something that is not too expensive (just in case they hate the whole concept and it is left gathering dust in the garage), but there is no point being something cheap and flimsy either. The colorful designs of the Ripper is sure to make it a hit with the little ones, but thanks to its sturdy metal frame it is not something that will require frequent replacing.

The adjustable seat and handlebars is also a definite plus for parents of fast growing children. When it comes to an affordable entry level balance bike you can’t go wrong with the Vilano Ripper.

ZÜM CX Wooden Balance Bike Review

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The ZUM CX, which is pronounced as “zoom” by the way, is an intriguing looking wooden balance bike. While I like the idea of wooden balance bikes I always have concerns about their durability and the fact that most kids want something that look like a “real” bike and not a toy. However, there is a lot to like about this bike, so without further ado let’s have a look.

Unboxing

The ZUM CX is a quite a lightweight bike and weighs in at little over seven pounds. Since I received mine in a completely unassembled state I was afraid that it would take me a while to put together, but surprisingly it only took me about fifteen minutes to get the job done. In fact, I could probably have finished in ten if it wasn’t for my little daughter insisting that she help with the task. Everything required to put the bike together, even the tools, are included in the box which is always nice. ZUM has step by step instructions with photos on their website, but honestly nobody should have trouble putting this one together.

Features

The frame of the ZUM CX is made from birch wood, which his quite sturdy and it is also an environmentally friend choice. You use steel fasteners to put everything together which ensures that the bike is sturdy, but as with most wooden balance bikes it is a good idea to tighten the screws every now and then just to be sure. The bike features a lacquer finish to give it a shinier look and thankfully the coating is nontoxic. The natural wood color is sadly not as colorful and eye catching as the sportier looking balance bikes that have steel frames.

My favorite feature of the ZUM CX is its reversible frame. Reversing the bike frame not only alters its appearance, but also makes it more manageable to ride depending on the size of your child. You can use the bike in its low rider mode to bring the saddle closer to the grown for smaller kids to ride it or use the other orientation to allow even bigger toddlers to have a comfortable ride. In addition, the seat can still be adjusted in either mode. At its lowest setting the seat is about 12 to 14 inches while reversed you can set it between 15 and 17 inches.

This means that the bike is an investment that won’t be left gathering dust because your child outgrew it too fast. If your children are different ages and you want to invest in one balance bike for them to share the ZUM CX might not be a good choice as reversing the frame all the time will quickly become a hassle.

The bike has a steering limiter which makes it a safer option because it is impossible for kids to wipe out due to their bike jack knifing. Older kids might find it a bit too restrictive however and controlling a bike without a steering limiter is a skill that they will have to learn sometimes in any case. Overall though this is a feature that will put safety conscience parents minds at ease. The bike also has rubber handgrips and a very comfy padded vinyl seat.

Another big plus point in my opinion is the pneumatic tires which gives the bike better handling and makes riding it a smoother experience for kids. You might have to repair a puncture or two every now and then, but the wheels are not going to wear out as quickly as foam or plastic ones. ZUM actually features a couple of videos on their website that shows the bike in action in off-road conditions where foam or plastic wheeled bikes would not have worked as efficiently.

Pros & Cons

The ZUM CX is a great balance bike, but it might be tough to convince kids to pick it over the usually flashier and colorful steel frame bikes. The fact that this bike, like most other wooden models, don’t look like “grown up” bikes might also be an issue for smaller kids that want to ride along with their older siblings. I can’t fault the quality and construction of the ZUM CX though, so have a look at the pros and cons of this bike below.

ZÜM CX Wooden Balance Bike Pros

  • This balance bike features an innovative reversible main frame.
  • It also has an environmentally friendly birch wood construction.
  • Limited steering radius to prevent jack knife accidents.
  • Rubber handgrips for extra safety.
  • Comfortable padded vinyl seat.
  • The lacquer finish of the bike is nontoxic.
  • Features more shock absorbent air-inflated rubber tires.
  • The seat can be adjusted in both frame positons.

ZÜM CX Wooden Balance Bike Cons

  • Screws require tightening every once in a while.
  • Wheels are not puncture proof.
  • Wood construction not as sturdy as steel.
  • No footrest.
  • Does not look like a “grown up” bike.

Conclusion

The ZUM CX is a very decent offering in the wooden balance bike category and is sturdy enough to withstand a lot of abuse. It doesn’t have the same kind of customization as something like the Kinderfeets bikes though and also doesn’t match the look of steel frame bikes. For kids that don’t mind riding something that doesn’t look like a “grown up” bike this is an affordable and durable option. Thanks to the reversible frame it is also something that your child will outgrow very quickly.

Balance Bike Saddle Height Guide

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More and more parents are discovering how balance bikes are safer and easier than tricycles or training wheels when it comes to teaching children how to ride a bicycle. The rise in the popularity of balance bikes has also seen more and more brands and models hitting the market. Unlike normal bicycles, as soon as a child is proficient at walking they are able to ride a balance bike.

Although balance bikes are easy to ride and a lot of fun for children, it is very important that the saddle height is adjusted properly. Improper saddle height not only makes it harder for the child to ride the balance bike, but will also have a negative impact on their enjoyment. Here are some handy advice for making sure that the saddle height of your child’s balance bike is optimal.

Determining The Proper Saddle Height

The proper saddle height for a balance bike will obviously depend on the height of the child who will be doing the riding. Ideally, both of the child’s feet should be flat on the ground when sitting on the bike saddle. For faster, and easier, movement the child’s legs should be bent at a slight angle when riding the bike. With the proper saddle height your child should first be able to walk with the bike, then run and eventually glide as they become more proficient and confident about their abilities.

For a more scientific approach, measure the inside leg length of your child. Then adjust the saddle height so that it is at least 3 centimeters (1.18 inches) less than that measurement. This will allow the child to get on and off the bike with ease and sit comfortably.

The Benefits of Adjustable Bike Saddles

While there are a few balance bikes on the market that doesn’t feature adjustable saddles it is better to opt for models that do as you have more benefits. Not only will you be able to adjust the saddle to a comfortable height for your child, but can continue to make adjustments as the child grows taller. As children grow up and gain confidence with their balance bike they might also prefer to go off-road riding with, which requires adjustments to the seat. In such a case the seat should be adjusted to allow more bend in the knees of the child for better control. Some balance bikes, such as the 12 Classic by Strider, even supports optional extra-long seat posts that can make the bike suitable for children up to 5 years old instead of the standard 18 month to 3 years range. This extends the longevity of the balance bike well beyond those like the Ybike which has no support for seat adjustments.

Performing The Adjustments

With most balance bikes adjusting the saddle height is an easy process that can be done without any prior knowledge. The procedure for making the adjustment will vary depending on the make and model of the balance bike. Wood balance bikes, such as the Diggin Active Skuut tend to be the most challenging to adjust as you need an allen wrench to remove the bolts holding the seat. The saddle can then be raised or lowered before reattaching it with the bolts.

With balance bikes such as the Schwinn or KaZAM Classic, you only need to loosen the bolt, slide the saddle post up or down and then then tighten the bolt again to make the adjustment, which is slightly easier. The balance bikes that are the easiest to adjust are ones like the Tykesbykes Charger, which features quick release seat posts that allow for near instant adjustments.

Safety Tips

Always make sure that the saddle is properly fastened after making any adjustments. Most saddle posts will include special markings that indicate the minimum or maximum height it can be adjusted. For safety reasons stick to these markings as disregarding them can compromise the safety of the balance bike. It is also a good idea to double-check that the saddle height is correct and the saddle is connected tight enough before each time your child uses the bike.

The Different Types of Balance Bike Tyres

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Balance bikes are the ideal solution for parents whose kids are eager to spend time outside, with their friends, learning to ride a bike, but are still afraid of the whole balancing business. This initial scare makes it all the more difficult for them to learn, and that’s exactly where balance bikes come into the game. In short, they allow your kid to master balancing without the fear of falling. Of course, now that you realize the full benefits of one, here is the caveat – you have to make sure you’re getting the right one. For now, we’ll limit the discussion to choosing the right tyres for your kid’s first bike (and make no mistake).

Balance Bike Sizes

First thing’s first – when it comes to tyres, it should be noted that most balance bikes make use of 12-inch tyres. Bigger ones – 14-inch and 16-inch variants, are intended for grade-schoolers, or tall pre-schoolers, who might have already outgrown these bikes. Sure enough, there are also smaller ones that measure 10 inches that are put on starter bikes. However, these are hardly worth their salt, as kids outgrow them all too quickly.

That’s the size covered, but let’s see the various types of tyres according to their material, and their respective benefits and drawbacks. Roughly speaking, there are five types: Air, Big Apple, Foam, Plastic, and Rubber. They’re not arranged in any particular order, apart from alphabetical, so you shouldn’t take this as an indication of preference.

If you’re looking to get the most cushion, that is, shock absorption, then go for air (or pneumatic) tyres. This type also gives great traction, and is a good all-rounder. As far as treads go, there are more than enough varieties out there on the market. For most kids, and most users for that matter, any kind of tread will do.

However, for more advanced riders, those that feel comfortable on all sorts of terrains, including rough ones, the knobby tread would be ideal. These tyres usually add about 3 to 4 pounds to the overall weight of the bike, depending on the manufacturer, tyre quality, as well as rim quality, but they more than make up for it with the comfort they provide. The one major downside is that they can go flat. To prevent this, you’d do well to use some sort of tyre sealant.

The interestingly named Big Apple tyres, also known as Fat Boy, due to their wide profile, are the type that gives you (or your kid, rather) that added measure of traction and shock absorption to enable them to do stunts. Well, the little stunts they can do at that age; however, this will go a long way to boosting their self-confidence, and allow them to excel, and even perhaps become professionals. They do cost a pretty penny, but rest assured they are well worth it.

EVA foam tyres are sort of a cheaper and lighter cousin of the air tyres. As a matter of fact, they are at least as common as their air-filled counterparts, and they hold an edge over them – EVA foam will never go flat. Not only will they not leak are, but they are also puncture-proof (seeing there’s no air to begin with, this is hardly a surprise).

On the flipside, they are somewhat lacking in the shock-absorption department, as they have very little give, so they are fairly less comfortable than air tyres. More importantly, however, foam tyres are prone to losing traction on smooth surfaces (think gym floors, grass and the like), though they do provide enough of it on paved surfaces. Also, the tread on these tyres wears off fairly quickly. They are cheap as dirt, though.

Plastic tyres are pretty much what you’d expect – the lightest and the hardest. There’s practically no give on them, so they are far from the golden standard that their air counterparts represent in terms of comfort. Moreover, there’s little to no traction on them, and the tread is all but meaningless. For this reason, they are fairly uncommon, and you’ll mostly find them on bikes that are intended for indoor use, only.

The final type of tyres – rubber, is somewhere between air and foam. Think of it as a step up from the EVA foam.  It’s still puncture-proof, but the cushioning and traction are both markedly better, thanks to the qualities of the material. There are two sub-types here, if you will – honeycomb and solid. Now, while honeycomb rubber tyres do feature sealed air pockets due to their design, their traction and cushioning are still a far cry from that of air tyres. The latter type – solid rubber tyres, are the best in terms of traction, at least when it comes to puncture-proof tyres, but they are lacking in cushioning.

Vilano 2 in 1 Balance Bike Kids Pedal Bicycle Review

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Although Vilano has a couple of pure balance bikes, like the Ripper, that impressed me due to their affordability and durability, this 2 in 1 product goes for a completely different approach. A major concern when buying balance bikes is always “will my child actually enjoy the bike” and “how long before my child outgrows the bike and wants something with pedals.”

Vilano believes that they have come up with the ideal solution by creating a balance bike that can easily be converted into a pedal bike when the child is ready to move up. It is an interesting idea for sure, but let’s have a look at how it works in practice.

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Unboxing

Since this 2 in 1 bike comes with a lot of extra components not normally found on a typical balance bike the box in which it ships has quite a hefty weight to it. Fully assembled to bike still weights more than ten pounds though which makes it one of the heavier ones on the market. However, it is a bit lighter without the pedals and training wheels which is how it will be used initially in any case. Although recommended for ages three and up, this bike has a maximum rider weight of 50 lbs and I think it would work fine for kids aged between two and six, depending on their size of course.

When it comes to assembly this bike is also a little trickier to put together than a straightforward balance bike. I recommend first fully assembling the whole bike with pedals and all to make sure that you got all the required components and that everything works correctly. You can then remove the pedals and other stuff to convert it back to a balance bike. It might be tempted to not bother with the pedals and other components until they are needed, but by then it will probably be too late to get a refund or replacement if you discover something is not working as intended.

Features

When it comes to features this bike wins hands down compared to the other balance bikes from Vilano and indeed a couple of other manufactures as well. It might be affordably priced, but they definitely didn’t’ skimp on the extras. The most important feature of course is the ability to convert the bike from a balance bike to a real bike by attaching the included pedals. This means that should your child decide that they are ready to move on to a pedal bike you don’t have to spend even more money purchasing one. This is quite a saving and also means that you’ll have a bit of cash left to buy other accessories such as a helmet without breaking the bank.

Like other Vilano bikes the seat and handlebars of this one can easily be adjusted. The bike is relatively bike, so there is less chance of kids outgrowing it too fast. One feature that puzzled me a bit is the inclusion of training wheels. Seeing as the purpose of a balance bike is to teach kids how to ride without the need for training wheels their inclusion seems a bit superfluous. I suppose it can be a confidence booster for very little children to keep the training wheels on when used as a balance bike, but overall I wouldn’t really bother with them. The bike also includes a brake, which is unnecessary on a balance bike, but very useful when they move on to a pedal bike.

My favorite feature on this bike however is the pneumatic tires. There just offer a more cushioned and comfortable ride for kids and won’t fall apart as easily as rubber tires after heavy use. In addition you also get better traction and it makes the transition to a pedal bike much easier. Of course, you will have to teach your child to avoid sharp objects or you will be spending a lot of time repairing punctured tires, but this is something they should know for when they start riding a petal bike in any case, so it is good preparation.

Converting the bike

Pros & Cons

Vilano did a great job with creating a bike that is both versatile and practical. Buying a balance bike and a pedal bike down the line can be costly, but somehow the manufacturer managed to combine both in one affordable package. Check out my list of pros and cons below to see what you can expect from this bike.

2 in 1 Balance Bike Kids Pedal Bicycle Pros

• Includes all components needed to convert it from balance bike to pedal bike.
• Adjustable handlebars and seat
• Tires are pneumatic
• Includes a hand brake
• More affordable than buying a balance bike and pedal bike
• Sturdy construction

2 in 1 Balance Bike Kids Pedal Bicycle Cons

• The bike is a bit heavier than standard balance bikes.
• The included training wheels are a bit unnecessary.
• Assembling the bike is more complicated than a standard balance bike.
• Pneumatic tires can be punctured and might require patching.
• Calibrating the hand brake during the initial setup is a bit tricky

Conclusion

This 2 in 1 balance bike is really useful for parents who don’t want to spend a ton of money on something that will be obsolete a few months down the line. Thanks to the ability to adjust the bike and turn it into a pedal bike it delivers outstanding value for money. Just bear in mind that this is still a budget priced bike and it is not going to be as durable as dedicated balance bikes that are many times its price.

Teaching Your Child How to Ride a Bike

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Balance bikes provide a safer and more intuitive way for children to learn how to ride, but not all children are able to master it at the same pace. Balance bikes operate on the principals of walking and running, two activities which comes natural to children and provides them with a great way to learn how to balance without the distraction of pedals. Since balance bikes don’t have chains or pedals it is also a safer way for children to learn as there are less parts on the bike that can harm them.

Step 1 – Bike Selection

The first step for teaching your child how to ride a bike is selecting one that is appropriate for them. When your child is sitting on their balance bike, they must be able to place both their feet flat on the ground while their knees are slightly bent. If this is not the case adjust the saddle of the bike accordingly and the handlebars as well if possible.

Patience is a virtue when it comes to teaching your child how to ride and it is important that you don’t try to rush them into anything. Let the child learn at his or her own pace and don’t force them to do anything that they are not comfortable with as this will have a negative impact on their confidence.

Remember, the point of riding a bike is to have fun and your child will not enjoy it if they are under any pressure from you. Some kids jump on the saddle and get the hang of things straight away while others first test the waters by walking their bike and pushing it along. If you push the child too hard they will only end up rebelling against it which will make it much harder to teach them. If your child is scared or intimidated by their balance bike it might be a good idea to show them some videos of other kids in action to get them excited about riding.

Step 2 – Location

It is also important to choose a proper area for your child to learn how to ride. Ideally their surroundings should be large and open, without any dangers or obstacles to distract them. If you are fortunate enough to have a large garden this is ideal, but parks or playgrounds are also good substitutes. Because balance bikes often have softer tires you can also let kids start out inside the house to build up their confidence, provided you have enough space available. Riding on grass or other soft surfaces isn’t always the best choice as kids will find it easier to learn how to ride on harder surfaces.

Step 3 – Safety

No matter where your kids ride, it is important to exercise the right safety precautions. Make sure that your child wear a helmet at all times when riding and that it is the proper size. The helmet should also be worn properly, with the forehead protected and the straps fastened securely. A sturdy pair of shoes is also a must as your child will be using their feet to start and stop. Don’t let them ride with bar feat or wearing sandals, especially if they gain confidence and start riding faster as this can cause injuries when they try to stop.

Initially your child will have to learn how to keep their balance when using the bike and although this process is much easier than when using a pedal bike it can still take a while. As your child becomes more secure in their abilities they will start to lift their feet off the ground for longer or even place them on the foot pegs if the model of balance bike they are using has this feature.

Keeping an eye on kids while they are learning to ride is important, but try to refrain from stabilizing the bike. It is a natural parental instinct to try and protect your child from harm, but if you are going to grab the balance bike every time it looks like it is going to lean over your child is never going to learn how to balance. After all, there is no point in providing a child with something that doesn’t have training wheels if you are just going to keep intervening.

Children who grow used to you stabilizing their bike every time it leans sidewise will struggle to learn how to balance on their own, so you will be doing more harm than good. You can help the child feel more secure by walking close to them or placing your hand on their shirt. If you must support them, do so from under their arms and not the saddle or handle bar to ensure that they still get a feel for the bike.

Step 4 – Support

Finally, when it comes to teaching your child it is very important to provide them with plenty of encouragement. Praise them when they accomplish something like gliding for a short distance or putting their feet on the foot pegs and comfort them if they struggle with something. If your child falls just remain calm and patient, so that they don’t get discouraged.

The more your child practice they better they will get at riding and you can even incorporate games in the process to make it more fun for them (and for you!) Challenge your child to drive between cones or to ride over marked spots to teach them to look where they are going instead of looking down at the bike. You can even use chalk lines to mark where the child has put down their feet between scoots and then challenge them to beat their previous records and thus encourage coasting.

Quick Video

Above all the process of teaching your child how to ride their bike should be fun and if you follow these guidelines they will master the skill in no time.

9 Childhood Toys You Should Have Kept for Your Kids

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As kids grow older and stop playing with certain toys it might be tempting to discard some stuff to free up space. You might even have childhood toys of your own ready to be discarded, but don’t be so hasty. Check out our list of toys that you might regret discarding when it comes to entertaining your children.

1. Board Games

Board GamesPerfect for rainy days and to get in some much needed family time, board games come in all shapes and sizes. Most board games are not only entertaining, but also a create way to stimulate skills such as memory, visual patterns and literacy in children.

Since board games are played in groups it also teaches your children valuable social skills and communication.  Games such as Candy Land are suitable for kids aged three and up and there are also all time classics such as Monopoly or Chutes and Ladders. Studies have also shown that the moving of board game pieces can improve the fine motor skills of kids.

2. Balance Bikes

Balance BikesEven with adjustable seats, kids can outgrow their balance bike or simply move on to a pedal bike. This means that the balance bike is often still in pretty good condition which makes it an asset worth keeping for the next child. With so many technological distractions inside the house it can be a challenge to get kids to play outside, but with a balance bike you can ensure that they have fun and stay fit.

The balance bike will also allow the younger child to ride together with older siblings who have pedal bikes without feeling left out.

3. Toy Blocks

Toy BlocksFrom simple building blocks to intricate Lego sets, these type of toys don’t require any batteries, only a healthy dose of imagination. Toy blocks are often thrown away after they are outgrown because they are a nuisance to pick up and pack away, but they are definitely toys worth holding on to. Toy blocks not only teaches your child valuable spatial skills as well as motor skills and hand-eye coordination, but also instills in them a capacity for creative thinking. Even an older child who have lost interest in their toy blocks might enjoy teaching and helping a younger sibling to play with them. This can teach both children to improve their social skills and cooperation.

4. Educational Toys

Educational ToysNo matter how high tech children’s toys become, there will always be a need for something sturdy that doesn’t require batteries to operate. Anything that can teach children valuable skills in areas such as math, science and music should definitely be held onto.

Children learn a lot while playing and with the right kind of toys you can ensure that you boos their creativity as well as thinking skills by using educational toys. Many educational toys are also made from wood and other sturdy materials which ensures that they remain durable and ready to pass on to the next child when the time is right.

5. Books

BooksEvery child enjoys a good story and books are a great way to stimulate their imagination and teach them about the world around them. Reading also exposures children to language which provide them with social advantages and expands their vocabulary. It might be tempting to toss away those books that you have read to your child many times before, but this can mean that subsequent children will miss out on a lot of great stories. Keep the old books, but mix them in with a few newer ones if you really need a bit more variety when it comes reading to your kids. Otherwise keep the older books aside for when the child is old enough to read independently.

6. Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw PuzzlesStudies have shown that jigsaw puzzles are a great way to help your children develop their cognitive skills which makes them a great toy to keep around. Of course jigsaw puzzles are also prone to pieces getting lost, so make sure that you teach your children to pack everything away securely to prevent this from happening.

Not only will jigsaw puzzles help young children with their problem solving skills, but it is also a great toy for boosting their motor skills as well as spatial skills. Finally, what could be a bigger self-esteem booster than completing a challenging jigsaw puzzle?

7. Fitness Toys

Fitness ToysAny toy that can get your kids off the couch and outside for some physical activity is a toy that is worth holding on to. This category includes everything from jump ropes to hula hoops and since these toys are usually compact enough to store out of the way there is no reason not to keep them around.

With childhood obesity on the rise there is more of a need than ever before to provide kids with some exercise and if this can be accomplished through playing you have a much better chance at them sticking to it. Hula hoops in particular is a great way for kids to exercise without them even realizing it as to them it will just be a game.

8. Stuffed Animals

Stuffed AnimalsStuffed animals are always a firm favorite with kids, but they usually have a couple that they adore while the rest languish on the shelf. Instead of throwing these away you can always hold on to them for your next child. Babies in particular love to touch soft stuffed toys while as the child grows older he or she will treat the toy more as a companion. Toddlers also often use stuffed animals as a way to show their emotions.

9. Musical Instrument Toys

Musical Instrument ToysIt might be tempting to throw out those musical instrument toys for the sake of your own peace and quiet, but you might end up regretting if you find out what benefits they can have for your child. Musical instrument toys are a great way for kids to develop their motor skills while they learn about rhythm.

Studies have also shown that it can help sharpen their listening skills and provide your child with a creative way to express themselves. It can also have social benefits for the child down the road as they are more likely to be involved with playing an instrument when they go to school.

What do you think? Is there any toys from your childhood you should have kept for your child?

6 Toys to Help Improve Child Fitness

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Although there is definitely not a shortage of children’s toys available on the market today, it can be a challenge to find something that will keep them active. It is easy enough to buy something that requires a bit more interaction than passively watching television, but if the toy is not fun and engaging chances are it will be left gathering dust somewhere in a closet. That is why we have scoured the web to find a couple of toys that will not only improve the fitness level of your child, but will allow them to have fun while playing with it.

1. Bilibo


Bilibo
For an open-ended play experience that stimulates childrens imagination just as much as their muscles, the Bilibo is a good choice. Since it is made from high-density polyethylene this shell shaped toy is virtually indestructible and can be used indoors or outdoors. Instead of imposing any type of play pattern on children, the Bilibo enables them to use their own creativity to come up with new uses for it.

From rocking, standing or sitting in it to spinning around in it, you can be sure your child will come up with activities using this toy that you might not even have thought of. This is definitely a toy that will improve the fitness of your child, but only if they are imaginative otherwise they might end up using it only as a chair!

2. Consoles

ConsolesGetting kids a console to help them stay active might sound like a contradiction, but thanks to motion sensing input devices such as the Kinect for Xbox and Move for Playstation, kids can exercise more than just their fingers. Dancing or controlling the movement of characters through their own body movements will ensure that kids remain active and provides good exercise on rainy days when they are confined indoors.

You don’t need to buy the latest and most expensive consoles either as a PS3, Xbox 360 or even Nintendo Wii with a balance board will get the job done. Many of the games based around motion sensing input are suitable for all ages, so you can also join in on the fun with the kids.

3. Balance Bikes

Balance BikeRiding a bike is a great way to stay active, but what about kids who are too small to work the pedals or intimidated by the design? The answer is balance bikes, which teaches children how to steer and balance while also boosting their confidence. Since these bikes don’t have any drivetrain or pedals they are very easy to operate and kids are able to master using them much quicker than a proper bicycle.

Since children use their own feet to propel themselves forward it is also a great form of exercise. In addition, it is an effective way for them to learn how to ride without having to rely on training wheels.

4. Naturally Playful Big Folding Slide


Naturally Playful Big Folding Slide
Kids love to slide, but if you don’t have the time to take them to a play area regularly this folding slide is a great solution. The slide requires misnimal assembly and thanks to its double wall polyethylene construction it is not going to fall apart after a bit of use. The slide features high side rails as well as handles that are easy to grip which makes it easy for kids to climb to the top.

The size of this slide makes it ideal for kids in the two to five year old age group and since it can be folded up and stored securely you won’t have to sacrifice a permanent spot in your backyard to it either.

5. Little Tikes Adjust ‘N Jam Basketball Set

Little Tikes Adjust 'N Jam Basketball SetTo get your kids working up a sweat while also improving their hand eye coordination, this basketball set is a great choice. It features five height adjustments which makes it suitable for kids from three to ten years old. It also includes a kid-sized ball which make it easier to score and thanks to the weather resistant design you can keep it outdoors.

This set can even be used indoors if you have enough space. This is also a toy that encourages kids to play together making it perfect for siblings.

 

6. Rebound Indoor/Outdoor Foam Bungee Jumper with Slip-Resistant Bottom

Rebound Indoor/Outdoor Foam Bungee Jumper with Slip-Resistant BottomPogo sticks can be a lot of fun and provide a nice workout, but they are not exactly the safest toys. The solution is this rebound foam bungee jumper which features a safe and slip-resistant design.

Because the jumper has stretchy tubing and a soft handle it is very safe and provides kids with the same thrill as jumping with a real pogo stick. It is also able to support up to 250 pounds which makes it a great toy for kids’ ages four and up.

Vilano Rally Balance Bike Training No Pedal Push Bicycle Review

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Having already checked out the Ripper model from the same manufacturer, I knew that Vilano is able to make affordable and durable balance bikes. There are a couple of minor difference between the Rally model and the Ripper, so let’s take a look at what it has to offer.

Unboxing

It could just be that I already had experience assembling the Ripper model, but I found the Rally balance bike an absolute breeze to put together. There are some instructions included with the box which might be useful if you have never assembled a balance bike, but everything is relatively straightforward and easy to figure out. Of course, the Vilana website has a couple of videos with step by step instructions to put the bike together, so honestly there should be no reason to struggle with assembling it. Compared to what a struggle it is to attach chains, pedals or training wheels on regular bikes, the Rally balance bike can be assembled in a manner of minutes.

Like the Ripper, the Rally is incredible lightweight and weighs in at a minuscule 5.5 lbs. Parents who have never owned balance bikes before might not know this, but you will probably spend as much time carrying the bike around as your child does riding it, so a lighter weight is definitely a bonus. It is also a safer option as the bike won’t cause any further injuries if a child falls with it. Thanks to its compact size it is also an easy fit for the trunk of a car which is great for parents who have to drive to parks or play areas.

Features

When it comes to features the Rally balance bike has pretty much everything that the Ripper has apart from the slightly different frame. The Rally balance bike does not have the footrest incorporated into its frame like the Ripper does, so if your child enjoys to coast along with their feet on the footrest then this bike won’t be the best option. However, not all children want a balance bike that looks like a bike/scooter hybrid, so the absence of the footrest actually make the Ripper look more like a “proper” bike. Kudos to Vilano for making the handlebars and seat on the Rally balance bike adjustable as many of the cheaper bikes omit this feature.

You can buy the Rally balance bike secure in the knowledge that as your child grows you can adjust the seat and handlebars in order to squeeze a bit more use out of the bike. Because the frame is made from steel it will also last long enough for you to do this. By the time that your child has outgrown this balance bike he or she will more than likely be ready for a pedal bike in any case.

Like the Ripper, the Rally includes padding for the handlebar which is a nice safety feature. Sadly it also includes the molded plastic wheels and foam tires, which can either be a blessing or a curse depending on how your child rides and the area where they do the riding. Since the foam tires provide less traction you will have to keep a close eye on the child if they are riding on wet surfaces and also teach them not to go too fast over bumps or curbs.

If your child likes to take their balance bike “off-road” you will appreciate the fact that you don’t have to keep a puncture repair kit on hand at all times. In the end it is going to come down to personal preferences, but considering the price class of the Rally balance bike I think it would be unfair to expect better tires.

Pros & Cons

Like the Vilano Ripper, the Rally balance bike is a great entry level product that children won’t break easily or outgrow quickly. While it didn’t blow me away in any particular category it offered solid, all-round decent performance. The vivid color schemes available for the bike will be a big hit with kids while the wallet friendly price is a big plus. For a breakdown of what was great and what was lacking about the Rally balance bike check the list below.

Rally Balance Bike Pros

  • The steel construction of the handlebars and frame ensures that the bike can withstand regular use without falling apart.
  • Both the handlebars can be adjusted to prevent your child from outgrowing this balance bike too quickly.
  • The foam tires never requires inflating or puncture repairs.
  • The padded handlebars provides extra safety for the child.
  • The bike is available at a wallet friendly price.
  • Thanks to the lightweight design the bike is safer for small children and easy to carry by adults.
  • Its compact frame means it can easily be transported in the trunk of a car.
  • This balance bike is easy to assemble.

Rally Balance Bike Cons

  • Has the standard foam tire issues such as less traction and inferior cushioning.
  • The frame is easy to scratch

Conclusion

When deciding whether to buy this Rally balance bike or the Ripper it is really going to come down to how much your child will appreciate the footrest. Children who love to glide down hills with their feet on the footrest will love the Ripper. Children who want a more traditional looking balance bike will probably appreciate the Rally more. It doesn’t matter which one you choose though as you will be getting value for your money.