Outdoor activities are one of the best ways to help your kids develop, not just their physical skills, but also their social and mental skills. We want something that gives them independence while also testing their abilities safely. And a specific object that comes to our mind is the scooter.
Why the humble scooter? For starters, it can help your child learn how to balance himself/herself and control the scooter with his/her body. This helps in developing physically, and also emotionally and mentally, as he/she becomes more confident with himself.
Riding the scooter also helps kids to understand the importance of rules around them, while also protecting themselves and their surroundings using their own strength and coordination. And as a bonus, they get to have fun while doing so.
How to Use Scooters
Kids can use their scooters either recreationally or for practicing tricks. If you’re looking for the best scooter for a 4-year-old, chances are you’re just introducing your child to scooting. Therefore, you want something that is easy to use, whether it’s a kick scooter or an electric scooter. You can read more below on how to choose scooters based on your child’s age.
On the other hand, your child might later become interested in pro scooting where he/she practices tricks. Of course, he/she will need the appropriate trick scooter to do this safely, and it should be able to accommodate his/her weight and height.
Regardless, whether your child is starting or improving his/her scooter skills, safety is a priority. Always remember to use helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads before letting your child use the scooter. If he/she is just starting out, always choose a safe space with smooth surfaces, and never leave him/her unsupervised.
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Types of Scooters
A kick scooter is probably what comes to mind when you imagine a typical kid scooter. From the name itself, the child will be the one who’s “kicking” the scooter to move it. The child keeps one leg on the deck and then uses the other one to push or kick the scooter for it to go further.
The advantage with a kick scooter is that it’s affordable and compact to carry around since it’s basic. And if you’re just introducing your child to scooters, a kick scooter will teach him/her on how to balance and control the model with his/her body.
The type where your child can perform tricks with is also a trick scooter. Overall, we recommend starting with a kick scooter for your child to learn the necessary skills.
With the advancement of technology, you can assume that the invention of an electric scooter is certain. Electric scooters are advantageous in such a way that your child will not be exerting as much effort as he/she would in a kick scooter.
The child doesn’t have to push the scooter using his/her leg because an electric motor will move the model. This is also one of the reasons why some kids prefer electric scooters as their mode of transportation.
However, electric scooters will cost more compared to kick scooters. At the same time, they run on a rechargeable battery, so your child will need to remember charging it before using it so that it wouldn’t drain when he/she is using it.
And since it involves less physical intervention, your child needs to be able to balance first before trying out an electric scooter. Otherwise, it is easy to operate, at the expense of it being heavier to store and carry around due to the additional components like the motor.
Besides differentiating scooters into how you can operate them, you will also notice scooters that differ in their design. In particular, manufacturers created scooters with various wheel configurations.
Traditionally, we’re used to seeing scooters with just two wheels. It’s as simple as having one at the front and one at the back. And because of this design, they hold better weight, while also being faster, so they’re usually what kids use to do tricks. They are also best for older children who are already used to scooting.
While two-wheel scooters are more traditional, you should introduce your child first at a three-wheel scooter. And when he/she gets the hang of scooting, then you can buy a two-wheel scooter. As you can see in this guide for finding the best scooter for a 5-year-old, we have included three-wheel scooters along with the typical two-wheel models as recommendations.
This is because the configuration of having two wheels at the front and one at the back (or vice versa) makes it easier to balance since the unit will be more stable on its own. For starters or much younger kids, we recommend starting them with three-wheel scooters.
For older kids that are doing well in a two-wheel scooter, you can get them pro-scooters to practice more tricks and moves. Compared to your usual two-wheel unit, a pro-scooter has a wider handle for better grip. They are also built for jumps, flips, and other tricks safely and easily because of the lightweight construction.
Off-road models are not only limited to bikes. Nowadays, you can also find off-road scooters in the market. This type of scooter can handle tough terrains because it has large wheels and tires.
You also don’t have to worry about the frame giving out because it is solid and sturdy. If you have older kids that will be using his/her scooter on rough roads, you should opt to get an off-road scooter for guaranteed durability against abuse.
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What’s the Appropriate Scooter for Your Child’s Age
To give you more information on how to choose the appropriate scooter based on your child’s age, check the bullets below:
For Ages 2 to 5 Years Old
For toddlers, you are still just introducing them on how to use a scooter safely, efficiently, and properly. Therefore, you’ll find features that you need in scooters for this age range that are not necessary for kids ages six years and older.
At ages two to five, your child is still getting a grasp of his/her hand-eye coordination and motor skills. They are also still developing physically, so make sure you’re getting a scooter that is easy to use.
Our recommendation is a lightweight model with a handlebar that reaches the waist of your child because it isn’t intimidating to use. But also, once your child learns how to move his/her scooter, he/she will still feel a sense of accomplishment.
For two-year-olds, you’ll want to start with the three-wheel scooter. Three-wheel scooters are easier and safer to use because they have an additional wheel at the front. You might also notice that the scooter is wider and lower to the ground, which means it has better stability. To be more specific, you want the model’s deck to be at around 4 to 5 inches wide so that it’s easier to control.
However, you might get confused on how to choose between three-wheel units. There are brands that have two wheels at the front, while some have the two at the back. We recommend having two wheels at the front for really young kids who are just learning how to scoot.
This design is less frustrating because it doesn’t get in the way of kicking, which can be annoying for a child who’s still learning how to balance. In our reviews and guides, you will also see guides that scooters for ages four and five typically have seats that kids can then remove once they are confident enough to scoot along.
At around the age of four to five, depending on your assessment of your child, you can graduate him/her onto a two-wheel scooter. You might also notice some scooters that use the term “lean to steer.” You want the scooter to be able to steer when your child is leaning so that he/she can enhance his/her balancing ability safely.
This is because the scooter will turn on its own as your child leans towards that direction, without needing to control the handlebar. For kids at this age group, this improves their understanding of directions.
And at the same time, leaning to steer is much safer than a model that turns using the T-bar, especially for a child who’s still getting used to making quick decisions while riding the scooter.
For Ages 6 and Up
Children ages six and up can still use a three-wheel scooter. However, he/she may want to practice his/her motor and balance skills with something faster and harder to balance, such as a two-wheel scooter.
But at the end of the day, you’re the one who can get a gist if your child is ready to use a two-wheel scooter. You will also notice how interested he/she is in graduating to that type of ride. Still, don’t forget to give him/her the appropriate safety gear when using a two-wheel scooter.
Two-wheel scooters for children ages six and up vary in features that they can have. You might find models with suspension and a handbrake for children who just want to cruise smoothly. On the other hand, there are also scooters with large wheels meant for faster rides and can take the wear and tear from tricks, jumps, and even bumpy surfaces. It’s also important to have a slip-resistant foot deck for your children’s safety as they play with the speed more.
Scooters for this age range also have a higher maximum capacity since kids grow fast. This is also the reason why you might also consider getting a scooter with an adjustable height so that it can grow alongside your child.
For children older than six, they will probably need a scooter that is suitable until their teenage years. Therefore, you want something that is a trick or an off-road scooter, as these models are built for abuse. They also don’t have any flimsy parts that can be dangerous when doing much more aggressive tricks and jumps.
At around this age range, your child might also be interested in using an electric scooter. As we have discussed in the different types of scooters, an electric model works without much physical intervention. Your child might even enjoy using his/her scooter as a mode of transportation, so it’s rational to get an electric model.
You can also opt for foldable scooters because these models are advantageous, not just for storage. They are also easier to carry around until you arrive at the area where your child is going to ride. Perhaps this is one of the main advantages of scooters over bikes because of their overall size and portability.
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Factors to Consider When Buying a Scooter for Your Child
Of course, the first consideration when you’re getting your child a scooter is the unit’s capacity. And in particular, we are talking about the scooter’s weight and height range. These features are vital to make sure that the scooter will be usable and safe for your child.
For example, the weight capacity will tell you how long your child can use the scooter. On the other hand, the scooter’s height capacity should be proportionate for your child, whether it’s adjustable or not. Otherwise, your child runs the risk of injuring his/her arms and back when he/she rides the model.
To give you an idea of the proper scooter height, you should notice that your kid does not have to slouch or bend his/her back when riding it. You also want the handlebar to be at the same height as your little one’s waist. This way, your child has better stability with the scooter, without putting stress on his/her shoulders and back. Going too high will make it difficult for your child to steer the scooter.
Stability and Mobility
The next feature to check on your scooter is how efficient and effective its features are when it comes to stability and mobility. These characteristics come hand in hand because they are what your child will rely on to ride the model.
As we have discussed earlier, the scooter’s deck is important in terms of stability. After all, it is the part of the unit that will bear your kid’s entire body weight. Therefore, you want the deck to be durable enough to withstand your child and some rough usage.
At the same time, the deck size also affects how comfortable the ride will be. But don’t worry because all you have to remember is how big or how small your child is. It should be proportionate, which means the smaller or lighter your child is, the smaller the deck should also be.
The scooter’s balance and mobility are also dependent on the wheels. They need to be durable and robust, and they also have to be the right size. This way, the ride feels comfortable, and your child will not struggle to move the scooter on different surfaces.
We think having wide, polyurethane (PU) wheels are perfect for scooters because they are sturdy, while also providing excellent traction even if the surface is bumpy. And as for the specific size, just remember that smaller wheels are slower and will keep the deck closer to the ground. Therefore, they are perfect for newbie riders who are just learning to balance and ride. And as with larger wheels, they will provide good clearance and speed and will increase the deck.
If your child is old enough to try pro scooting or some tricks, you might also want to opt for wheels with metal cores so that they can endure the jumps. Some riders even opt for wheels with hollow cores to make the wheels lightweight. Otherwise, you’re still going to be good with PU wheels with plastic cores.
But besides the material and size of the wheels, the design of the scooter is also a factor to consider in terms of stability. As we have discussed earlier on, three-wheel scooters are more appropriate for younger kids and those who are new to using scooters. They have better stability on their own, so for newbie learners, it’ll be safer for them to use three-wheel scooters first. Once they get comfortable, then you can transition your child to a two-wheel scooter.
Whether you’re looking for the best scooter for a 6-year-old or younger, having safety measures is a must and not a condition that you can just compromise. Supervising your child and dressing him/her in gear is not enough for safety. The scooter itself should also have features that your child can learn and use himself/herself.
The first safety feature that is essential in any mobile toy is the brakes. Three-wheel scooters are not as fast, so some manufacturers disregard having them, but in two-wheel scooters, you should check the model’s brake system. Your child should be able to engage them easily, especially when they’re at that point of loving going at high speed.
You can find hand brakes and rear fender brakes on scooters. The former, from the name itself, are located on the handlebars. This way, your child can quickly squeeze them to slow down the wheels while he/she is riding. The latter is simply a lever at the rear wheel. This type of brake system is usually what’s easier for kids because it is easy to engage. A simple step at this pedal and the wheel will stop.
Lastly, another safety feature that you can find in some models is the slip-resistant surface on the scooter’s deck. It is usually made from silicone, but some scooters also use a rough, grip tape. This feature is more critical for trick scooters, but it’s still a nice feature to have.
The fourth factor to consider is the scooter’s comfortability. This characteristic is somewhat related to our factor number one, where the scooter should be compatible with your child’s age, weight, and height.
The scooter should have a weight that is possible for your child to push. Unless he/she is using an electric scooter where the weight does not matter, make sure you’re getting a lightweight scooter. Most lightweight scooters use aluminum decks and plastic wheels. However, you can still opt for a plastic deck, but we prefer aluminum in terms of long-term use and wear and tear.
At the same time, scooters with thinner decks are usually going to be lighter. This is the same reason why trick scooters have very thin decks compared to three-wheel models that are more stable for newbie learners. Kids are less likely to get scared in trying a scooter for the first time if the deck is wide enough to provide space. You can also start your child with a seated scooter and then just remove it once your child gets more comfortable.
You can also get a scooter with a handlebar that slides up and down, so that you’ll still get the proper height as your child grows. And when he/she finally outgrows the scooter height, a sibling or friend will also be able to enjoy the scooter. Overall, just remember that adjustable handlebars are a good idea for kids who are less interested in tricks.
Portability and Storage
The last consideration that you can think of when choosing your kid’s next scooter is how convenient it is when it comes to portability and storage. If you have read our reviews, you’ll notice that we have included models that are foldable.
Although having a foldable feature isn’t necessary, it can be an important consideration if your child always brings his/her scooter on trips. This way, your child can easily get it more compact to save space when traveling.
Some scooters fold with a simple click, and it will fold down to fit easily on the back of the car, school locker, or at your child’s room. You might also appreciate it if the scooter is more lightweight so that your child can just hold it around or use the designated straps while walking or on public transportation.
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Health Benefits of Using Scooters for Kids
Cardiovascular Endurance and Calorie Burn
Riding the scooter is a safe and low-impact exercise that can help your little one strengthen his/her cardiovascular system. The scooter’s speed depends on how fast your kid kicks it. Therefore, the more you’re little one is having fun moving his/her scooter, the more he/she is strengthening his/her heart health. And as a bonus, your child also gets to burn some calories. Like we have said, it’s always an advantage to get kids physically active. This way, they can prevent unhealthy weight gain and other health risks from a sedentary lifestyle.
Young children need various activities to encourage physical development. The scooter helps develop and strengthen your child’s muscles from the arms, core, and down to the legs. The act of staying balanced and upright puts these muscles at work, and when the scooter moves, your child is engaging more muscles.
Improve Balance and Coordination
Just like skateboards and bikes, scooters are one of the best ways to improve children’s balance and coordination. Developing a sense of balance at a young age when he/she is staying upright at the scooter promotes this skill. Even the models that allow the “lean to steer” feature gives your child a better understanding of directions and equilibrium. All the movements from kicking to braking also develop your little one’s coordination, which is vital for various physical activities as he/she grows up.
Motor Skill Development
Like the previous health benefit, there’s no doubt that riding the scooter is also going to be helpful in developing your little one’s gross and fine motor skills. If you think about it, a lot of movements are simultaneously happening when your child is using the scooter.
This includes being completely aware of the surroundings and possible obstacles all the while as he/she is balancing. Your child will also need to use the handlebar and keep his/her foot ready to press the pedal when it’s time to stop. Your child will have to do all these movements smoothly and safely on his/her own.
Besides physical health benefits, riding the scooter is also beneficial for mental and emotional health. As we have said, your child is the one doing multiple actions and decisions simultaneously when he/she uses the scooter.
For example, he/she will be able to sharpen his/her critical thinking and decision-making skills quickly and safely. As he/she is riding the scooter, your child has to make the call on when to slow down, go fast, turn, lean, or stop. He/she will also be aware of what obstacles to avoid and what rule he/she needs to follow when using the scooter outside.
Exercise Social Skills
Lastly, using the scooter is not just a solo activity. When at the park or even if your little one is just interacting with relatives and friends, he/she is going to practice social skills as well. Using the scooter builds confidence, but your child will also learn new skills from watching other riders. A friend might also want to know how to ride, and your kid can teach them how to.
Riding the scooter can even teach kids empathy at a young age. Perhaps a friend accidentally fell and your child will guide them next time. Or the fact that your child will understand why some kids can take a longer time in learning how to use the scooter.