Watching your child grow and learn is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I was at my son’s school the other day watching him ride tricycles with his friends. After talking to a Mom who commented she had not thought to teach her child to ride, I realized that one skill that is often overlooked by first time parents is the ability to pedal and ride a bike. Pedaling is an important motor skill for young kids for a variety of reasons. It increases muscle strength, improves bi-lateral coordination, increases postural stability, and gives a child confidence in their physical abilities. Of course kids love it because it's fun and the sense of accomplishment they feel when they pedal for the first time is awesome for their self esteem.
The best way for young children to learn this skill is to start with a small toddler size push trike and then progress to a bigger tricycle as they grow. Quality preschools understand that when it comes to tricycles one size does not fit all. Having a variety of trikes in different sizes and styles is the best way to ensure that kids progress in a developmentally appropriate way. Although some toddlers don’t mind sitting on a trike that is too big and pushing with their feet, the pedals often get in their way. This might lead them to avoid trying to push it which could delay them mastering this important skill. Preschool programs should always have some push trikes without pedals so that the younger toddlers can feel a measure of success.
Once the push trike is mastered having a tricycle that is the right size is the next step. Just like children, trikes come in different sizes. When deciding on a preschool, parents should talk to the director make sure the school has a good assortment of products for children of different sizes and skills. One size does not fit all when it comes to rides on for learning and safety reasons.
When a group of children ride their tricyles around the playground they are practicing steering skills, engaging in cooperative play, learning to coordinate their upper and lower body at the same time, increasing muscle tone and flexibility and getting a cardiovascular workout. Teachers love to see their students get lots of physical exercise because it is good for them and helps get the wiggles out. This of course makes learning easier because kids are more focused after physical activity. When parents see these playground games they see happy, confident children playing with their friends. Tricycles are well worth the investment. They bring a lifelong love of active play and memories for preschoolers that are priceless.