Bikes and trikes, the best toy ever??

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a toy that lasts for years, develops with your child, and also helps them learn in heaps of ways? Well, bikes and trikes might just be that thing!

My eldest was given a ride-on-bike (you know, the classic Galt tiny trike) for her first birthday from my parents. I thought it would be a good present, but I had NO idea how amazing it would ACTUALLY end up being, how long it would last, how much learning she would get out of it and how many years of play it would provide!

All three of my kids LOVED it. It is the toy that has taken them the furthest (in terms of actual miles covered, but also in terms of years of use as well as the variety of learning it offered!)

At first, it was simply a chance to get them to balance, and they would use it in the house to walk around. As they grew, its use grew, changed and developed as well, held back only by the children’s creativity.

They no longer went slowly and cautiously around on it - rather, they were zooming on the thing - in and around the furniture; it went outside in the garden; it came on walks. It was used to get from the kitchen to the bedroom at breakneck speeds (we lived in a bungalow at the time)! It was used with one child on it, or two, and sometimes they would even try and take three!

It was used to carry dollies around the place. Or it would be a fire engine rushing to put out an imaginary fire. Next, it became a tractor for the farmer, and they created a trailer to attach to the back in which they could put things and take them from one place to another.

It was the beginning of many bike adventures, involving lots of different bikes, but this one laid the foundations for all the others.

My parents bought the bike as a fun toy, but when I looked a little deeper into the learning that the children were getting from it, I was blown away!

Learning to use a bike or trike is SO much more than just fun - it’s a HUGE learning opportunity.

Obviously, it develops your child’s gross motor skills by helping them strengthen their core, legs, arms, hands, and neck. But it is SO much more than that! When I started looking in a bit more depth at it, I was a bit blown away!

First, there are the sensory experiences that your child gains. Trying to keep themselves upright stimulates their vestibular system as well as developing their balance through the speed they gain and the effort they use to keep themselves and the bike upright. They are developing their sense of self in space (the proprioceptive system) and of course, there’s the auditory, tactile, and olfactory stimulation of being outside and hearing, smelling, and feeling the sounds, textures, and smells that are all around.

Using a ride-on toy also stimulates creativity, as the child finds different ways to use it (think of the bike becoming a fire engine, which then becomes the family car, which morphs into a tractor all in the child’s imagination).

It develops independence as they learn to get on and off it on their own, and it gives them the ability to get places under their own steam.

As a result, it builds confidence. As it’s a new skill that children need to learn, it requires focus, concentration, precipitance, tenacity, bravery, as well as problem-solving (think manoeuvring around obstacles, knowing when and how to stop and how long to leave it before you do)!

You may have thought you were just giving your child a bike or trike to play with, but you are actually giving them an opportunity to develop important skills for life! Letting your child learn through play enables them to develop new life skills without even realising it. They will apply them in their schoolwork, in and around the home, and later, in their working life. They won’t know that they learned them while they were using their pretend tractor to take their pretend vegetables to a pretend market, but you will!

What an amazing gift to give your children!

When you understand the learning your child is getting amazing things happen!

And what the most amazing thing about all of this is - that now you understand the learning that your child is getting from using their trike or bike, you will really encourage them to use it. You’ll be really pleased as you watch them develop their skills, partly, because it’s lovely to see your child grow and develop, but also because you now have a strong understanding of how amazing using the bike or trike is for their development. Because of this understanding, you then encourage them to use it, which in turn will help them develop more skills in using it… It becomes a cycle of success! Your child will feel really proud that they are doing such an amazing job of using the bike, and you will feel really proud of how much they are developing. (That's a win win in my book!)

This is the power that the Oliiki programme gives you, as it helps you see that the simple things that you might have done anyway are actually AMAZING learning opportunities for your child. It shows you that the tiny everyday things are building your child’s learning all the time. This helps your child develop and grow, but it also helps you feel amazing as a parent. As one of our Oliiki parents recently said,“It helps you be mindful about baby’s development by explaining how simple interactions, which you are probably already doing anyway, can play an important role if done with a bit more intent and focus.”So if you want to understand how amazing the things you're doing with your child are for them, then why now download the Oliiki programme today and start sparking your baby’s adventures in learning and building your parenting confidence one play activity at a time?

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