http://bootscootbikes.com/ Zoomer (age 2-5 approx.) Boot Scoots were developed to allow children to learn balance at their own without the added pressure of pedaling at the same time. Instead of pedaling, children … see full wiki
I recently learned about the idea of balance bikes for young kids (also called peddle-less bikes). Basically, they're bikes without peddles, intended for kids to learn balance prior to tackling the coordination of peddling. Training wheels don't teach balance, and by learning to balance while gliding (just picking up their feet), kids can actually learn to ride bikes at a much earlier age.
Balance bikes are pretty huge in Europe, from what I hear, and kind of a new trendy item here in the U.S., growing in popularity.
The go-to brand of balance bike seems to be Like-a-Bike, which costs over $300! That's pretty rich for a toy that will last only a matter of months, or a year at absolute most, if it's successful for it's intended use/benefit.
Enter ... the Boot Scoot Zoomer! For a much more reasonable price of $77 (on Amazon), it's a fantastic balance bike and our 3.5 year old is LOVING it! What a great deal!
Here's why we love the Boot Scoot:
Lightweight (so easy that even our toddler can effortlessly pick it up)
Durable (this stage of learning means a lot of the bike getting dropped)
Adjustable seat lets it grow with your child
Hard foam tires = never fix a flat!!
Metal appearance looks similar to a "real" bike (the Like-a-Bike is a wooden toy, which has it's appeal and charm -- however kids are more likely to notice that it's a different bike from what preschool friends have)
Easy and fun to learn balance! This is by far the most important selling point. In a matter of days (mere hours of use), our daughter had picked up the ability to foot-peddle and then lift her feet and glide while balancing the bike! We've only had the Boot Scoot for a short time, but I can tell already she's going to be a bike riding pro, and at a much younger age than average!
The Boot Scoot builds confidence and dexterity, while keeping the activity of bike riding fun - as it should be! Rather than a frustrating or painful process, we've had nothing but laughs and a lot of cheering.
We opted not to put on a bike bell. While they're fun and cute for kids to play with (she had one on her trike), they can make for a distraction while trying to learn to actually balance and/or peddle a two-wheeler. Instead, we went for some purple sparkle tassels, which were a HUGE hit, needless to say ; )
Start early! Two year olds can hop on these bikes and go! I only wish we'd started our daughter even younger, especially because she's really coordinated and could've easily picked this up at 2.5, I'm sure.