Ride-on toys, such as tricycles, promote gross motor skill development and encourage muscular growth. They are appropriate toys for preschoolers age 3 and older, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. While your preschooler will love riding simply for the fun of it, other activities can take trike riding to the next level and encourage physical development. Don't present a little one with a tricycle until he's physically able to handle one. Make sure he wears a helmet and is safely removed from driveways and streets when riding.
Obstacle Course Challenge
Set up an obstacle course that allows preschoolers to perform a variety of movements as they ride their tricycle. This will build gross motor skills and will also help your child practice arm and leg coordination. Arrange your obstacle course on a backyard patio or cemented area of a playground. Don't create an obstacle course in your driveway or anywhere near where cars drive, cautions the American Academy of Pediatrics. Set up a series of orange cones or outdoor chairs for your child to ride between and around, which will help also help your child learn how to properly steer and pedal her trike. Draw spiral or wavy lines with sidewalk chalk and challenge your child to follow them as she rides on the patio or paved area. Create a road by placing pool noodles parallel to each other with enough space in between to steer the tricycle.
Plan a Parade
Organize a parade so your child can show off her tricycle riding skills with other children her age. Invite neighbors, classmates or other friends to decorate their tricycles and join the fun. Ahead of time, help your preschooler decorate her trike by attaching colored streamers, balloons, flags or pinwheels to the handlebars. Cutting, taping and tying are all skills that help with fine motor development. Place the items where they won't get in the way of your preschooler being able see as she rides, however. Choose a safe place to put on the parade. Driveways or streets aren't appropriate, so take the parade to a park with a bikes-only trail so there is no danger to your trike-riders. On the day of the parade, line the children up and let them ride in a straight line with parents, grandparents and other loved ones cheering them on.
See What She Can Do
Challenge your child to show you all the skills she has mastered when it comes to trike riding. Call out different activities, such as turning around at a specific point or pedaling backward, and see if your child can accomplish the tasks. In addition to building gross motor skills, these will also help your child improve her tricycle riding skills in general. Bring in an element of safety by asking your child to demonstrate how she puts on her helmet and takes it off or how she dismounts from the tricycle without falling.
Go For a Safe Ride
Take your preschooler on a tricycle ride on a local off-street bike trail to help build skills and confidence. Trike riding promotes physical activity and provides an outlet for your child's energy. It also allows your child time to practice pedaling forward and back, balancing on the trike and steering effectively. Encourage your preschooler's imagination and creativity as you ride by asking him to pretend that his trike is a fire engine, dump truck, horse or rocket ship, which will bring an element of fun as your preschooler builds his trike-riding skills.