What is a balance bike you may ask? I didn’t really “get it” when I first saw balance bikes on the Prince Lionheart website when my daughter was younger. Now that she has been riding a bike with training wheels for a year I wanted to start exposing her to a “big kid” bike and it clicked that this is what balance bikes are for! I don’t expect her to be able to ride a bike without training wheels for another year or two (or three), but I really like how this serves as a transitional toy that is also fun to play with indoors and out.
Well as the days passed she still didn’t seem all that excited to ride the balance bike outside. Finally, one day she asked to ride her bike outside, but I said we couldn’t because I had to stay in the house during brother’s nap. So I decided to bring the balance bike back inside since it never really got that dirty outside anyway. Now the balance bike is attached at her hip. She loves to use it in imaginative play and ride it almost everywhere in the house. I mean everywhere and all the time. Mom, let’s go pick up daddy at work. Mama, pretend I am driving to my house. She “parks” it as she pretends to buy and ice cream cone from me while driving around the house and “parks” it in the middle of the room or hall for me to trip over. My favorite place to park it is on the metal baby gate we have in the hall– the bars are spaced perfectly for the wheel to slide in and it is more or less out of the way.
She is getting really comfortable with it and even tries to balance from time to time (do you like her ninja sound effects, above?). There are a lot of motorcycles in our area so she thinks she’s super cool riding around like the bikes she regularly sees around town and I hope to eventually take the balance bike back outside. In the meantime, she’s getting the footwork, gaining confidence in her ability to balance and she will soon be gliding around the house instead of walking with her feet. I think that’s when I will know she’s really ready to take it back outside!
I love that Prince Lionheart Balance Bikes are made of 100% birch wood, have solid rubber hand grips, 12″ rubber tires and an adjustable seat (This is definitely going to be handed down brother or any other siblings that may come along as it is built to last!). The balance bikes are available in three styles and teach kids how to balance, steer and the coordination necessary to ride a two-wheeler with pedals. I don’t think I rode a “big kid” bike until I was around 7, mainly because I didn’t own a bike, but I think my daughter will probably learn on the earlier side (maybe 4 or 5?) with the aide of the balance bike for teaching her the skills necessary to graduate to a bike. And just as important, she is building the confidence she will need to succeed when she’s ready.