Toy cars have been a staple of toy boxes for generations, and that’s because, as well as being fun, they’re an effective educational tool for children, encouraging the development of motor skills, coordination, and more. One of the most enjoyable parts of being a parent is shopping for new toys, but that doesn’t mean the process isn’t sometimes exhausting.
In this article, we’ll offer some advice on picking the best toy car for your child, whether they’re vehicle-obsessed toddlers or older kids collecting Hot Wheels cars to add to their track. We’ve even ranked the top 10 toy cars available to buy online from Amazon, Argos and eBay UK. From push-along vintage models to remote control cars, read on to learn more!
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Once you know what to look for, finding the perfect toy car for your child is a cinch! There are just a few things you’ll need to consider first. Read on to discover what they are.
If you want you and your child to reap all the benefits that playing with a toy car can give, the best first step is to find one with a design and appearance that’ll interest and engage them. Here, we’ve outlined a few things to keep an eye out for.
One of the easiest ways to attract a child’s attention, at least initially, is with the aid of their favourite characters. Cars feature so often in TV shows and films, that most popular characters will have some form of associated vehicle that can be found in the toy department. Younger children might like a toy car that seats Peppa Pig and her family, and older kids will love racing Mario around in his kart.
If your child doesn’t gravitate particularly strongly towards a specific character, or perhaps has other interests, it may be worth seeking out a toy car that accommodates these instead. Kids with a passion for music will love cars that play singalong tunes, while those that love to dismantle things will appreciate toy cars you build yourself.
Of course, if your child already has an invested interest in cars, you’re going to be spoilt for choice! So read on to discover the other factors you should look out for.
Once the excitement of seeing their favourite character wears off, the toy car will need to work a little harder to maintain your child’s attention. The purpose of a car is to transport you from A-to-B. In a similar fashion, one of the most important things about a toy vehicle is how it moves.
The classic push-along car continues to live on, and as the name suggests, these cars must be pushed along by your child in order to move. As they require direct involvement, they’re great for imaginative children who love to lose themselves in their own world. Pull-back cars, are great for kids who love to witness cause-and-effect as they can pull back the car, and then watch it whizz away across the floor.
Older kids, on the other hand, may find themselves engrossed by the skill and concentration necessary for operating remote control cars. The trick is to consider your child’s playing style and personality, and to try to find a car with a movement style that corresponds with it.
If you want to up the ante even further, there are plenty of cars with exciting lights and sounds. These sounds might relate to a character or TV show, but they may also be jingles that correspond to certain actions, or songs to entertain. Either way, they’re a great way of keeping your child engrossed as they play with their toy car.
Of course, sounds and noises aren’t for every child. More sensitive children are likely to become overstimulated, leading to tears and tantrums rather than fun. You know your child best - if they tend to shy away from loud sounds, it's perhaps best to steer away from noisier cars!
Every toy car comes with a recommended age as a guideline. Though these often signify whether the toy includes small parts, they’re not just related to safety. They also indicate the age at which a child will be physically and mentally developed enough to operate the car, and importantly, at which a child is most likely to benefit from its educational features.
Any good manufacturer will develop their toy car with its educational potential in mind, meaning that toys for infants will be easy to grasp, while those for older children will incorporate noises and events that occur when a child matches colours correctly, or ramps, down which your child can roll the car.
Although it continues to cause irreparable damage to our planet’s ecosystem, plastic is a versatile and durable material, which is one of the reasons why it's frequently used in toy manufacturing. But that doesn’t mean that sustainably-sourced options aren’t available.
They might not include some of the exciting features that their plastic counterparts do, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and many environmentally-conscious companies have devised wooden toy cars that are every bit as fun!
Believe it or not, toy cars aren’t just fun - they’re also highly educational. As adults, we take it for granted that much of our ability to interact with the world and use our bodies was learned while very young. Toy cars can be an effective means of developing motor skills, such as the ability to grasp, as well as hand-eye coordination, particularly for infants in their first couple of years,
For older kids, toys can help develop concentration and teach cause-and-effect - the understanding that they can affect and manipulate the environment around them. While most will attempt to strike a balance, some toy cars will focus more heavily on entertainment, rather than being educational, and vice versa.
If you’re particularly keen to ensure that your child is learning while they're having fun, look out for toy cars with educational features. To help you out, we’ve outlined the key educational features of a selection of toy cars in our top 10 ranking.
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Diecast Mini Toy Cars
A Varied and Unique Set That'll Kick-Start Your Child's Collection
Le Toy Van
Iconic London Themed Toy Car Set
Stunning Vehicle Recreations From a Long-Established British Toy Company
Organic Wooden Car
A Smooth, Simple Design for Young Babies
The Ace Wooden Vintage Racer Car
A Charming Vintage Racer For Little Ones and Grown-Ups Alike
Toot-Toot Drivers Toy Car
An Interactive Car With Bells and Whistles
Melissa & Doug
A Brightly-Coloured Wooden Truck That'll Provide Hours of Fun
Super Mario Kart Radio Controlled Car
Drift and Power Slide With Mario
Click Clack Wooden Car Track
A Smart-Looking Wooden Set That Teaches Cause and Effect
Take Apart / Build Your Own Toy Car
A Rebuildable Car for Aspiring Young Mechanics
Peppa Pig's Clever Car
A Fun and Educational Car for Peppa Pig Fans
Hot Wheels have been offering a gateway into the world of toy cars for generations, and this set of 20 varied and unique vehicles is perfect for kickstarting your child's first toy car collection!
Their small size makes them unsuitable for use by very young children, but for older children, their durable metal design and stunning detail makes them wonderfully suited to hours of imaginative play. Hot Wheels are industry leaders when it comes to stoking a passion for toy cars, and that's why they're our number one choice.
Le Toy Van have been making high quality toys in London since 1955, and with this exciting car set, they've made faithful recreations of several vehicles that can be spotted within the capital. They're perfect for emergency service vehicle enthusiasts, but they're also great for role play.
This is a colourful set that'll brighten any toy box. What's more, environmentally-minded parents can rest assured knowing that they're built using sustainably-sourced rubberwood, and decorated with non-toxic paints.
This small wooden car has been designed with the littlest of hands in mind. Its beautifully crafted wooden curves are perfect for grasping, encouraging early motor skills. Once your baby begins to develop into a toddler, they'll love pushing it along as part of their imaginative play too.
A perfect toy car for little ones, it's completely safe for even the youngest of children. It's even chewable, non-toxic and meets all the requirements of food-grade safety standards.
This Vintage Racer Car strikes an intriguing balance between toy car and collector's model. Its metal axles enable fast-rolling action that'll entertain your child for hours, and it's painted with child-safe, water-based and lead-free inks.
But its stunning wooden construction is such that this car wouldn't look out of place on a display shelf, and it could easily serve as an heirloom to be passed down between generations. The hardest part might be deciding whether to allow your child to play with it!
This is the 'all-singing, all-dancing' remote control car. Its smiley, happy face and lively melodies are sure to keep your child entertained. They'll love hearing it sing as they push it along the floor.
It can even interact with other Toot-Toot Drivers play sets, and there are plenty of options for expanding your child's collection. As you can imagine, this toy can get a little bit noisy, so children (and parents) who are sensitive to noise may want to steer clear.
The hugely popular Melissa and Doug brand have made a name for themselves by creating beautiful wooden toys, and this car transporter is a great example. Its bold primary coloured cars can teach your little one colours, and arranging them on the transporter truck will help develop their motor skills and hand-to-eye coordination.
Its size means it may not be suited to smaller homes, and its numerous moving parts make it somewhat vulnerable to damage if thrown about excessively. Take care of it though, and it will be the perfect educational toy car for young toddlers.
Any young fans of Mario will be instantly sold on this one, but there's much more to this remote controlled car than an appearance from the portly plumber. Faithful to the latest instalment of the Mario Kart game series, the wheels can switch to anti-gravity mode, allowing you to perform drifts and spins.
Unfortunately, it requires 6 type C batteries and 4 AA batteries for only 40 minutes of power, potentially making it quite expensive to run. However, batteries are included in the box, and the fun your child will have with this toy is more than worth it.
This is a great toy for teaching children about cause and effect. Your kids will love watching the cars roll all by themselves, from top to bottom. It can even be extended with additional pieces.
The high quality construction and smooth beechwood track gives it an instant visual appeal. In fact, it's so attractive, you may ever-so-slightly begrudge your children knocking it about. But remember, toys are meant to be played with!
For some kids, simply enjoying a toy is not enough - they need to take it apart and discover what makes it tick. This toy car allow them to do just that! Budding mechanics are able to dismantle this car and rebuild it, with lights and sounds confirming when pieces are placed correctly.
Unfortunately, the ability to disassemble the car has the adverse effect of making this car less resilient than others on this list. It also contains small parts, but for mechanically-minded children, it's a must-buy.
Without a doubt, Peppa Pig fans are certainly catered to in the toy department. This toy car will help to develop your child's ability to recognise colours as they place each member of the family into their appropriately-coloured seat.
Once everyone's set, they'll love watching the car avoid obstacles using an in-built sensor to reach its destination. Unfortunately, this latter feature makes this car unsuited to medium or long pile carpet, but if you have wooden floors, this car will entertain even the most casual Peppa fan.
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs there is, and all mums and dads could do with a little help sometimes. If you're on the lookout for more ways to entertain your child, we’re here to make finding the right toy a little bit simpler. Read through the articles below for some inspiration, and our recommendations when it comes to choosing the best toys to buy online!
We hope you’ve found this article informative and useful in aiding your search for a suitable toy car. You’re now ready to find the perfect one to educate your child, and keep them entertained for hours on end!
Author: Ben Willimett
No. 1: Hot Wheels｜Diecast Mini Toy Cars
No. 2: Le Toy Van｜Iconic London Themed Toy Car Set
No. 3: Let's Make｜Organic Wooden Car
No. 4: Candylab｜The Ace Wooden Vintage Racer Car
No. 5: Vtech｜Toot-Toot Drivers Toy Car
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