What kid doesn't love getting exercise?
Of course, for kids, exercise usually doesn't (and probably shouldn't) mean chugging away on the elliptical or lifting heavy weights.
It means playing and exploring the world around them!
Whether that's running around like a maniac, or pedaling around on a bike or trike through the neighborhood, kids have a lot of energy they need to burn, and a lot of curiosity about the world that needs to be satisfied.
Children's exercise bikes are a relatively new and awesome way to keep young kids active on rainy days, when you (the parent) is busy with inside responsibilities, or if you live in a neighborhood where playing outside is unsafe or inconvenient.
If you're looking for the best exercise bike for kids, here are my top picks:
(Important note: These bikes are a really cool way to encourage your kids to stay active, to help them burn off energy on rainy, snowy, or cold days, or even do some interactive learning (see the Fisher-Price model). They are absolutely NOT to be used for training or, God forbid, weight loss for very young children. These are supposed to be fun toys (with the possible exception of the X5 at the end of the list), and you should never force a child to use an exercise bike or any other piece of play fitness equipment.)
Best Budget Children's Exercise Bike: Peach Tree Fun and Fitness Exercise Bike
Overview: If you're looking for a simple toy exercise bike for young kids, this one from Peach Tree Fun and Fitness pretty much hits the nail right on the head. It's pretty bare bones, but solidly constructed and could last a toddler a couple of years before they outgrow it (if they don't get bored of it, before then!) It's also really lightweight and easy to set up, plus comes in a fun eye-popping color scheme.
Recommended Ages: 3-6 years
Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 26 inches
Why We Like It: Simple, yet effective! This bike from Peach Tree Fun and Fitness is a simple set up exercise bike, with an adjustable seat, two pedals, handle bars, and a very simple drive mechanism (there's no motor here, the kids just push the pedals as fast as they want to go, which keeps things safe for everyone). I really like the onboard monitor that keeps track of time elapsed, and it takes just a couple of AA batteries which almost every parent has lying around.
This is a cute looking bike, too, and should be really inviting for young kids with its sort of McDonald's style color scheme (bright red and yellow). It looks like a toy and it is, though the construction is solid with plenty of metal components mixed in to keep this thing sturdy. It should be able to handle kids as young as 3 and as old as 6, though the manufacturer does not list a specific weight limit.
Potential Drawbacks: The downside to this bike is that there's not much to it, features-wise. It's one of the best budget options out there for exercise bikes for toddlers, but for the price, it'd be nice if it had some more interactive elements to it. This would be PERFECT for stay at home moms or dads who want to get in a workout while the kids are awake; they'll probably be really excited to hop on this and work out alongside their parent. But outside of that, I can see young kids getting bored of this really quickly.
Best Mid-Range Children's Exercise Bike: Fisher-Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle
Overview: If you want a little more bang for your buck, you'll definitely want to check out this cool interactive option from Fisher-Price. Not only is this a really cool and well-designed exercise bike for toddlers, it has a built-in learning and gaming elements via an attached screen or monitor (hook up to your TV or pop on an iPad, Android, or Kindle Fire tablet). In other words, while kids pedal and steer, they control and interact with learning based games, where they'll tackle reading, rhyming, spelling and more while they wear themselves out. Perfect for days when you're cooped up inside or feeling guilty about your kid's screentime.
Recommended Ages: 3-6 years
Dimensions: 30 x 13 x 8.2 inches
Why We Like It: The concept behind this bike is so incredibly cool. What I didn't really love about the Peach Tree bike above was its lack of options and entertainment... basically, kids will only pedal on it until they get bored of not going anywhere! The Fisher-Price bike solves all of those problems by giving kids some screentime you can feel pretty good about.
The mechanics of the bike are simple enough, kids just pedal and steer. But the way that movement and body coordination interacts with the built-in games and apps makes this a really cool experience. In the games, they'll control drones, balloons, cars, and more as they wind their way through some really exciting learning adventures that are sure to keep them pedaling.
The seat is fully adjustable, and this bad boy is sturdy enough for kids up to 6 years old. Fisher-Price recommends it for kids as young as 36 months. It also runs very well on just 4 AA batteries, which should be easily available.
Assembly of the bike is super easy, as noted by many parents online in stellar reviews. Parents and kids alike absolutely love this toy exercise bike.
Potential Drawbacks: The major drawback of this bike is the cost. While overall the bike itself is not very expensive, and comes in just a tad more expensive than my favorite budget option, you'll need to provide your own tablet or smart screen/TV and you also need to buy the individual apps and games that are compatible with this bike. They should be about $4-5 each. So those costs can add up quickly.
Also it's worth noting that Fisher-Price came under fire around the release of this bike for promoting exercise and weight loss to children, which is why it's important to note that your framing and handling of this toy is important. It should just be a fun way to burn off energy and keep your kids moving during screentime, and shouldn't be treated as a weight loss tool in any way, shape, or form.
Best High-End Children's Exercise Bike: Fitnex X5 Kids' Exercise Bike
Overview: If you're looking for something a little more serious and heavy duty, or a good exercise bike for older kids, you might be interested in the X5. It closely resembles a full size adult stationary bike but is significantly smaller and easier to use for kids, and can serve an important purpose. It can handle up to 250lbs, so is often used in elementary and middle schools as an introductory exercise tool for kids who are old enough to handle it. It can also be really useful for knee and leg rehab for younger children who have been injured. It's high quality, heavy duty, and much less of a toy than the above options.
Recommended Ages: 5 years and up to 250lbs
Dimensions: 32 x 21 x 33 inches
Why We Like It: This is a pretty cool bike for kids in an arena that doesn't have many options. For kids who are too old for the models recommended above, or need a low-impact exercise or rehab option like a stationary bike, the X5 is a perfect fit. It's rock solid in construction and can handle kids from 5 years old all the way through teenagers. It might be a little small in frame for adults, though it can handle up to 250 pounds.
It's a spin style bike with a simple resistance knob and drive mechanism, but no built-in programs or complicated dashboard. Its frame is upright style which is awesome for a challenging workout and varying resistance levels.
Some reviewers online noted this bike is fantastic for helping a young kid rehab a knee or leg injury (and will work far better than a toy bike for that purpose).
Potential Drawbacks: This bike is pretty expensive, there's no getting around that. For a smaller bike for young children, the price tag is up there. But if you have a need for a product like this, there aren't many better options and this one is super well built and has awesome reviews.
What to look for when buying a youth or junior exercise bike
We've discussed this above, but I'll reiterate one more time:
It's really important to know how you're planning on using a stationary bike for kids and why.
A lot of us (adults) have really unhealthy attitudes about food, exercise, and weight loss, and we should be really careful about wittingly or unwittingly passing those on to our children! They'll have plenty of time when they're older to decide on their own if they want to or should exercise for their physical appearance.
Buying a bike for the purpose of having a very child lose weight could be a really danger proposition.
That said, there are lots of valid reasons for buying one of these products, like if you live somewhere really cool and your kids are stuck inside all winter, or if your child needs to gently rehab a knee injury.
That said, here are the basics for shopping for toddler exercise bikes:
Recommended Age - See if you can find the manufacturer recommendations for age appropriateness of the bike. Often, they'll be clearly listed on the product page on Amazon, but occasionally you'll have to dig into the Q&A section or on the manufacturer website somewhere. Most of the toy exercise bikes available are for kids ages 3-6.
Size / Footprint - Keep in mind that these bikes could become a semi-permanent fixture in your home for the next couple of years. As far as I could tell, most of the main options available don't fold away or collapse for easy storage. So double check how much room in your living room or play area you have allotted for one of these before you buy.
Price - Above, I've given you a range of budget options to choose from, from the budget friendly Peach Tree bike, to the moderately priced Fisher-Price bike (which may require some additional purposes), to the super high end X5. Keep in mind before you buy that you may only get a few years of use out of one of these, if that (unlike a full sized exercise bike which you could feasibly use for 10 years or more). Worse, your kid may not like it, or may play with it for a month and get bored! So just be wary of the investment.
Controversy aside, exercise bikes for your kids can really be a fun addition to your home. They're awesome if you live in a high rise apartment and getting outside to play is tough, or if the weather is super hot, cold, or wet. They're also great if you have your hands full with a baby and need to keep your toddler occupied!
There are plenty of reasons you might think about buying one of these, and from what I can tell, a lot of research and design thought has gone into making these great for kids.
If I were to buy one for my own daughter, I'd go with the Fisher-Price bike. I just love how it integrates with games, apps, and learning while helping kids burn off energy. You can also never go wrong with Fisher-Price.
Get the full specs and read customer reviews of my favorite bike, the Fisher-Price Think & Learn on Amazon.
Hope this helps, parents!