Are you looking for a way to encourage your child’s development through play?
Toy cars can build your child’s fine motor skills. As they roll the cars back and forth or even pick them up, they’re developing hand-eye coordination and improving their dexterity.
Playing with toy cars also encourages the use of their thinking skills. Having cars from different careers or areas of life, such as police cars, dump trucks, and race cars, will stimulate their imagination and encourage role-play.
We’ve rounded up all the best toy cars for toddlers to help you find the perfect one.
- 4 safe, soft vehicles
- Great for fine motor skills
- Removable wipe-clean wheelie
- Soft and flexible
- 6 Disney-themed character cars
- Perfect for traveling
- Easy grasp design
- Dishwasher safe
- 100% recycled plastic
- Phthalate and BPA free
- Crafted of durable plastic
- 3-piece set
- Friction powered
- 60 piece Prextex building blocks
- Temperature resistant plastic
- Wear resistant and odorless
- Educational building playset
- Made with non-toxic materials
- Creative & educational pastime
- Durable truck toy
- No metal axels for safety
- Environment-friendly materials
- Set of 5 play vehicles
- High-quality sturdy plastic material
- Fun, multicolored design
- Clean, contemporary design
- Easy to grab, push and roll
While toy cars are a great way for your child to learn and grow while also enjoying themselves, it’s important to choose an age-appropriate car. Not all cars that are suitable for a three-year-old are going to be safe for a baby.
When choosing a toy car for toddlers, pay attention to the parts involved (1).
Are there small wheels that could come loose? These small wheels could become choking hazards. Are there sharp edges to hurt themselves on? Are there moving parts where fingers could get stuck?
For toddlers, it’s best to choose simple, sturdy cars with rounded corners and no small or detachable parts.
Babies love to put anything and everything into their mouths. It’s imperative you ensure the toy is made from safe, non-toxic materials because, at some point, they will attempt to chew on it. It is also important that parts do not detach.
For children that are two to three years old, cars with more complex features will be appropriate, as long as they’re still safe. Detachable and moving parts become less hazardous and will add a level of interest and detail to the toy.
How to Choose a Toy Car for Toddlers
For a baby or young toddler, simple, straightforward designs that are easy to grab and hold onto will minimize frustration. Bright colors and patterns will keep their attention.
Look for toy cars that move easily and roll around smoothly. Also, try to choose toys that have some effects, like bright lights or sounds. Pull-back or zoom-forward features may provide some excitement, and your child will feel a sense of accomplishment as they master the skills.
Older toddlers will benefit from toy cars that are a little more challenging. Cars that require some building or piecing together will encourage them to use their thinking skills.
Toy cars that come with characters included or attached will stimulate the imagination and encourage role play. Those that include some numbers and/or letters will introduce them to reading and counting.
The Best Toy Cars for Toddlers of 2021
Here are our favorite toy cars for babies and toddlers.
1. Melissa & Doug Soft Baby and Toddler Toy Set
This amazing, baby-friendly set includes four different vehicles — a school bus, family car, fire truck, and police car. They zoom forward easily and quickly, with a simple, low-effort pull back.
The cars are bright and colorful, with fun little characters sitting in the front seats. They have no sharp edges and their soft, squishy nature makes them extremely safe for your baby to handle. The set also includes a carrying case for easy and convenient transport.
2. Rattle and Roll Race Car
There are a lot of great features in this baby race car. The top of the car is round, which makes for gentle handling. Inside the wheels are little rattle beads for fun sound effects.
If your baby likes to put toys in their mouth, you won’t need to worry about this car. The entire toy is soft and flexible, perfect for teething as well as racing.
This toy is cute, safe, and fun. Its multiple benefits make it a great all-rounder for your little one.
3. Disney Baby Go Grippers
These cars are ideal for your toddler as they have a ball-like design that makes them easy to hold. They are hardy, rugged, and ready to play, and they’re also adorable. All of the cars are Disney-themed, with Mickey, Minnie, Pooh, Tigger, Mike, and Sully being the face of the cars.
Young children are able to grip these cars easily and roll them smoothly.
4. Green Toys Tractor Vehicle
This environmentally-friendly tractor will provide great quality entertainment while giving you peace of mind. Made in the U.S. from 100 percent recycled plastic, it has no external coatings and no metal axles, which means no rust.
The tractor has a detachable trailer pull and large, sturdy wheels that can handle any terrain, indoors or out. This tractor toy is fun, good quality, and kind to the earth. You can feel good about giving it to your children.
The tractor is available in orange and pink.
5. WolVol Push and Go Friction Powered Car Toys
These brightly-colored toy cars are made from good quality materials that make them strong and sturdy. Included in the set of three are a street sweeper truck, cement mixer, and harvester.
Each car has an automatic twisting or rotating part that activates when the car is pushed. No batteries are required. This adds a realistic aspect to the toys as the actions mimic real-life scenarios.
6. Build Your Own Toy Cars
This versatile set comes with 60 individual pieces that can be put together to create over 20 different vehicles. Possible vehicles include construction trucks, police cars, and regular cars. The number of possibilities will have your toddler’s imagination working overtime.
The chunky pieces are designed with round corners for safety and are made from wear resistant and odorless plastic. Older kids will enjoy these as well.
7. Take Apart Toy Set
This set comes with three colorful and imaginative options — an airplane, a race car, and a train. These toys can be taken apart and put back together by your children, helping them with their critical thinking skills. When fully assembled, they do have the ability to roll.
These toys also come with safety in mind. They have no sharp edges for you to worry about. They are made entirely from non-toxic materials and are safe if put into a child’s mouth.
Some parts are quite small, however, so supervision is advised for younger children.
8. Green Toys Pink Dump Truck
This dump truck has a sleek and simple design, with a soft pink color. It rolls back and forth and is made to be the perfect size for a child’s small hands.
The Green Toys company prides itself on being eco-friendly. The truck is manufactured in the U.S., with 100 percent recycled plastic, and is phthalate and BPA-free. It’s even dishwasher safe!
The car is made without any external paints, dyes, or coatings. This makes it safe for both the Earth and the kids who play with it.
9. Friction Powered Bulldozer Truck
This set of five includes a variety of vehicles for your toddler to choose from. They can take their pick of a forklift, bulldozer, cement mixer, dump truck, and a tractor that includes a removable trailer. No batteries are required as these are powered by friction.
The set is made of sturdy, high-quality plastic and they are small enough to be taken anywhere. Pack these little cars in your bag and your toddler will be entertained, no matter where you are.
10. Early Learning Push and Pull Toy
This toy car is modern and sleek in its design. Available in several different colors, this car is created to be easy for youngsters to grab onto. The handle makes pushing and pulling it simple and easy to understand.
The car is about 6.5 inches long and is entirely round and smooth, with no sharp edges or removable parts to worry about.
11. Dinosaur Toy Pull Back Cars
This set comes with six different dino vehicles to play with. The potential for creativity is endless as you have a wide variety of dinosaurs represented here like T-Rex and Triceratops to name a few. These are hand-painted realistic dinosaur cars that are made of non-toxic plastic.
The cars will zoom forward if you simply pull them back first. They are durable and glide easily along the floor. These cars will both stimulate the imagination and encourage the development of hand-eye coordination.
12. Transforming Robot Race Car
Using the included play drill and other tools, your child can transform this super cool race car and mini robot into an equally cool mega robot. This car encourages the use of thinking and problem-solving skills, as the car does not transform on its own.
To create the big robot, you must use parts from the car as well as the mini-robot that also comes included in the set. It’s suitable for ages 3 and upwards, due to some small parts.
13. Design and Drive Lightning McQueen
This interactive toy car allows children to put a spin on the popular character Lightning McQueen. In addition to the traditional Lightning McQueen look, detachable accessories such as glasses and wings are included.
If you have a child who loves the “Cars” movies, they will be delighted to have their own Lightning McQueen to play with. They will have tons of fun recreating their favorite scenes.
The recommended age range is 3–10 years, due to small detachable parts. If your child is on the lower side of this range, you might want to supervise until you’re sure they’re no longer interested in putting toys in their mouth.
14. Disney Pixar Cars Mini Racers 10 Pack
You get 10 mini cars, each with different details but all depicting a different character from the “Cars” movies. The cars are small and easy to handle, and they roll well.
You can use them as cake toppers, although they are also convenient for little party favors as well. A word of warning, though, these really are “mini” cars, 1 to 1.5 inches long, so again not suitable for younger toddlers, unless they’re supervised.
15. Build a Car Kit for Mini Mechanics
This kit comes with its own battery-powered “drill” that can be used to take the pieces of the car apart and put it back together again. This encourages the use of problem-solving skills.
It also comes with other options and can be assembled into a convertible or a classic sports car, with two different sets of wheels. It’s suitable for kids from three years old.
16. Light Up Monster Trucks
This fun and creative set includes two 6-inch monster trucks with large, light-up wheels. They don’t only light up, but they flash on and off, creating a mesmerizing light show. The trucks are battery-operated, however, the batteries are included.
The trucks are easy to operate, with just a push-and-go mechanism. If your toddler likes that light-induced stimulation like mine does, this could be a good choice for you.
17. Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies
These little cars are fast, fun, and totally adorable. They’re a modern version of the classic push-and-go cars that have been around for decades.
This set includes four vehicles — a race car, sports car, police car, and a tow truck. Each car has a cute “Little People” character built-in.
The cars are a collectible item and there are many other characters available. You can collect a bunch and have a whole team of little people racing around.
18. Prextex Car Carrier Toy Truck
This is a versatile toy that has interesting features. It includes a 21” transport truck with a detachable back. The trailer case can accommodate six mini cars. The back doubles as a carrying case, and includes a do-it-yourself take apart race car, complete with a toolset.
This duo will entertain kids for hours as they enjoy the challenge of creating the car themselves. It’s for ages 3 years and over, although I suspect older kids will love this just as much as your 3-year-old.
19. Little People Disney Princess Wheelies
This adorable set of six wheelies from Fisher-Price allows your little girl to roll around with her favorite Disney princesses. The set includes Ariel, Snow White, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Jasmine, and Tiana. Each princess is built into her own colorful, unique car.
The use of recognizable characters will encourage story-telling and fuel the imagination immensely. The vehicles are compatible with the Little People Disney Princess Playset for even more fun.
20. Giant Big Rig Hauler
If your little boy — or girl — is interested in big trucks, check this out. This set includes a large, 26-inch hauler truck that can transport two sports cars on its detachable trailer.
With a realistic touch, it includes a folding tailgate so the cars can roll on and off with ease. The front part of the vehicle even features a turning mechanism for easy steering.
21. Wooden Race Track and Cars
Four mini race cars come with this wooden race track. The wood is BPA-free and stained with non-toxic, water-based paint. The colors are fun and the cars roll up and down the ramps smoothly.
In addition to being fun, this toy is built with education in mind. The ramps are linked together and your child will have to figure out how they work.