Deals on wheels
Robust First Trike, Pounds 46.95, Hope. Pickle Tricycle, Pounds 199.95, Hope. Toro Three Wheeled Scooter, Pounds 54.99, Hope. Monza Super Go-Cart, Pounds 79.95, Hope. Toddler Trike, Economy Trikes, Hay Cart Wagon, Truck, Pounds 25.95, Pounds 23.95 to Pounds 89.95, Pounds 124.95, Pounds 85, NES Arnold.
Driving may be bad for couch-potato adults but it is one of the best and healthiest ways to get across the nursery playground. Trucks, trailers, trikes and scooters also help to develop self-awareness, to encourage ease of movement and develop co-ordination and balancing skills.
There is much exciting and challenging equipment around. However, many items differ only slightly and the most important considerations when choosing are safety, durability, value and the learning opportunities they offer.
In terms of value for money, one of the best is Pedal Trike manufactured by Brian Clegg and available in certain areas from the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation, otherwise try your local supplier. This trike is robust, sturdy, well-designed and a bestseller.
The same manufacturer's Scooter Cart encourages pushing movements, since the intention is for one child to ride while the other pushes. The versatile Loopy is a toy which can be propelled in any direction or can rotate on the spot, which encourages good co-ordination.
Galt equipment has a reputation for durability, quality and attention to detail, and the company has now extended its Sturdy Trike range, which not only exercises small limbs but also encourages co-operative play. The Multi Sit'n'Ride tricycle seats up to three or four children who all help propel it. Multi-passenger vehicles also make it less easy for one over-enthusiastic toddler on his or her turbo-charged trike to take over the play area.
Also good value from Galt is Toro Trike and Pickup which can be used for imaginary shopping trips when goods have to be collected, lifted and delivered. Such trips may lighten imaginary bank balances but they do strengthen leg, feet and arm muscles.
Heron Educational says its Rabo products are among the strongest available. Frames are guaranteed for five years and there is a full spares back-up. All its products suit youngsters from three to six years, so the larger nursery child is well catered for.
The Rabo Taxi develops communication and co-operation and encourages imaginative play. The Rabo Transit Flyer is strong enough to carry a passenger as its truck load - great fun, good for taking turns and for developing trust and confidence.
Hope's sturdy Viking Cycle Rower strengthens arms by encouraging pushing and pulling and by providing the stimulus of an alternative to pedalling.
Hope also supplies a Rhino Rider and Trailer which can serve as a passenger train, taxi, or any other vehicle of the child's imagination. The trailer has a wide foot platform and a foam grab handle for safety.
One of Hope's latest products is the Quickly-Passenger Trike - a robust single seater, complete with wooden platform for a passenger. A pick-up trailer can be purchased separately to carry an additional passenger.
Hope offers bikes, trikes and scooters to suit different ages and sizes. The Robust First Trike with its low step is for those new to wheels while the Pickle Tricycle is for the older nursery child. Its new Toro is a sturdy scooter with three wheels for added confidence.
Every nursery needs at least one go-cart and Hope's Monza Super Go-Cart seems sturdy and has its chain enclosed in an under-side safety box.
A wooden Toddler Trike available only from NES Arnold, is among the most hard-wearing available. The company has a wide range of economy trikes at competitive prices. Some exciting products include the Hay Cart Wagon, which has an end panel and side slats to avoid the frustration of precious goodies falling out.
New for '96 from NES Arnold is a distinctive tough plastic Truck. This vehicle comes in black and red, complete with tailgate, opening door, "off-road" wheels, opening fuel cap, and - you have been warned - a working horn.