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  • Choosing Your First Balance Bike

    Many parents opt to introduce their child to a balance bike instead of a normal bicycle with stabilizers. A balance bike, as the name suggests, encourages the rider to concentrate on developing their balance, before they learn how to turn a pedal.

    A balance bike looks a lot like a normal bike, but has no pedals or chain to drive the bike forward. In fact it's possible to make your own balance bike simply by removing the pedals, chain and mechanism from a normal bike.

    However, purpose built balance bikes are usually lighter and better proportioned, and are a worthwhile investment for training younger riders to balance on two wheels.

    Size Just as with a regular bike, getting the size right should be your number on #e priority. Your child should be able to get at least one, if not both feet flat on the floor while seated on the bike. Buying a bike they can grow into will typically lead to disappointment, as your child will be enthusiastic to get riding right away.

    Material Balance bikes come in a variety of designs and prices. Plastic bikes are usually the cheaper, and lightest, but least durable, whereas fiberglass is also lightweight, but will last much longer. Wooden bikes are popular as they are attractive. Larger balance bikes for older or taller children tend to be metal. Both wood and metal degrade if left outside in the rain.

    Number Of Wheels Some balance bikes are convertible from trikes. Starting out on a trike helps the child learn about propelling themselves forward. Then once a decent amount of speed is achieved, the two rear wheels are pushed into the centre, to create a two wheel balance bike.

    Steering Younger children may benefit from a locked front wheel. The wheel spins at the same rate as the back wheel, but the handlebars don't turn to change direction. This is useful for younger children for a number of reasons. First, holding handlebars straight on regular boles, requires a lot of upper body strength and concentration. Taking this out of the equation lets younger kids concentrate on just balancing the bike upright.

    Value For Money Depending on the age of your child when they receive the balance bike, they may not be using it for long before they are ready to progress to a regular cycle with pedals. Investing in a durable balance bike, will enable you to pass it along to a younger child, or sell it on, once the bike has been outgrown. All of our balance bikes come with a three year warranty.

    Brakes Some balance bikes come with brakes, others don't. There are two ways of thinking about this. Perhaps you don't want your child to get used to stopping their bike with the tips of their shoes, and want them to learn how to use the brakes from day one. On the other hand, maybe you know you're child will use stop by putting their foot down, so would rather wait and introduce them to brakes when they are old enough for a normal bike.

    Once you're balance bike arrives, check out our earlier blog post on how to ride a balance bike.

  • Learning To Ride With A Balance Bike

    If like me, you learnt how to ride a bike by starting with a trike, then progressing to a bike with stabilizers, you might be feeling a bit puzzled about how a balance bike works.

    These lightweight pedal-less bikes offer an alternative way of learning to ride, and are easier for younger children to use.


    Many children now start off with a balance bike, a lightweight frame, with no pedal of or chain mechanism. The child sits on the seat, then scoots along with their feet, enabling them learn to balance, before they learn to pedal.

    Since many parents don't have first hand experience of learning to ride this way, Wicken Toys are here to help with these top tips to help your child with their new balance bike.

    1. Get The Timing Right It's important to wait until your child is developmentally ready, and enthusiastic to give the balance bike a try. Some children as young as two years old take to the bikes with ease, others are still apprehensive at five. It depends on your child's individual physical development and natural temperament.

    2. Set A Good Example Children like to copy whatever their parents do whether it's using the TV remote, or cooking dinner. You can encourage bike riding, by going to safe open space, where you can enjoy a bike ride together

    3. Watch How It's Done There are plenty of videos on YouTube of young children learning how to ride a balance bike. If your child is a visual learner, they may find watching how it's done helpful, and the videos may provide you with a few ideas on how to help them too.

    4. Practice Falling Nobody wants to fall off their bike, but at sometime everyone looses their balance and takes a tumble. You can help your child by teaching them how to notice when they are off balance. Start on some soft springy grass, you can even place cushions either side of them. Start with both feet on the ground, then tell your child to lift them up briefly, then put them back down. Ask them to notice how the bike wobbles and feels like it is tipping to one side. Now they need to lift both feet up, feel which way the bike is tipping, and catch the fall by putting the correct foot back to down on the ground.

    5. Learn About Pedaling Since balance bikes don't teach about pedaling, it can be useful to show your child some pedals in action, either on your bike, on an exercise bike, or they can get plenty of practice by riding a go-Karts.

    6. Practice Observing Boundaries Now is a good time to teach them about how far they can go away from you when you are out in public. Set a limit on how far ahead they may scoot, or whereabouts in the park they can go. Build in a safety border so if they go beyond the limit you have time to catch up to them before they are in any danger.

    For more tips and ideas on outdoor play, check out the rest of the Wicken Toys blog.

  • Balance Bike Or Stabiliser: The best route to learning to cycle

    The traditional way to learn to ride a bike is to start with a small bike with stabilsers on it. It worked for us, so why wouldn't it work for our children?

    It Was Good Enough For Me

    Well there are a lot of things that worked for our generation that turned out not to be such a good idea, like strapping your baby into a carry cot on the back seat instead of carseat, or eating turkey twizzlers every day after school, so perhaps a different method for learning to ride would work better.

    Stabilisers Do Not Teach Cycling

    Stabilisers give children the opportunity to learn how to pedal, and that's about all. Everything else when riding a bike will be totally different once the stabilisers are removed: * The bike will move faster; * You need to use your core muscles to balance the bike; * You need to lean when steering; * The bike falls on you when you stop, if you forget to put your foot down.

    Stabilisers Are Not Fun

    Besides from the fact that training wheels aren't the best educational tool, they also suck the fun out of riding a bike: * They make you go really slow; * Whenever you come up to uneven ground the bike rocks scarily from side to side; * You can get beached with the stabilisers on the ground but the back wheel slightly off it, spinning around with no traction. All these interruptions to the fun of riding could put your child off cycling altogether.

    Balance Bikes Give Freedom

    Using a balance bike is comparable to riding a scooter. There's no learning to be done, or instructions needed: children sit on the seat and instinctively swing their legs to scoot along the floor, while using their body to balance the bike. Balance bikes glide over bumps in the road, and never need a push from mum or dad to gather momentum. Compare this effortless freedom to the stop-start ride offered by training wheels and you can see why more and more parents are turning to balance bikes for their child's first set of wheels.

    Balance bikes offer young kids the opportunity to move at the same pace as the adults and older children, which is great for enjoying a family bike ride, or speeding up an on-foot commute to school.

    Handlebar Safety

    Besides balance bikes being more fun, many have a built in safety feature for young children. When riding a regular bike fixed with training wheels, it is possible to turn the handlebar too sharply and wither come to an abrupt stop, or topple the bike over. Many training bikes are built without this full range of movement in the handlebars, so you can turn it enough to change direction, but can't swivel the bars back on themselves and crash. This is great for when young children are learning to ride, but remember when you upgrade to a regular bike, your child will need to familiarise themselves with the new range of movement in the steering.

    Wicken toys stock a range of Kettler balance bikes here >>>

  • Lighter nights mean kids on balance bikes


    Now that the clocks have gone forward, it is a great time to start thinking about getting your toddler ready to learn how to ride a bike. Lighter evenings are a perfect opportunity to introduce your child to a small set of wheels which will begin to increase their abilities and most importantly, boost their confidence ready for the next step towards bike riding.

    There are many reasons why choosing a balance bike over a normal bike could prove beneficial for your child and their bike riding.

    ·         Balance bikes don’t rely on stabilisers unlike a normal starter bike. Without these your child’s independence and confidence will grow as they avoid becoming too reliant on them. It won’t be as scary for them as there is no big moment when the stabilisers have to come off and it is like learning to ride a bike all over again. As they move up to a bigger normal bike, it is unlikely that they will even notice the difference.

    • Balance bikes are available for as young as two years old meaning that you can get your child into riding a bike from a very young and quick-learning age. When you’re young you haven’t developed as many irrational fears and arguably, you are a lot more adventurous. So encourage them not to be afraid and instead, enjoy bike riding.


    • As the name demonstrates, these bikes encourage excellent balancing abilities; a great skill to develop at such a young age. Maybe your child could go on to become a gymnast.


    We have several wonderful balance bikes among our selection of wheeled products here at Wicken Toys.

    Kettler Speedy Balance Bike in blue

    This Kettler Speedy is a great choice for a first-timer and fantastic value for money. It has been designed to withstand lots of tumbles with its high-quality frame in scratch resistant polyester coating and synthetic tyres filled with foam. It also has a foam protector on the safety handles, child-sized hand brakes, and height-adjustable padded seats (ideal for those sudden growth spurts).

    Kettler Run Air Layana balance bike

    If you have a higher price range and something a bit fancier in mind, then take a look at our Kettler Run Air Layana. This has adopted standard features from other Kettler bikes of its kind along with its own more advanced characteristics. It also has a sturdy parking stand, air filled tyres, and easy access frame, and an ergonomic seat.

    Feel free to contact us for more information about all of our product ranges.


  • Beat the Christmas shopping rush with Wicken Toys

    Christmas blogging in October? We must be out of our minds! But wait; there is method to our madness...


    Wicken Toys has been in the business of playtime for a long time and we know better than most outdoor toy suppliers the importance of getting Christmas shopping lists ticked off early. Unless you enjoy the Christmas rush in December and the queuing, the cold weather and the increased pricing, we’ll bet that you would actually prefer to avoid it at all costs.


    When you order with Wicken Toys you get your outdoor toys delivered direct to your door saving you the trouble of having to do all that running about in the last few days before Christmas Day.


    We’ve already begun to give you our list of recommendations for the ideal Christmas presents this year, some of which you can read HERE. To continue with our suggestions might we direct you towards the following gift ideas for the kids this year:


    For children 2 years+ it’s good to give them something that gets them active and keeps them mobile for playtime outside. Our trikes for girls and boys are always a winner.


    For him

    This KETTLER Top Trike Air Fly offers maximum comfort thanks to the use of large air tyres and ball bearing hubs.  A safety harness for the younger children is optional too. What makes this trike particularly special is that its unique frame design can be adjusted and extended to grow with your child. Technically, your child will not “grow-out” of this trike for a long time. It’s a worthwhile investment, and as long as they enjoy riding on it, you can’t really go wrong.




    For her

    The KETTLER Run Air Layana Balance Bike tops the range with an innovative easy access frame design, ergonomic padded seat, wire wheels and all the other standard features from the other models in the range.  It’s a really snazzy and sleek design with a purely pink coating, ideal for young girls.



    For boys and girls

    Nothing beats the bounce of a great trampoline for the juniors. This Plum 6ft Trampoline Enclosure is ideal as a first trampoline for children ages 3-10. It helps to increase and build up the confidence of the kids whilst providing a safe and fun experience for them.


    This is a great introduction to trampolines for children and it comes in both blue and pink.




     Wicken Toys is devoted to offering safe, quality and fun outdoor toys and games for children of all ages from climbing frames to garden swings to bicycles to sledges. We’re making Christmas easier on the parents this year and a lot more enjoyable for the kids.


    Contact Us for more information on any of our outdoor toy ranges.

  • Burn some rubber with Wicken Toys...


    Anyone with any experience of being around kids at all knows they always seem to be on the move. Of course we want to encourage keeping our kids active to improve their health in later life, but keeping up with such high-speed fun and making sure they don't run into any harm can often be a tiring challenge for some parents.


    Thankfully though, there is a solution. A sit on tricycle or go-kart will keep your kids entertained for hours on end and let them get the exercise they need without wearing you out too. Brightly coloured go-karts and trikes make it easier to keep a watchful eye on your child safely at play without having to follow them at every step of the way.


    Not just that though, trikes and go-karts also fast become one of the most cherished toys for any child, whether male or female and whatever the age. As the trikes and go-karts at Wicken Toys are really built to last from sturdy reinforced plastic and are covered by warranty for several years, they are also one of the best value and most appreciated presents you can buy your children.


    It's worth mentioning too that learning to ride a tricycle or go-kart is a good first step towards teaching your child to ride a bike; a useful skill which could come in handy later in life and help them keep fit.


    Start off by introducing them to one of Wicken Toys large range of tricycles, built for the smaller kids out there from 2 years and up. Models in the range start from just £39.99 to suit all budgets and are available in an array of colours from candy pink to racy red and black. There are even 'gender-neutral' colour combinations on offer so you'll be able to pass the tricycle down to younger brothers and sisters once your eldest outgrows it. Each of the trikes in the range can also be used with a freewheel facility and 'parent pole' so you can guide the trike if your child is too tired to peddle while out on a walk.

    Once your little one outgrows their trike and wants to go peddling off on their own round the park or garden, it’s time to move on to one of Wicken Toys adventurous go-karts. Start with one of the models aimed at younger children such as the bright red Kettler Melbourne for 3-5 year olds; a sturdy-framed 4 wheeler featuring an adjustable seat, non-slip peddles and dual action brakes.

    Bigger kids aged up to 8 would be more suited to larger models such as the Daytona Air kart, with the same features as the Melbourne, plus high performance air tyres and an impact absorption strip in the backrest. This kart offers a more comfortable ride for older kids reaching higher speeds, meaning a bumpier ride, while the noise-reducing air tyres keep neighbours happy.

    Pre-teens can then move on to the Indianapolis Air or Kettquad Air karts, in racy black and red or orange colour schemes with fiery flame detailing on the paintwork for an ultra-cool look. The Indianapolis model features ball bearing wheels and longer bike cranks to increase traction and keep the kart from turning over even at speed, while the Kettquad model has a heightened seat position and off-road tires designed for rougher kart tracks. Both models additionally feature an enhanced sporty frame to support larger riders.

    In fact once they outgrow these final karts, within what seems like no time at all they'll be driving for real! What better reason than that to cherish their childhood years by giving them a toy they'll enjoy playing with day after day, month after month, year after year?


    Feel free to browse our ranges on the Wicken Toys site or Contact Us for further details.

  • Let’s ride! Children’s bicycle adventures this summer


    Anyone who remembers watching ET for the first time will recall the infectious wonder and magic experienced when seeing that bicycle take off for the first time; a beautiful moment that has since become an iconic image recognised around the world. Never has the adventurous spirit of children been so perfectly captured on film – and the film’s portrayal of children getting everywhere on bicycles led to a massive resurgence and demand for children’s bikes that year.


    The reason we mention this is because ET helped to get bicycles back into the hearts and minds of children as not just a way of getting around but also as vehicles for adventure. Wicken Toys has always been a firm believer in outdoor toys acting as both fun entertainment for kids and good exercise.



    Bicycles give children an independence that is very important at the developing ages and before puberty kicks in. It allows them to get to school, make paper rounds, go riding with friends, cycle around the block at weekends, have races in the park, and most importantly of all, give them a healthy day out where they are exercising in the open air.


    This summer we are encouraging parents to get their kids back on the bikes or teach them how to ride so they can eventually take off down the street on their own. Learning how to ride a bike is an important rites-of-passage for any child.


    We suggest starting them off with Balance Bikes. These have become hugely popular in the last few years in the UK promoting balance, co-ordination and confidence in children learning to ride.


    A balance bike provides the opportunity for children to feel stable and confident before moving onto the "real" thing. This range offers a wide choice to suit all needs including budgets.


    The Kettler Speedy Balance Bike is perhaps the best value for money with foam filled synthetic tyres and rubber tread, rear brake and safety handles with foam protector. Ideal for children 2 years and up.


    The Kettler Sprint Air Princess is more suited to girls sporting the same features as the Speedy Balance. It’s light, easy to assemble, extremely safe to learn on and it comes in pink so that reluctant little princesses might be more encouraged to try it out. Once again the age is 2 years and up.



    The Kettler Run Air collection (for both boys and girls) tops the range with an innovative easy access frame design, ergonomic padded seat, wire wheels and all the other standard features from the other models in the range. They are perfect for children to learn on.



    Seek out the Balance Bike most suitable for your child and set them on the path to independence and adventure this summer. For more information on our bicycles please contact us and we’ll help you pick the right bike for your little ‘uns!

  • Boys will be boys with outdoor toys


    When the boys are at that particular age where they hit their peak of energy and enthusiasm for playtime, many parents find that peak will plateau and continue to last for a long time. This is part of growing up... and growing up can be a difficult experience when there is too much energy for them to expel and not enough challenges for them to exert it upon. Continue reading

  • Keeping traditional toys alive – the countdown to Christmas begins here at Wicken Toys!


    We’ve been counting down the days to Christmas with all the excitement and anticipation of a 6 year old child on Christmas Eve! There’s no time quite like the festive season where families come together to spend a few days in each other’s company, exchange gifts, enjoy giant roasts and watch some Xmas specials on the old telly. Continue reading

  • Get on your bike for the wheel deal


    As one of the biggest outdoor toy retailers in the country, we at Wicken Toys specialise in some of the most fun outdoor toys to get children fit and active all year round. Apart from the impending arrival of Halloween and Bonfire Night, October can mean only one thing: that Christmas is inching nearer and nearer with every passing second. Christmas is the time for getting your children their first bike.


    Learning to ride a bike is one of the most fun milestones of childhood. The moment you start to learn to ride a bike is the moment you experience your first taste of independence in the wide old world; it’s the moment where a child feels liberated and grown-up for the first time as they pedal off under their own steam (or feet).


    It’s not without its tears and recriminations, of course. No matter how fast a learner the child is, there are always falls and tears and us, the doting parents, telling the bikes off to make our children feel better when they come tumbling off onto the concrete. Well, Wicken Toys has a range of balance bikes and trikes to ease children into the great outdoors and the trials and tribulations of learning to ride.


    Trikes are the easiest way into getting kids excited about riding from a young age. They give your children stability while encouraging them to start to ride for themselves. The Kettler Supertrike from Wicken Toys is fantastic value for money as toddler’s first trike. It comes with a parent pole for parents to keep control of the bike around busy areas; it also features a sturdy tubular steel frame that brings important durability to the trike. The red and yellow colour-combo also makes it a great unisex trike for boys and girls alike.



    If your child is slightly older and looking to establish themselves as a bike pro, our range of balance bikes help to teach children the importance of balancing in riding a bike successfully. They help to build a child’s confidence and prepare them for the more difficult step of balancing, pedalling and steering all in one go. (A daunting task for anyone learning outdoors for the first time!)


    The Kettler Run Air Fly balance bike makes learning to ride a bike outdoors an absolute breeze for eager children. This easy-to-assemble balance bike would make a great gift for kids who might be nervous about riding. It comes with air tyres for maximum comfort, an ergonomic and comfortable seat and a scratch-resistant coating on the frame. The handlebars are cushioned with foam padding and there is a durable parking stand to prop the bike up between use. Balance bikes teach children the basics and help to develop their coordination for when they take up the real thing.



    If you’re unsure of the right choice for your child this Christmas and you live locally, you can pop down to Wicken Toys to see our outdoor toys display, where we have a huge range of balance bikes, trikes, garden swings, climbing frames and other exciting outdoor toys to get children energised  for the great outdoors.

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