Pull along toys and toddler development PlanToys Dancing Alligator toy

Why Pull-Along Toys Are Great For Baby

For most parents, toys are our go-to solution when we want to keep our little one occupied for a couple of minutes, as we get the much-needed mental and physical break. Truth is that toys play a much bigger role than just entertainment.

Research has shown that toys are instrumental in helping a child realize their strengths, while adapting to the adult world at the same time. It is therefore important that as you choose play toys for your child, choose those toys that encourage growth rather than just entertainment.

Push and pull toys are a great example of toys that are beneficial both for play and growth.

What is the difference between push and pull toys?

Push toys – Great for physical development, push toys can be used when your child is crawling – during tummy time. The baby will learn how to effectively shift their weight to reach the toy. Push toys are also ideal when the baby is learning how to walk, as the toy will encourage movement in your toddler.

Small push toys help in developing a child’s hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, e.g., a car. While big push toys like walkers help in developing their physical strength, balance, and gross motor skills. Examples of push toys include small cars, small paper balls, large balls, riding toys, walkers, and spinning toys.

Pull toys – These toys come in different designs and styles, but they will always have a form of string attached to them, and they will also have wheels to enable pulling. They are timeless as they can serve the purpose of play and learning for a long time. Common examples of pull toys include cars, buses, trucks, trains, dogs, ducks, and even alligators.

Why pull-along toys are important for your child.

Pull-along toys are instrumental in children's development, as they promote the development of a child’s mental, physical, and social skills through play. Some of the benefits include:

  • Helping your child learn cause and effect – As a child pulls a toy behind them, they realise that the toy follows the direction that they are taking. This helps them understand that you can get a certain result when you do a particular thing.
  • Development of fine motor skills – When a child uses their fingers and hands to manipulate a toy, their fine motor skills are developed. The grasping of the cords during play and the pulling is important in developing their hand strength and skill.
  • Their grasp is strengthened – A toy may seem so small and light in weight to an adult, but to a child it requires a lot of strength to pull it. Any pulling exercise will help to strengthen the muscles responsible for mobility, good posture, flexibility, and strength. Strengthening the muscles responsible for good posture ensures the proper functioning of legs, hips, back and neck.
  • They foster independent play – Majority of the time, your toddler will be making some noises as they pull their toy along. This is because they are usually acting out the story that’s playing in their head. Therefore, there need not be another form of play to keep your child occupied.
  • Improves their general body coordination – At the start of using a pull along toy, the toy might topple over severally, or your child might hit themselves with the toy. After a short while, they will master the correct amount of tension required to move the toy along, as they move in more steady and well-coordinated steps. This is multi-tasking, as they will walk properly while keeping the toy upright at the same time.
  • Enhances hand-eye coordination – The clenching of the string on a pull along toy will help your child learn how to better coordinate their eyes and hands. There may be some failed attempts while grasping the string, but eventually a firm grip will be achieved. 

At what age do babies start to pull toys?

At around the age of 15 to 18 months, your child will realise that it’s easier to pull towards themselves an out-of-reach object that has a string attached to it, rather than moving their bodies to get to it.

This is a huge milestone in a child’s brain development, as it’s a lesson on cause and effect. Besides this cognitive development, there will be a lot of learning, e.g., problem solving skills as well as physical growth happening. 

Are pull-along toys good for babies?

Once your toddler is steady and walking without support, it may be time you introduced a pull toy to them. This will be an exciting experience as they will love the challenge that a pull toy offers as compared to push toy.

The pull-along toy will engage different muscles in their bodies – hand muscles will grasp the string; arm muscles will pull it along; and the torso and legs will be balancing and walking. The toddler must also look where they are going, thus providing the perfect combo for gross and fine motor skills development.

Why are push-pull toys good for babies?

Toddlers typically learn how to push before they can pull toys. This is so because pulling requires more coordinated movement, a good amount of strength, and a bit of multi-tasking. Once your toddler is walking, it is best that you introduce a pull toy. Since there is not much difference between the push and the pull toy, it is better to buy toys that can both be pulled and pushed. This will ensure that they grow and develop at an age-appropriate pace.

As a parent, pull toys will give you an easy way to boost your toddler’s skills and confidence. Pulling a toy which typically follows their direction, makes them feel that they are in control. Spatial skills will also be learnt, as the toddler must estimate the distance between themselves and the toy, and where they intend to go. And don't forget, they're tons of fun!


Back to blog