Is a rocking horse good for toddlers?
There are so many items you might use for your baby that have remained popular throughout history. Whether it's a Moses basket that has cradled babies for millennia or a parasol to keep your baby shaded and secure during those hot summer days, these iconic items have stood the test of time. Perhaps no toy is as historically well known as the rocking horse. If you are considering adding one to your nursery, you may wonder - is a rocking horse good for toddlers? We take a look at this nursery legend and assess why you might want to bring one home with you.
How long have rocking horses been around?Cute rocking horses are older thank you might think! While your mum or grandma perhaps had one in their nursery, rocking horses actually date back to the Middle Ages. They weren’t quite the toy you see today. In fact, they were hobby horses (still a popular toy for older children now) that comprises a horse's head on a stick. Of course, a hobby horse wouldn’t be suitable for your toddler, and these toys evolved to become a barrel horse, which was a log with legs and a head attached to mimic the look of a horse.
A Victorian innovationMoving forward, rocking horses as we know them now began to be seen in the 17th century when rockers were first introduced. However, these were entirely made of wood and were so heavy that they could easily fall over - which made them rather unsafe for toddlers. Don’t worry! With the Victorian age came the idea of the safety stand, and rocking horses only got better and better after this, with additions being provided to create the diverse range of rocking horses you see today. You may have seen that these toys are even popular with the royal family.
When can a rocking horse be introduced?A rocking horse might be a legend of the playroom, but when is it safe to introduce one to your child? This can depend on the kind of rocking horse you choose. A plush rocking horse with a backrest can be fun for your little one from the age of twelve months up, just in time for those toddler times! During this time, you will want to make sure that you are supporting your child while they sit, as their balance and gross motor skills are still in the early stages of development. Wait until they are eighteen months old and can sit and hold the reins without help to feel more confident about letting them have fun on their horsey. However, you should always supervise playtime, and ensure they are on a soft and even surface in case of any unexpected falls.
The developmental benefits of rocking horsesWould you believe that the humble rocking horse hasn’t just remained as a nursery staple due to its cute and timeless look? It is also a fantastic and fun way for your baby to develop their balance, as they will need to use core strength and gross motor skills to remain sitting upright. Learning how to hold onto the handlebars and rocking back and forth build on these further. This also introduces their brains to the concept of rhythm, and fast and slow movements. Not only that, but their visual skills are improved by watching the world around them as they move.
The emotional benefits of rocking horsesWhile the mental and physical development offered by rocking horses are amazing, your little one can also benefit emotionally. The gentle rocking motion of the horse can be very soothing to them, helping to regulate their emotions and provide a sense of calm - this can be a great way to calm them after more frenetic and excitable play. And if you opt for a plush rocking horse, the soft and comforting feeling of the “fur” beneath their hands gives your toddler an even better sensory experience.
Variations on a classicNowadays, rocking horses don’t just have to mean the classic pony version. You can find all sorts of rocking horses to suit your child and nursery or playroom aesthetic. Of course, sweet plush ponies are still lovely, but you can also choose a sturdy wooden rocking horse. And now there are so many other kinds of animals that perform the same rocking function - you can even find mammoths, giraffes, and sheep! We have a soft spot for the original rocking horse, but you can select yours based on colours, animal type, or material. Or even see if there is an old vintage rocking horse in your family that has survived through the decades that can be passed down.
Is a rocking horse good for toddlers?So, is a rocking horse good for toddlers during playtime? As we have seen, a rocking horse is a wonderful addition to any nursery or playroom, and a wonderful gift for toddlers seeking gentle fun. It can even help to improve their balance! At For Your Little One, we have a range of wonderful toys perfect for engaged and safe play, allowing you full peace of mind when your child is at play. With practical and playful items available, you are spoiled for choice, and you can get everything you need for your growing newborn, baby or toddler with fast UK delivery that is free on orders over £50. As a family company, we know how important it is to make sure your children have the best, and our high quality and competitively priced essentials can make it easy. Explore our full selection, whether you want to pick up a classic rocking horse or other play items, or a pram that can grow with you.