The 7 Best Pull Toys to Buy in 2018

Encourage gross motor skills with these top picks

hape-pull-toy

Courtesy of Amazon

In the age of plastics and electronics, the classic pull toy still ranks high on the list of must-have baby and toddler toys. In fact, this type of entertainment—a rolling toy attached to a string that a child pulls behind them—dates back to ancient Greek and Egypt when pull toys were made of clay. The first pull toys manufactured stateside were made from tin and cast iron, which segued into wood as the toy went mainstream. Today, parents can purchase pull toys for their children made from wood,...MORE plastic and bioplastics (manufactured from natural materials like cornstarch).

Pull toys are perfect for walkers and toddlers, as they encourage a new independence of mobility and exploration. Pull toys help strengthen a child's leg muscles by encouraging him to walk more, and the act of pulling something behind him introduces balance. There are also pull toys that come with sensory learning tools that encourage brain development in babies and young children. Choose the best pull toy for your child by assessing his age and play needs for his given stage of development.

  • Best Overall: Plan Toys' Dancing Alligator

    Plan Toys has always been an advocate of green living. In fact, their manufacturing processes demonstrate the three "r's": reduce, reuse, and recycle. So, no wonder this eco-friendly alligator tops our list. Made from a wood composite material manufactured from remnants of other toys the company makes, the Plan Toys' Dancing Alligator is BPA free. This pull toy is perfect for small children who will love the clickety-clack sound the alligator makes as it strolls behind them. Big kids will get a kick out of this low-tech toy, too, as it wiggles and moves when pulled (no batteries needed). It's a fair price for a good wooden toy that does much more than just roll. 

  • Best Classic: Fisher-Price's Retro Chatter Telephone

    Any 70s child remembers the good 'ole Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone. This updo of a true classic has the same design as when it was first manufactured in 1961. Remember the chatter phone's eyes roll up and down, the mouth talks and the phone makes a ringing sound when the rotary is dialed. Great for new walkers who can pull the stable design alongside them, and then take a break when they want to make a call (after they recognize it's a phone, that is). This phone encourages pretend play in an era of cell phones and is a lovely way to incorporate some old-fashion fun with a retro classic. One reviewer noted, " ... you don't always need all the fancy hi-tech toys to amuse your child. Simple is sometimes better."

  • Sailing Boat,Wooden Boat,Pull Along Toy, Birthday gift, Christmas gift, Gift for Kids, Personalised gift

    Best Handcrafted: WoodenFrogLV's Sailing Boat Pull Along Toy

    A crafted-to-order wooden boat pull toy built from ash wood makes a special gift for a new arrival. The wood dye used on this boat is made from renewable and biodegradable raw materials and the uncolored boat parts are treated with linseed (flaxseed) oil. Additionally, the cords that mount the sail to the mast are made of linen and free of dyes, making this the best non-toxic option for baby. And while a baby may need some time to grow into this model (it's recommended for age three and up), adding his name, for personalization, will make it a great decor piece until he's big enough to pull it. 

  • Best Budget: Cubbie Lee's Zebra Wooden Push & Pull-Along Toy

    This wooden pull toy is crafted from sustainable wood and is 6 inches in height. The Zebra Wooden Pull-Along Toy meets the highest standard in toy safety and comes with a five-year warranty. Designed for little hands to hold and pull along behind them, this toy is ideal for the new walker. The easy-grip cut out section allows a baby to manipulate the toy's movement by pushing it. And the wheels permit him to navigate around obstacles, while he explores along his walk. This zebra is recommended for ages twelve months and up. One reviewer raves, "The zebra pull-along toy is sturdy, colorful, and just the right size for toddlers. It’s smooth action and safe cord length make it an excellent choice for any young child."

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  • Best for a Crawler: Hape's Walk-A-Long Snail Toddler Wooden Pull Toy

    This pull toy puts an emphasis on learning and, in typical Hape fashion, is made of 100 percent non-toxic wood. The snail carries three brightly colored shaped blocks in its shell. The three blocks match back to their corresponding shaped hole, allowing kids to advance their cognitive skills when it's not in tow. As an added bonus, the shape sorter section of the snail can be removed from its base for sit-and-play action for the crawler. This toy encourages movement with its short string that's perfect for older infants who still spend time lower to the ground. The recommended age is 12 months to 4 years. A happy reviewer said, "This Hape walk-a-long snail is a very impressive toy. The quality and function are excellent and my one-year-old grandson absolutely loves it. "

  • Pull & Discover Activity Elephant

    Best for a Toddler: Pull & Discover's Activity Elephant

    This parent favorite puts a fun spin on a pull toy. Pull & Discover's Activity Elephant includes light-up buttons that teach shapes, colors, and numbers. And a shape sorter enables your toddler to work on their hand-eye coordination by matching the blocks to the shaped holes. An interactive dial spins and calls out animal sounds, fun phrases, and music, too. This is a great pull toy for little walkers who are at a stage where they need a challenge. The suggested age for this pull toy is 12 to 36 months. One purchaser noted added details, "My daughter loves that [this toy] has wheels that roll back and forth and she loves how [the elephant's] ears move back and forth as she pulls him."

  • Best for Dog Lovers: Fisher-Price's Brilliant Basics 'Lil Snoopy

    A non-battery-operated puppy recommended for ages 12 months to 3 years, this pull toy is a modern take on the brand's classic Snoppy. When pulled, the dog's head turns, the ears wiggle, and he also barks. 'Lil Snoopy even wags his tail! The well-thought-out design encourages the newest of walkers to develop their fine and gross motor skills. A reviewer who purchased 'Lil Snoopy reminisces, "Cute and classic. It even makes the same pull-toy noises that I remember from childhood."

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