When we were kids, tricycles were THE bike. Everyone had one to practice their peddling and cruise the streets with their bike gang. I don't know who first invented balance bikes (I suppose I could look it up), but they changed the game. The idea is that steering and balancing are the difficult part of riding a two-wheel bike; so balance bikes teach these elements, as peddling is simple to achieve once the others are mastered.
Kids move the bike by foot-propulsion and eventually start balancing with their feet up. Kids can start riding these bikes as young as 18 months and it's common for children to transition to a regular two-wheel bike much earlier than if they started on a tricycle.
I was sold when I saw it with my own eyes when my nephew started riding at the ripe age of 3 (AGE 3! Daaaang!) after a year and a half stint on a balance bike. So at 18 months, we bought our son the same bike he used, the Boot Scoot Bopper Bike. It's one of the smallest on the market to start kids young. After a few tries, he cruises and balances and turns heads.
The boo boppin' in the Bopper
I am a big proponent of keeping kids active which is why I fan girl over this bike. If you want your kid moving early on, I highly recommend the Boot Scoot Bike. It's perfect for kids ages 18 months to 2.5 years. If you have an older toddler, they also have the Zoomer for ages 2.5 to 5, and the Cruiser for kids 4 to 6. We haven't tried these bikes personally, but if they are anything like the Bopper, I'm a fan.
Transparency is cool! Just so you know, the links in this article are affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links, Amazon throws a few cents my way (no exaggeration there) at no extra cost to you. Your support helps keep this blog going. And per usual, I only recommend products that I stand behind and this is definitely one of them.