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, a Strider 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' along in her Strider
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 a Strider balance bike. It's perfect for kids ages 18 months to 2.5 years. They also have a lighter weight version that you can add pedals to when your child is ready.. 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.