Steering toys for toddlers put them in the driver’s seat and can pass the time nicely during long car rides or at home. They’re a fun toy for pretend play while still helping kids build hand strength, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. In my opinion (and my toddlers), these are some of the best toys for toddler to play in the car with.
How To Choose The Best Steering Toy
Every person picking a toy steering wheel for their child will have different priorities, so before diving into this list I urge you to consider:
- Where do we plan to use this? If you want it as a car seat toy for road trips or travel, then skip the wooden picks on this list and opt for one’s that will fit in your child’s lap comfortably.
- What skills matter most to me? While most steering wheels will work some degree of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination some do it more than others. Look for a variety of skills beyond pushing and turning the wheel if that matters to you. Additionally, more analog wooden picks will foster deeper concentration and more pretend-play while the light up, battery powered one’s typically have more learning modes with letters and numbers built in.
- Annoyance level: What’s your tolerance for noise? Some of the picks have no sound, others have volume controls, and others just go full blast as long as they have working batteries.
Best Steering Wheel Toys For Toddlers
Best Overall: Battat – Interactive Steering Wheel
The Battat – Interactive Steering Wheel wins best overall steering wheel toy for toddlers thanks to the fact it’s actually a portable car toy that lets your toddler drive alongside you, well priced, and appropriate for a wide age range. While it doesn’t offer the best features or highest quality on this list, it’s going to be the best pick for most families.
It’s rated safe for 2 year olds and up with some fantastic features:
- Revving engine when you turn the key
- Honkable horn
- Moving odometer when you shift gears while making speedy sounds
- Working turn signal lights
- 2 Built-in songs
- Game mode for learning colors and playing red light, green light on the wheel!
- Adjustable volume level
It beat out the B. Toys Woofer’s Musical Driving wheel is a great runner up and slightly cheaper option. It offers similar features (adjustable volume, blinkers, horn, turn key), but it doesn’t have an odometer or game mode. Instead has a music mode with five songs and different sounds like a siren. We preferred the interactivity and additional features of the Battat though.
Best Quality + Most Educational Wooden Toy Steering Wheel: Motor Mechanic
While this steering wheel toy is the most expensive on the list, it also includes the most unique features and truly hands-on educational experience for kids.
The toy car set up allows your child to turn into a real mechanic while working fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, strength, and dexterity. Or it doubles as an analog sit-on toy for younger kids or older children.
It includes a turnable steering wheel, gear change, step-down breaks and accelerator, a horn, turnable car key, radio, rotating side mirrors, and air conditioner. The wooden hood even lifts up with support and a screw jack to store the different accessories. All of the knobs on the dashboard also move and twist around.
It comes with several tools and screws for kids to change the tire and pretend to be a real mechanic!
In other words: this is a beautiful, well made, non-toxic, wooden car with loads of interactive components to put your kid(s) in the driver seat and role of mechanic.
It’s sustainably made in Thailand with chemical-free rubberwood, formaldehyde-free glue, and organic pigments and water-based dyes.
NOTE: If you are okay with plastic and prefer a budget alternative with a similar set up, we suggest this pick.
Best For Baby: VTech Turn and Learn Driver
If you have a baby on the cusp of toddlerhood, you’ll love that the VTech Turn and Learn Driver is rated safe for 6 month olds and should last until about 3 years old making it a great steering wheel toy to grow with your child.
Even though it’s for the youngest toddlers and babies on your list, it packs a serious punch in features with a gear shift, signal level, side view mirror, five colorful, interactive buttons, three play modes (animal, driving, or music), AND over 60 fun songs, sounds, and phrases built in!
Parents will be happy to know there are three sound settings (none, low, high).
While it offers the least realistic feel of all the toy steering wheels on this list, it does feature bright colors, cute pictures, and lights that are sure to entice babies and toddlers – but may also be overstimulating which is why the Battat – Interactive Steering Wheel is still our top pick if your toddler is old enough for it.
Best Educational Preschool Games Steering Wheel: VTech Race & Learn Driver
If you’re looking for the steering wheel toy with the most educational games, that simultaneously offers the most realistic experience, look no further than VTech Race & Learn Driver.
Suitable for older toddlers and preschoolers ages 3 to 6 years old, this steering wheel toy is packed with 20 educational games for kids to work on spelling, counting, problem solving, and more. The screen feels like a video game where the car races around the streets, need to avoid hazards, and more.
It comes with all the basic steering wheel toy features too: turn signals, horn, and gear shifter. With additional features like a radio that plays traffic reports, a realistic dashboard for kids to “take calls” or check the map. All in all it’s easily the most interactive, fun, and educational pick on this list.
The only reasons it didn’t win “best overall” is due to the older age range (better suited for older kids and preschoolers), no volume controls, and that it may or may not fit in some children’s laps while in a car seat.
Most Montessori Busy Board Style Steering Wheel(s)
If you’re looking for a montessori style busy board steering wheel there are a few things I want to talk about:
Wooden busy boards are great for toddlers working on fine motor skills and concentration. Most of the montessori steering wheel busy boards can be found on Amazon, Walmart, and Etsy from resellers. These are often quite affordable compared to other wooden steering wheel picks on this list as they are made in China and usually not the best materials like this one.
That doesn’t mean these are bad or not worth buying by any means! They are usually a great aesthetic, not too overstimulating, and still very educational.
I’m sharing all of this with you though so you can click the price check buttons below, which will take you to a search page with LOADS of options that look the same – and now you’ll understand why.
As a montessori mom myself, I’d probably have gotten this one when my toddler was about 18 months – but keep in mind these often don’t go through the same safety regulations and may have choking hazards so you may be better off with other picks on this list depending on what is most important to you and how safe you feel.
Most Popular Wooden Steering Wheel Toy: Melissa & Doug Vroom & Zoom Interactive Wooden Dashboard
Melissa & Doug’s Wooden dashboard steering toy is top in class with all of the features and durability in mind. You can choose from their classic version or their Paw Patrol one.
The Classic Includes:
- Steering wheel mounted on wooden dashboard
- Sound effects
- Scrolling GPS
- Key turn starter
- Gear shift
- Radio with 4 stations
- Adjustable heat and A/C vents
- Turn signal, hazard, and headlight indicators
- Sports mode
- Gas tank on a turn-dial timer to count-down for the next refill
- Gas Cap
The Paw Patrol one also includes the scrolling GPS, turn key start, horn, and gear shift. But also features a few unique Paw Patrol specific items: 3 double-sided “windshield” mission cards that clip onto the dashboard and 3 language choices with phrases relating to the characters instead of the radio. You can also record and play back voice messages.
The biggest con with this steering wheel toy is that it’s a bit large and bulky to place in your toddlers lap while actually in their carseat if they wanted to pretend drive alongside you.
Check Paw Patrol Pricing:
Portable Character Steering Wheels: Cocomelon + Paw Patrol
It has a light up display, foldable stand to use on an airplane tray or flat surface, and shakes for a fun experience. You can also connect any audio device to it. The volume is adjustable, but it still is kind of loud. Check price on Amazon + Walmart.
The Cocomelon Learn Steering Wheel is a colorful toy rated safe for a younger toddler age 18 months and up. It includes 4 play modes: letters, numbers, music, and eye spy. Toddlers can work on color recognition, fine motor skills, and imaginative play while at home or in their car seat on the go.
It features red and green flashing lights, over 60 songs and phrases, including the Cocomelon classic “Wheels on the bus.” Lastly it has a beep beep horn, gear shift, and turn key. This pick is sure to be a hit on the toddler circuit! NOTE: It does NOT have volume control though!
It’s no secret the toddler age group loves cars. I’m sure every parent reading this has been trapped in their real car as their toddler plays for hours an end. Getting your child an interactive steering wheel is a fun way to get them the driving experience they crave, without actually handing over the keys! (mom joke of course).
Steering wheel toys for toddlers are one of the best toys to keep in the car or at home for endless engagement, fun, and learning.