As the end of summer draws nearer and nearer, there are aspects that I'll miss as well as those that I definitely won't.
The 90°+ days, the I'm bored so I'm going to pick on my sibling afternoons, and the whining to go outside that is followed by whining to go back inside two minutes later... just to name a few.
But when I think about fall and having to put the kiddie pool back in storage, take down the swings from the play structure or not getting to enjoy time outdoors strolling around the neighborhood, I get a little down about it.
Particularly when we've been able to enjoy those walks so much more thanks to our Smart-Trike Zoo.
This unique 3-in-1 tricycle is more than a ride-on toy, it is everything from an alternative to a stroller to a teaching tool. With the ability to grow with your child from 10 months up to 3+ years (33 pounds), Smart-Trike included all of the thoughtful features necessary to benefit both the child and the adult and make this one product that can last for many years.
As Little Sister B is at the stage where she can pedal a tricycle on her own but has also been known to make it a few blocks and then want to be pushed, I knew that the Smart-Trike Zoo would be perfect to combine her need for independence with my need for convenience.
When it arrived, I opened the box to put the pieces together and found myself... intimidated.
With the instructions being photo-only, I wondered if I was going to spend all afternoon trying to figure out what screw went where. However, upon second glance, I realized that there actually were hardly any screws involved and it was pretty intuitive to figure out which piece snapped into the next. Looking at the Smart-Trike website later on, I found that there is actually a complete assembly video that makes it even more clear in case there was any question as to how to construct this tricycle.
Although we don't have a need for Stage 1 at the moment, in around 20 minutes I had the Smart-Trike Zoo put together in that formation so that I could see just how well this would work for younger children.
Stage 1: 10 Months+: Used as a stroller, the child safely uses the flip-down foot rest (by releasing the clutch the wheels spin freely) and is able to sit comfortably with the long, padded back support and safety straps. The wrap-around bar ensure even more security and the adjustable steering handle gives parents full control. With a cup/bottle holder, play phone, and adjustable canopy, everything you need for a nice walk is included!
What a great alternative to always using a stroller! When Big Sister E was a baby, she was always content to just sit back and relax, but Little Sister B was much pickier and there were many instances where she was just too bored sitting in the same position. I have no doubt that she would have really enjoyed this unique way to ride.
In a few quick steps, I was able to remove the seat back, canopy and safety bar to transform the Smart-Trike Zoo into Stage 2.
Stage 2: 15 Months+: This parent-controlled tricycle features a waist-level seat belt for safety and, as in Stage 1, the adjustable steering handle to make it easy to control and push when needed. By adjusting the clutch so that the child can pedal, you have the option of leaving the foot rest down or folding it up out of the way.
Little Sister B was thrilled from the moment she saw the cute bee styling of the Smart-Trike and couldn't wait to hop on take it for a spin.
The large basket on the back proved to be just the right size to bring along any toys or necessities that we might need to bring and I love that Smart-Trike included a cup holder on the front and a decent-size bag on the handle so that there is a place for a drink as well as my phone, wallet, etc.
Little Sister B was also immediately a big fan of the toy phone connected right to the front and made it clear that she had important calls to make while we were out walking.
The fact that the parent handle is telescopic and easily adjusted is a big plus, as it meant that either my husband or I could take turns pushing and both be comfortable. And although it meant that we were actually in control of the steering, Little Sister B was more than happy to pedal along and feel as though she was the one doing all the work.
The large rubber wheels give the Smart-Trike a smooth ride, whether on pavement or over bumpy terrain, and due to how easy it is to push, even Big Sister E has taken turns pushing her sister while we're out taking a stroll.
For times that she wants to truly show off her skills as a big girl, however, it barely takes a moment to transform the Smart-Trike Zoo into its final form in Stage 3 so Little Sister B can truly take over control.
Stage 3: 24 Months+: Traditional child-powered, independent tricycle.
For 2-year-olds and beyond, full control is given when the parent handle is removed and they are able to pedal, pedal, pedal. With two location options for the seat (one a few inches further away from the pedals than the other), you are able to adjust the Smart-Trike Zoo so that it can get the most use by your child.
And trust me, they're going to want to use it quite a bit!
The Smart-Trike Zoo is an innovative and unique product that truly can be used over the course of many years. I love the idea of starting a child on a tricycle at an early age, as even if they are unable to pedal (or even reach the pedals, for that matter), having the interaction encourages the early development of the motor skills and confidence that will benefit them later on. It is no wonder that the Smart-Trike Zoo has won award after award!
The Smart-Trike Zoo Collection retails for $139.99 at Toys 'R Us stores nationwide and their trendy animal-themed styles including a bee, cow, butterfly and frog. Although the price tag is higher than that of a regular tricycle, purchasing one for a young child could end up saving money in the long run due to not having to buy another item for a few years.
For more information about Smart-Trike, their wide range of smart, innovative products for all cycling stages (some of which are designed for children as young as 6 months and as old as 48 months and beyond), and just what makes them the worldwide leading manufacturer in the tricycle field, visit their website and connect with them on Facebook.
(Other than the Smart-Trike Zoo Bee that I was sent in order to facilitate my review, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this review in any way. This review is solely my opinion of this company and this innovative and fun product.)