Working trucks all have the same basic work - scooping and dumping. However, some toys are built better than others for true preschool play and I've compiled a short list for you to peruse. Below is a list of the most popular trucks in our fleet...and our fleet is HUGE thanks to generous grandparents, great grandparents, friends and other relatives.
5. Backhoe. Backhoes are probably appealing to children because they have TWO scoops. Our Caterpillar brand backhoe was well-loved but not designed to withstand the actual digging and hard play that my son engaged in. The first thing to go was the supports on the boom for the front loader bucket. Then the lights and buttons failed because sand got in. I didn't sweat it nor did my son but the next backhoe will be a different brand. Bruder's ROADMAX series is a crazy-durable line of trucks that can handle the really rough sandbox play of a preschooler. This backhoe has no frills (lights and buttons), which is just the way I like it. In fact, one is hidden away in the closet for someone's birthday. Review to follow.
4. Tonka Garbage Truck. Garbage truck drivers everywhere are local heros to toddlers and preschoolers. Indeed, they wave at children when they go by the park and our family has a weekly ritual to run out to see them go by to collect our personal trash. So what truck fleet would be complete without a garbage truck? My son sleeps with the garbage truck toy as a lovey. While I am not wild about the amount of noise the lever makes when he pulls it, he LOVES it. Plus, when the handle on the lever is squeezed, it raises the trucks boom to unload the contents of the bin. The wheels have great traction and the bed is easily cleaned out after a day at the park. The black bin can be removed for easy driving. (The bin and boom fit tightly so it is usually replaced by an adult after my kiddo tries by himself for a while.) All in all, this is a fav...durable, usable and easy on the eyes (if not the ears). [Note: Whoa! I just saw the price of this truck on tripled what we paid for it. I'll keep my eyes peeled for a good substitute!]
Tonka Trencher. This is essentially a backhoe loader with one very important feature - track wheels. The scoops are sturdy and easy to manipulate. My kid sometimes pushes it through the sand with the front scoop down acting as a bulldozer blade while is smashes the backhoe, fully extended, into the ground to drag and dig a trench. The rubber tracks stay on very well but when they are removed they are strong enough to be "conveyor belts"or chains for a newly invented machine. They are easy to put back on, too, and the longest lasting tracks of any of our tracked trucks. It is a very tough truck and is highly recommended for preschool engineers.
Battat Front Loader. This front end loader is awesome. It is big enough and durable enough that my four year old still uses it after two years of hard work. It is light weight enough that my one year old can articulate the loader bucket and carry it around the work site. On occasion, the screws that hold the bucket to the boom fall out but they are easily replaced by a trip to the hardware store (I've only had to do this once). I consider this the number one truck for a preschool engineer's fleet because it is versatile in terms of work potential as well as age suitability. The bucket can be positioned in a number of ways to carry a load and it can be turned upside down to act as a blade to push sand around. Listed for 18 months old and up, this truck is a must-have.
Stay tuned for more gift ideas for truck-lovers including books, videos, and songs...
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