Wait — has your child not yet seen La Dolce Vita, the 1960 cinematic masterpiece that has made generations long to splash in Italian fountains and ride Vespas through the streets of Rome? Well, even if they have been so deprived, you may still redeem yourself as a parent with the Primo, a very Vespa scooter ride-on toy for toddlers and kids.
Modeled after a classic Italian scooter, this ride-on toy is great for kids between the ages of two and five.
So, maybe not everyone’s toddler is exactly ready for three-hour-long Fellini films. The vintage cool factor of a Vespa is probably targeted exclusively for the entertainment of much older onlookers. That’s fine. What we actually love about this toy is that it’s a classic, foot-powered ride-on toy in a flashy package. That means no batteries, no noise, no malfunctioning.
The body of the Primo is made of powder-coated and hand-welded metal. Ambosstoys founders Elisha Ruesch and Nguyen Nguyen got their start restoring classic cars and motorcycles, so they knew what they were doing when they created a toy that emulated that aesthetic. They also knew they wanted to create something nearly as durable as the vehicles they used to work with. That already sets it apart from the breakable plastic ride-on toys that seem to litter many a local playground and yard, where kids roll their cracked corpses into the grass and leave them to rot in the sun and rain. No, this is a scooter designed to outlast the three or four years of one child’s use and then get passed down to younger siblings and friends’ kids after that.
While the average tot won’t know exactly what the faux leather seat and white-walled plastic tires are trying to imitate, they can tell that the Primo is made to look like something real. At the same time, the pleasing shades of blue, mint, orange, pink, and yellow Primo comes in are definitely going to appeal to a little ones’ eyes.
How little are we talking? The Primo is recommended for children older than 10 months and no bigger than 44 pounds. The three wheels make it stand on its own, and the seat is low enough to the ground that kids can use their feet to control and propel themselves easily, without tipping over. But because it has three wheels and not four, kids will feel themselves balancing the toy like a balance bike. That’s a great skill to learn before moving on to big kid bikes.
Even though there’s no real motor helping the Primo zip through ancient city streets, this little scooter can move. Like its motorized counterpart, once it’s moving, the rider can place his or her feet on the floorboard and enjoy a nice glide. (Parents who don’t want to have to replace scuffed shoes any more than they already do will appreciate that feature, too.)
And yet, even as we list all great features, this Primo might just seem too pretty to buy. How can you prove to yourself that you’re not just getting it so your kid can fulfill your own Vespa dreams? Let’s try this: The American Academy of Pediatrics says that toys that require physical activity are helpful for “physical development and can improve self-regulation and peer-interaction.” They’ll get that last bit when they ride this guy out on the sidewalk or in the playground and take turns with their friends. Or they can race other kids on their ride-on toys too. Just as long as they’re not having to dodge paparazzi in it, this is a great, healthy addition to your garage, er, we mean playroom.
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