Best Wagons for the Explorer in Your Kids in 2017

In the United Kingdom and the United States particularly, the red pull-along, ride-on wagon has become synonymous with the joys of childhood. This isn’t surprising as children like to be pulled along by their family and friends while riding on these wagons, as well as pull along their precious possessions. The wagon is such a staple of childhood that even parents and grandparents today have fond memories of it!

Of course, the physical and mental benefits that come from playing with these wagons cannot be dismissed either. Child psychologists agree that the proper and regular use of wagons among children strengthens their muscular, social and cognitive skills, especially during cooperative play. Parents agree that just seeing their children enjoy their wagons is sufficient reward for the time and money spent on buying these toys.

Best Wagons for Your Beloved Kids

Here are our top 12 picks for the best kids’ wagons. Choose based on your budget, as well as your kid’s age, weight and preferences to get the best bang for your buck.

1. Step2 All Around Canopy Wagon

Suitable for: 18 months to 8 years old

The Step2 brand is known for the versatility of its products in the sense that these “grow” with the kids and/or these have multiple uses. This is true for the All Around wagon, which has two main uses: first, as a pull-along wagon with and without its canopy; and second, as a flatbed or table.

As a pull-along wagon, it has comfortable seats for the kids to sit on while being pulled along. It can be installed or removed depending on their preference, such as removed on a cloudy day.

As a flatbed or table, its seats can be flipped over to transform them into a larger flat surface. Your toddler can then use it for his daytime naps or activities.

What's Great About It: We must say that this wagon gives great value for the money because of its versatile uses. Just add a mattress and it becomes a flatbed. We also like its smooth and silent wheels, a must when you have kids using it several times a day. We wish that its 75-pound weight limit can be increased but we have also read that it can safely accommodate up to 100 pounds.

2. Little Tikes Deluxe Ride and Relax Wagon with Umbrella

Suitable for: 18 months to 5 years old

Manufacturers are apparently down with the versatility trend in wagons. The Little Tikes’ Deluxe wagon is a ride-on wagon for kids that can also be converted into a picnic bench in just a few easy steps. Just remove one of the sides to transform it from a wagon to a bench.

As a bench, it has a 250-pound weight limit, too. Even an adult can sit beside a child without fear of the bench falling apart at its seams, so to speak. This can’t be said of most of the wagon-to-bench units now.

Since it’s a picnic bench, it also has features suitable for outdoor picnics. These are the large umbrella for shielding against sun and rain, as well as a cooler for keeping several snack items cold.

What's Great About It: We like the versatility of this product, too. Your kids can have a ride-on toy that they can use when playing – and it’s a great toy for psychomotor development, too. You can then convert it into a picnic bench when they want a place to sit on and take their snacks.

3. Step2 Canopy Wagon

Suitable for: 18 months to 8 years old

But there are also times when a classic design is perfect as is – or at least, with a few revisions to accommodate the modern lifestyle. The Canopy Wagon may have a classic design since it isn’t convertible into anything else, but its simplicity is the ace up its sleeve.

As a parent, you have the assurance that your kids can easily pull the wagon, thanks to its durable yet lightweight molded plastic frame. The wagon can accommodate two kids with a weight limit of 75 pounds, while the removable sturdy canopy shields them from the elements. The seats have comfortable contours while the storage space underneath and cup holders can keep a few odds and ends (e.g., small toys and snacks).

What's Great About It: We like that it has a classic design that evokes the beloved red wagon of our childhood. The simplicity of its design also means that it’s a kid-friendly wagon while the wide canopy, contoured seats, and storage space make them happy. We want to emphasize, too, the small compartment for keeping adult things, such as keys, a convenient feature for the adults who pull the wagon.

​4. Radio Flyer Full Size All-Terrain Steel and Wood Wagon

Suitable for: 18 months old and up

The Radio Flyer brand of wagons is undoubtedly the most beloved of them all because it made famous the red wagon. Aside from the ubiquitous Radio Flyer logo, this steel-and-wood wagon easily attracts attention because of its sheer size.

Your kids will love that it can used for most types of terrain from asphalt surfaces to gravel roads, thanks to its large 10-inch inflatable tires. The tires ensure both a comfortable ride and optimum stability.

You may even be nostalgic for your own Radio Flyer from your childhood days when you see it. This one has a body and frame made from high-grade seamless steel and natural wood, the same combo from your younger days. The combination also ensures the wagon’s durability even when two kids are on it, especially considering its 200-pound weight limit.

What's Great About It: We recommend it because of its classic design albeit in a monster truck size suitable for heavier children. You can even use it as a trolley for pulling things along but be sure to keep within the weight limit. You can even remove the wooden sides so that an adult can also ride in it.

​5. Step2 Wagon for Two Plus

Suitable for: 18 months to 6 years old

Yet another classic wagon designed for contemporary use, the Wagon for Two is just what it sounds like. Your older kids can easily pull along their younger siblings on the wagon, thanks to the lightweight material and sturdy wheels. You can also easily clean the wagon by hosing it down – the drain holes on the floor will prevent water from pooling inside.

Like most of the wagons here, you can also use the storage compartments for keeping small toys and supplies inside. The seatbelts keep the smaller kids on their seats, a safety feature we like, while a cup holder keep their drink.

What's Great About It: We recommend it for toddlers and preschoolers because of its simple design, sturdy frame, and large wheels. Your kids can use it in different situations, too, such as on the beach, in the park, and around the neighborhood, too. This is a great wagon for teaching toddlers about the joys of pulling on and riding in a wagon of their own.

​6. Step2 Whisper Ride Touring Wagon

Suitable for: 18 months to 4 years old

Step2 has taken the classic wagon to new levels of versatility with its Whisper Ride Touring Wagon. You will find several uses for it that you don’t even have to bring other mobile pieces of kid furniture along.

As is, it’s a classic wagon that kids can either ride in to be pulled by another or pull while other people or things are in it. But it can also be a dining table for kids when its table surface is installed, a handy feature during picnics.

When the table panel is laid across the leg well, the wagon becomes a daytime bed. Just place a comfortable mattress or a thick blanket on its surface and voila!

Remove the table panel and store it in its secret compartment. Follow by removing the high side walls from the wagon to make a complete flatbed trailer. Your kid can transport several items in the trailer although we suggest keeping to the 100-pound weight limit.

What's Great About It: We don’t like the wheels, which could be larger and wider, but it’s a minor issue. This wagon has so many things going for it, especially its multiple uses, that we can overlook it.

7. Roadmaster Pacific Cycle Steel

Suitable for: 2 to 5 years old

Kids will probably feel like the master of the road with the Pacific Cycle Steel. The wagon may not be as versatile in uses as the others here but there are plenty of great things about it.

You will like its classic design updated for modern standards. The large 8-inch rubber wheels and high ground clearance allows its use for both smooth and rough terrain, such as gravel roads. Just be sure to instruct the kids about keeping away from dangerous grounds.

The 34-inch seamless steel bed and steel handle means that it can carry up to 250 pounds in weight. Of course, your child cannot pull along 250 pounds in weight but it’s great to know that the wagon’s as sturdy as can be. Other safety features include rolled edges of the bed, a no-pinch handle, and a no-pinch pivot.

What's Great About It: We like its simple yet practical design coupled with its sturdy frame and safety measures. You can even use it for carrying several items, such as when you’re moving things from the shed to the garage. But remember that it’s a kids’ wagon so go get your own.

​8. Radio Flyer Classic Walker

Suitable for: 1 to 4 years old

Yet another Radio Flyer product makes its way to our list although this isn’t a wagon in the full sense. As its name implies, this is a walker suitable for a 1-year old child and older who wants to learn walking and running.

This isn’t just an ordinary classic walker of old either because it has safety features. You can rest easy in the knowledge that its 13-pound weight can easily be pushed by a little kid. But it’s not so easy to push that it will endanger your child, especially in slippery surfaces, because of its resist-push technology.

The safety features also include bumpers and wooden stakes sides.

What's Great About It: We like the Classic Walker because it’s an excellent tool for building a toddler’s confidence in walking and running. You can even place a few toys in it just to encourage him to walk with it.

​9. EasyGoWagon Folding/Collapsible Utility

Suitable for: 3 years old and up

Size matters in choosing wagons for kids because it determines its capacity. But if you’re worried about storage space and transportation of monster-sized wagons, then this EasyGoWagon wagon is a better choice.

You can easily fold the wagon so that it can be stored in tight spaces, such as in the trunk or in the garage. Your kids, on the other hand, will like it because of its all-terrain use, thanks to heavy-duty wheels, large seating space, and storage basket.

What's Great About It: We like that it’s one of the few foldable wagons available now, a boon to parents concerned about space. The overall light weight is a plus, too, while the washable basket and canopy makes it a joy for parents. You can store the wagon cover and canopy inside a mesh pocket, too.

​10. Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike

Suitable for: 9 months to 5 years old

Radio Flyer is also known for its non-wagon products including the 4-in-1 Trike. This isn’t a wagon per se but it has several uses that it’s better than a classic wagon. You have the benefit of a classic wagon as well as three other kid-friendly vehicles – a stroller for babies, a push trike for toddlers, and a steering trike for older kids.

Since it has a 49-pound capacity, it also grows with your baby, so to speak. You’re getting great value for your money since your child can use it for a few years.

What's Great About It: We like that it has multiple uses such that two kids of different ages can use it with a few modifications. But even if you just have one child, it will be a great tool in his physical and mental development at different phases.

As a toddler, the stroller is a great way of exploring his environment while you push him in it. As a preschooler, he can use it for exploring his surroundings on his own power. He’s developing his physical coordination, balance, and strength in this manner.

​11. Little Tikes Lil’ Wagon

Suitable for: 18 months to 4 years old

Again, the classic design of the Lil’ Wagon make it a standout amidst the more complicated wagons in the market. The thick solid plastic body is sturdy enough to withstand all-terrain use yet light enough to be pulled by a child. The wheels are large enough to maintain their balance in rough terrain yet smooth enough for indoor use, especially on tile floors.

Plus, your child will love pulling along his favorite things in it. The deep well and flatbed design allows for transporting both people and objects.

What's Great About It: We like that its dimensions are just right for smaller kids who want their own wagons to pull around and ride on. You will find your child actually loving the activity and developing his psychomotor skills in the process. Your sense of nostalgia may even come to the fore because it looks just like your own childhood wagon.

12. Radio Flyer Kid’s Ultimate EZ The Best Folding Wagon

Suitable for: 18 months to 6 years old

Radio Flyer certainly knows and meets the needs of its target market with the Ultimate EZ wagon. These have several practical features that make its price well worth every cent.

Two children can ride in the wagon or they can also pull it along when it’s loaded with their treasures. You will like its collapsible body and carrying handle, which allow for easy transportation and storage, as well as the bottle holders. Your kid, in contrast, will love its telescopic pulling handle, comfortable contoured seats, and high back rests.

Did we mention that it also have seat belts? With kids, you should never be complacent about their safety while riding a wagon.

What's Great About It: We consider the collapsible body as the first selling point for parents, especially when there are other baby furniture (e.g., stroller) in the car. You will also appreciate the ease of cleaning, storage areas, and light weight.

How I Picked the Best Wagons for Children of Various Ages

Most parents have their own memories about their childhood wagons and, thus, will likely have opinions about the wagons for their children. Of course, the child’s age and preferences should also be considered in making the final choice.

For our part, we chose our top 12 wagon picks by carefully considering several factors affecting their physical appearance, safety aspects, and convenient features. We also read consumer reviews of the products we included in our short list since these are reliable opinions, more or less.

First, the physical appearance including its overall dimensions (i.e., height, weight and length), colors, and decorations should be striking. The wagon should be roomy enough to accommodate the number of persons and sturdy enough to carry its maximum weight stated on its specs. The decorations should also be pleasant to look at, a must for kids who delight in pride of ownership.

Second, the safety features should also be present. Since kids ranging in age from 9 months to 8 years will be using the wagons, safety is always a foremost concern. We looked for sturdy materials and construction for reliability, large wheels for stability, and seat belts.

Third, the convenience-related features are a must for both kids and adults, too. We looked into spacious storage compartments, carrying and pulling handles, foldable design, and washable materials.

We checked and double-checked to ensure that every single wagon on our list meets the safety standards that parents want in their kids’ furniture. We know the importance of choosing the best possible ride-on and pull-along toys for kids for their physical and mental development. We also empathize with the parents’ concern for the safety and enjoyment of their kids.

Not Just About Jumping on the Bandwagon

When you buy a wagon for your child, you’re not just adopting a herd mentality. You are, in fact, contributing to the development of your child’s physical, mental and social skills! You are then making a wise investment in his overall well-being, an investment with returns in the form a happier attitude and healthier body.

In terms of physical development, children who pull wagons improve their muscle strength and tone, thus, contributing to their overall cardiovascular endurance. The act of placing in and removing from the wagon various objects also contributes to their muscle development. Just pulling the wagon itself can be considered as a kid-friendly exercise, a far cry from playing videogames all day.

They also develop their muscle coordination and core balance since a stable stance is a must in pulling a wagon. Even the act of getting on and off the wagon requires keeping their balance.

Their mental well-being is also being developed while children play with their wagons. Their ability to recognize large and small objects, as well as to organize them inside the wagon, improves. Their communication skills also improve since they have to communicate about the items on their wagons and to give directions for pulling.

Suffice it to say that by exploring their surroundings with their treasure-filled possessions inside their wagons, kids develop character. They learn about choosing which items are valuable and which aren’t, as well as which things are theirs and which aren’t.

Their social skills can significantly improve, too. When kids play with one another, they learn to communicate and cooperate with each other to achieve their common goals. They learn to share their things, too.

Conclusion

Even if you don’t know these things, you can just look back at your childhood days and remember the joys you experienced with your wagon. You probably remember that you developed your physical, mental and social skills without even knowing it. You only realized it afterwards.

But even when you didn’t have a wagon in your childhood days, you will still appreciate the benefits that these wagons can bring to your child. You just have to see the happiness on your children’s faces to realize that, indeed, these are excellent toys in comparison with videogames.

    Sandra Cobain
     

    Mum of two. Child psychologist. Ardent admirer of art, crafts and cooking. She is the head of content for BestForTheKids. When she's not busy crafting posts & researching about compelling content ideas, she can be spotted playing outdoors with her two adorable children.

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