I heard this at La Jolla Girl’s preschool orientation last week so I decided to look into it a little bit. She is 2 years old and has tried riding a tricycle that she is just figuring out how to use. She has mastered pedaling backward which I read most tricycles don’t do? Ooops.
Direction Is Important For Learning To Read
Turns out that steering a tricycle teaches kids their rights and lefts, and that there are different consequences to going in each direction. This also helps them grasp the concept that their body has sides (left, right, front, back) and aids their brain in distinguishing between these sides, like right hand versus left hand. This comes in to play in reading when trying to differentiate b’s from d’s, for example, or “on” and “no.”
Ironically, my husband has teeny bit of trouble like this (perhaps he should get his own tricycle?) and has been worried about passing this down to our daughter. Young toddlers probably won’t yet be immediately able to steer right or left if you bark out these directions, but their brains are learning while pedaling, nonetheless.
Tricycles Build Gross Motor Skills
Riding a tricycle also helps develop gross motor skills that are needed for almost everything, it seems. Gross motor skills refer to the large muscles groups of the body that enable running, walking, balance, coordination and more. Children develop these skills during early childhood and they improve as children get older.
Gross motor skills are important because they allow children to build fine motor skills, such as writing. If a child does not have proper upper body strength or posture, they may have trouble learning writing.
So, go outside now and play. Ride that tricycle!