Push me, pull you!

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The under-threes enjoy having control over moveable objects, and walkers and pull-along toys encourage mobility and agility. And whether you prefer the traditional or latest high-tech variety there's a vast range to choose from Traditional

The under-threes enjoy having control over moveable objects, and walkers and pull-along toys encourage mobility and agility. And whether you prefer the traditional or latest high-tech variety there's a vast range to choose from

Traditional

Galt's Fun Wagon is a firm favourite in many nurseries because it can carry two children and involve many more. The steel steering handle is designed to be easy to grip and turn and the wheels have thick, sturdy tyres. The wooden wagon is 88 x 44 cm long and is priced 159.95.

Galt also stocks own brand Multi Sit 'n' Ride and Rocket Sit 'n' Ride. The Sit 'n' Ride is the stretch limo of wheeled toys, allowing three or four children to sit comfortably astride its four-wheeled frame as it does. It measures 106 x 39 x 40 cm high and, strictly speaking, is meant for children over three years, as is the Rocket Sit 'n' Ride, but all wheeled toy activities for young children, whether under or over the age of three, require close staff supervision. The Multi Sit 'n' Ride has a blue metal frame and red seat and wheels and is priced 109.95. The Rocket Sit 'n' Ride is made from lacquered birch plywood with timber forks, seats four and measures 106 x 40 cm high, priced 154.95.

Telephone 08702 424477

Dantoy's Pull Cart in bright red moulded plastic with a long yellow handle and wheels is on a slightly smaller scale but will hold up to 100 kg, which equals the weight of a good few children all piled on top of each other, or whatever cargo the children want to tow around. The cart measures 54 cm in length and is priced 23.99. The Dantoy Pull Cart is available from Mail Order Express.

Telephone 08700 129090.

The Babywalker with bricks is probably familiar to many nursery staff and parents from their own childhoods, but still retains its appeal today. This model, from Letterbox Mail Order, includes 24 different coloured and shaped wooden bricks which fit into the red wooden walker. The handle height of the cart is 44.5 cm, which allows smaller children to enjoy pushing it around. Priced 24.99.

Telephone 0870 600 7878

Another traditional looking offering which is exclusive to Letterbox is the Big Sit & Ride Truck. This has a working steering wheel to encourage manoeuvres and an adjustable seat to facilitate use for under and over threes. The truck is 55 cm long and the seat measures 24 cm, priced 54.99.

Telephone 08700 600 7878

Two more blasts from the past are Mulholland and Bailie's Pushalong Foxhound and Pushalong Donkey. These designs have withstood the test of time to provide children from as young as 12 months some reassuring support. Each has a toughened steel chassis and inner frame with a new 'luxurious fur fabric' covering. The handle height of each toy is 50 cm, priced 27.99 each, from Mail Order Express.

Telephone 08700 129090.

High Tech

Vtech's Baby Bear Walker is a battery operated toy (2 LR6 batteries), which is suitable from around six months upwards. This primary coloured, moulded plastic toy includes a built-in safety brake as well as numerous electronic features: when the walker is in motion lights flash and a musical roller ball plays. A detachable cordless mobile phone is also included, along with various buttons labelled with numbers and letters (upper case) and a mirror. The walker can be used as an activity centre when the safety brake is on and it is priced Pounds 30.

Telephone 01235 555545

The Babies 'R' Us own-brand range, Bruin Bear, also features an Electronic Activity Walker which folds completely flat and converts to a playboard. This walker includes telephone sounds, a beeping horn and musical melody and has a tray at the front which folds down to provide a seat for any teddy or doll who wishes to hitch a free ride. Suitable for 18 months old and upwards, with a handle height of approximately 40 cm, and requiring batteries, the walker is priced 19.99.

Telephone 0345 8697787

New to the Little Tikes range is the Building Basics Electronic Sounds Loader. This can be pushed along and sat on and includes a steering wheel designed to aid colour shape and number recognition. The loader comes with batteries and weather resistant electronics to permit outdoor and indoor play. Priced Pounds 29.99.

Telephone 0800 521 558

Another 'hi tech' walker worth considering is Early Learning's Electronic Activity Walker. This features an ignition key, three horns and realistic sounds, adjustable mirrors and flashing lights and a removable activity box which converts into a toy truck. The handle height of the walker is 46 cm and it requires two MN1500 batteries. Priced 30.

Telephone 08705 352352.

Small scale

It's a good idea not to neglect the smaller toys available for children to push and pull along. Many children find this type more conducive to concentrated, focused play, especially when they are not in the mood to join in the hustle and bustle which often surrounds larger wheeled toys, and this is often a way for them to join in with bigger children and larger equipment without feeling intimidated.

The Push-Along Frog is new to the push-along menagerie at Plan Toys and is small enough and easy enough to negotiate through the busiest of nursery thoroughfares. The wooden, painted frog measures 110 x 150 x 445 cm and is priced 11.99. A parrot and duck are also available.

Telephone 01604 678790

Tomy's Webster the Pull-along Spider is something of a classic in the pull-along toy brigade and now there is a new crew of three Mini Websters, all with different functions. Running Mini Webster has to be dragged back to set him running; Climbing Mini Webster comes with a string which, when pulled, enables the spider to climb upwards; Jumping Mini Webster responds to being pushed down by jumping upwards. Mini Websters measure 75(h) x 110 (l) x 95 (w) and are approved by the RNIB for blind and partially sighted children, priced 2.99 each.

Telephone 020 8661 4400

The Dancing Alligator by Plan Toys is a wooden pull-along which appears to undulate when it moves along, while also producing a clickety clack sound. This wooden toy is suitable from one year upwards and is priced 10.99, available from Mail Order Express.

Telephone 08700 129090

Other small pull-alongs worth looking out for include Hope's new Safari Train which consists of a two-piece wooden train set with removable squeezy fabric cargo blocks. The engine on the train has a bell, safety mirror and emits a 'realistic' engine noise. Priced 17.95.

Telephone 08702 414 400

Also, Berchet's Noah's Ark Pull Along from Step by Step - a sturdy blue and yellow boat with red wheels, a xylophone on the roof and several animals which can be fitted through shape sorter holes. The boat measures 46 (l) x 31 (w) x 45 (h) cm, priced 24.95.

Telephone 0845 300 1089

Last, but not least, a Push-along Snail which fulfils our 'small' and 'hi-tech' categories. New from Early Learning, the snail makes click, clack sounds as it is being pushed and his head moves backward and forward. The snail's shell also lights up and batteries are included, priced 12.50.

Telephone 08705 352352

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