As mundane as seeing the garbage truck is for grown-ups, to kids there’s nothing more fascinating. They lift, they haul, and they store piles of interesting items; when it comes to garbage trucks, what’s not to love? It’s 30 seconds of pure fascination. And it’s no wonder that toys modeled after the real thing are a source of entertainment as they load them with trinkets and wheel them around.
Aside from providing hours of endless entertainment, garbage truck toys can help hone motor, sorting and organization skills, and encourage teamwork. These interactive toy trucks can also provide little ones early lessons in recycling and helping keep mother nature tidy. And if you’re tired of plastic toys, this list also includes some toy trucks made from wood.
So whether your kiddo is into remote control vehicles or outdoor play, or you prefer Montessori toys without all the gadgets, there are plenty of options for garbage truck toys to keep your little hauler happy.
Best Wooden Garbage Truck Toys
It’s never too early to teach your kiddos about recycling, and this neutral-colored, wooden garbage truck toy is perfect. Every piece is made from plywood and features six “recycling bin” pieces with the truck.
This toy falls under Smallable’s “Greenable” products list, which classifies it as a product made from either recycled materials, organic cotton, wood sourced from sustainably-managed forests, vegetable-tanned leather, or products colored with vegetable dyes. So you can add this to your shopping cart knowing your purchase isn’t harming the environment. Woohoo!
This 24-piece Imagination Generation set comes with a garbage truck … and so much more. Specifically, it contains four recycling bins, 16 trash tiles, a recycling receptacle, a street sign, the Recycling Center organizer, and of course, a rolling green truck. It’s suitable for ages 3 and up (due to its two dozen small parts), and ideal for kiddos who prefer sorting to hauling.
Made with wood and bright water-based paints, it’s a “high quality, beautifully made wooden toy,” according to an Amazon reviewer. Other accolades attest to its durability and entertainment value. “This toy is perfectly portable for kiddos that are obsessed with garbage trucks!” another purchaser says. “My 4-year-old loves sorting the recyclables and playing with the little truck.” In addition to teaching valuable skills like categorization and pattern recognition, parents love that their youngsters are learning a real-world lesson in helping the environment.
Best Garbage Truck Toys For Outdoor Play
The classic Matchbox company now makes large scale trucks, and this 15 inch model is an Amazon best seller. It features a side loader, realistic sounds, working lights, and has room for storage (or fake garbage, up to your LO). It also comes with a recycling bin for picking up!
Among the 6,000+ reviews, one fellow mama raved, “[My grandkids] have several trash trucks cause they’re obsessed with trash trucks, but this is special because it is a side loader, and that’s hard to find. They love using the arm and lifting up the trash can included and dumping out the trash,” she said. “The truck is a perfect size for each of their age and their little hands and dexterity… The truck keeps them occupied for quite a while.”
Whether it’s due to this truck’s durability, safe materials, earth-friendly packaging, or perhaps all three, reviewers happily shelled out five stars for the Green Toys Recycling Truck. Kids of all ages love the movable dumpster, which has three sorting slots and plenty of room to stash small toys and natural treasures, while parents appreciate that it’s made with child-safe materials.
True to form, this recycling truck is made in the USA from recycled plastic milk jugs and is free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates. It’s also lightweight, easy to clean (and dishwasher safe), and packaged with eco-friendly materials. “No metal, so no worries about rusting if this gets left outside or played with in the bath or sink,” one customer points out. Another raves, “Our children are not easy on toys and Green Toys durability has surpassed other ‘name brand’ products we have owned.”
Looking for an outdoor-safe toy with a little more *pizzazz*? The Playkidiz Garbage Truck Toy includes flashing lights, realistic sounds, and movable parts like a trash can lift, and cab doors that open and close. Of course, the dumpster itself opens (from the top) so players can retrieve the knick knacks they’ve collected.
Thanks to its six-wheel design, it can be rolled over uneven terrain, meaning you can go ahead and encourage the kiddos to take it outdoors to play (yessss!).
“My son LOVES this truck,” reported one customer. “The garbage cans that come along with it are very nicely made and he feels very ‘real’ playing with it.” Keep in mind that this toy is recommended for kids 3 and up; it does come with the two AA batteries required.
Best Techie Garbage Truck Toys
If you’re on the hunt for a truck with all the bells and whistles — or in this case, buttons and functions — the JOYIN Friction-Powered Recycling Garbage Truck won’t disappoint. In addition to being equipped with light-up sirens and realistic sounds, this toy is full of movable parts that your child can press, crank, and lift to replicate real recycle truck capabilities. Three colored trash bins complete the set, plus the truck’s friction-powered “engine” allows it to zoom around the house on its own (which may or may not be a selling point for you). “Very authentic,” says one customer of the truck. “The buttons on the top of the cab play the sounds of the real thing. Fun to play with, doesn’t take up a lot of space, love the friction power too!”
Your little environmentalist can also dabble in mechanics with this two-in-one remote control take-apart garbage truck by DEERC. The green and blue garbage truck toy can be broken down and re-assembled with a (totally safe!) “power drill,” wrench, and removable screws. Once everything is up and running, it can be operated via remote control. It also has flashing lights and sound effects, and completing the set are two city employees that can be positioned in the driver’s seat or atop the truck.
“Multiple ways to play with this toy make it far outlast the typical attention time and play session,” says one reviewer of the DEERC garbage truck. (For even more value, snag the similar Remote Control Take Apart Construction & Garbage Truck duo by JOYIN, which comes with a second city vehicle for less than $10 more.) One final thing to note: it requires seven AA batteries, which are not included.
Best Classic Garbage Trucks
While this is technically a dump truck, it made this list because the dump bed is made with the brand’s signature steel. While most garbage truck toys on the market are entirely plastic (and a few made of wood), you’ll be hard-pressed to find a rendition that rivals Tonka’s classic construction. Like the old school models, this retro-inspired toy doesn’t require batteries; the bed can be manually shifted in order to dump loads.
That said, there are a couple of Tonka garbage trucks that are comparable to the others on this list (like this front loader and this durable pick), but if you want to go Tonka, you probably want top-quality and nostalgia value. This dump truck fits the bill, and with over 2,100 reviews — which are overwhelmingly positive — you’ll likely get your money’s worth. (Note that the age recommendation is for kids 3 and up.)
Ah, good ol’ Matchbox cars; they’re moveable, portable, and wonderfully tiny. While you can certainly get a bigger toy for a similar price, this Matchbox garbage truck is a must-have for collectors, big and small (and at least 3 years of age, according to the manufacturer). But what this toy lacks in size it makes up for quality, with reviewers commenting on the durability of this mini metal vehicle. Says one purchaser who gave a similar model to his 3-year-old grandson, “This fits in his tiny hands perfectly. He never puts it down!”
If this particular design (or the high price) doesn’t suit your fancy, there are several other Matchbox trash trucks released in different years on Amazon. Their prices and quantities vary, which is one potential downside of purchasing these cars as playthings rather than collector’s items.
If they are going to love these new garbage trucks, then they’ll love our other mom-approved toys!