Your kid needs a toy steering wheel. Why? Well, it’s gearing up to be another summer of road-tripping, which means making sure you have all the snacks, comfy car seats, family-friendly podcasts, and a whole arsenal of toys at the ready. They’re too young to understand your hubby’s bad dad jokes for kids, and you don’t necessarily want them staring into an iPad to watch a movie for hours. No matter if you are taking to the open road in a sedan or an RV, it turns out there’s nothing more amusing to a kid than pretending to drive a vehicle, while actually in a vehicle. Simple pleasures, folks, simple pleasures.
As you plan out your packing strategy, be sure to grab a few toy steering wheels for car rides both long and short (because every tiny passenger will definitely need their own.) Yes, they are often bulky and will take up precious cargo space. Yes, nearly every single option has some sort of loud and obnoxious noise feature. Yes, it will be yet another item to drag into a hotel or restaurant. But if the choice is listening to electronic animal sounds on repeat or a screaming toddler, I know which way I’m leaning.
While we can’t prevent motion sickness or mute the “are we there yet?” questions, we can offer you a variety of the best toy steering wheels and wish you luck on your journey. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Best Toy Steering Wheels for Car Rides
With its cute dog character and easy-to-press buttons, your little one will love pretending with this colorful steering wheel toy. There are three modes of learning, animal settings, and music.
One reviewer said, “Got this for my daughter’s 2nd birthday, since she was always climbing around in my car and sitting in the driver’s seat acting like she was driving, and this was perfect! She just chills in the backseat with it acting like she’s driving. :).”
Classic lights and sounds make this toy steering wheel perfect for ages 2 and up. With rounded edges and soft buttons, you can feel safe passing this into the backseat.
Amazon reviewer LizzieS said, “it’s not overwhelming with buttons (there’s a few but not as many as other ‘electronic’ toys) and it’s easy to grasp. Love this toy!”
As a Creative Child Toy of the Year & Creative Play of the Year Award winner, this steering wheel plays over 15 songs, and offers engaging colors and shapes. It’s also the first steering wheel toy we have seen that teaches small children about emotions and feelings. Designed with protective rubber, it provides the best of both worlds: enrichment AND volume adjustment.
If you’re hunting for a steering wheel that has literally every possible feature, look no further. Bright colors, a musical piano keyboard, gear lever, horn, and lights make this durable toy a great choice for ages 6 months and up.
This soft toy steering wheel is designed for little ones who tend to throw every toy they are offered. It attaches to the headrest, and offers a mirror and buttons with lights and sounds.
When kids are looking for the full car-driving experience, grab this set that includes a steering wheel, keys and cell phone. From clicking the remote, to honking the horn, to sending a text, this toy provides endless fun.
One reviewer said, “A 2 year old loved this set. She has a blast with it. Its perfect for a toddler.”
TOMY and John Deere partnered to create this tractor steering wheel for all the small future farmers. Kids can switch gears, turn the key, spin the odometer, and press a hazard button in case of pretend emergency.
Amazon reviewer Jennifer said, “This toy is awesome! My son is a huge tractor fan and anything to do with tractors, so we go this for him and he absolutely loves it! It of course makes noise which is the best part, but it is very sturdy. It has been tossed and dropped and everything else in between and still works and in one piece.”
NASCAR enthusiast in your house? Channel their inner Jeff Gordon or Danica Patrick with this interactive racing steering wheel. The Rev n Roll offers racing challenges, complete with sound effects and a light-up display. Even older kids will be entertained by the “announcer” feature as they race through long car rides.
This is basically a toy steering wheel on steroids. With a ridiculous number of features, including phonics, numbers, and games, your tiny driver can switch between car, jet, or motorcycle modes. It also offers realistic vibration effects and 9 racing courses to explore.
What’s better than your partner being a backseat driver? Your kid being a backseat driver. Hook them up with a steering wheel that attaches to the side window and sits at their level for a true interactive driving experience.
One Amazon reviewer said, “Bought this for my grandson that throws a huge fit every time he gets put in his car seat. I wanted something that would entertain him on the two hour commute he has with his mom each day. This did the trick and calmed him down since he thinks he is actually driving.”
Silence is golden, especially during hour 10 of a car ride, so check out this battery-free steering wheel. Powered only by imagination, it mimics a real car dashboard, complete with gear shift, mirror, and glove box. Designed with smooth wood and soft colors, this quiet toy keeps little hands entertained and parent headaches at bay.
This book takes all the fun of a steering wheel toy and adds the wonderful illustrations of Eric Carle. Kids are put in the drivers seat with exploration of cars, trains, boats, and airplanes, complete with accompanying sounds.
Amazon reviewer Oak&Ivy said, “Each page has pictures to coordinate with the buttons they can push as you read the story. It a fantastic book, easy to transport, pages are thick and easy to turn.”
When you finally arrive at your destination, hopefully there will be a pool to help everyone chillax. This steering wheel baby float will let 6-24 month olds keep driving and stay entertained, while you sip a fruity beverage. It provides UV protection and is a cinch to inflate, making it perfect to pack flat.
Because everything usually needs to be even, save your sanity and get multiples of these bright yellow steering wheels. Kids of varying ages can “race” against each other in the back seat, utilizing the wheel rotation, turn signals, and lights.
One Amazon reviewer said, “My daughter loves it! Easy to use and it makes our driving experience more fun!”
There will come a time in every road trip when you ask yourself the hard question, “do I really care how much screen time they get?” When you realize the answer is “nope,” it’s time to bite the bullet and buy a Nintendo Switch, Mario Kart, and these nifty steering wheels. The result will be quiet, occupied children, so consider it an investment in your sanity.
Toy Steering Wheels for Car Seats
If your little one is still in a car seat and will undoubtley lose their toys along the way, a toy that literally attaches to their car seat is probably the best bet on a long road trip. This steering wheel toy from KiddoLab will keep them engaged with the flashing lights, music, mirror, adorable frog, and cool buttons that are all over the wheel.