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How to choose the best rocking horse
Rocking horses and animals are a popular baby shower or first-year birthday gift for new babies and toddlers as they make a beautiful nursery decoration and a baby toy that new parents will love. It’s not easy to pick the right quality rocking horse for your little one. Here. we are offering you some tips and advice to choose the best and right rocking horse for your kids from a few month old baby, 1-year-old toddler, to a young child, or for a girl or boy.
We have here highlighted a few areas that you may need to consider when choosing the right rocking horse for your little one - Size and Seat Height, Longevity, Mechanisms, Quality & Safety, and Styles and Designs
You can also shop our collection of rocking horses and animals here.
Size & Seat Height of the Rocking Animal
Rocking horses are not in one size fits all. Most baby rocking horses are with seats. So their sizes and seat heights are key elements that you need to consider in your baby rocker or toddler rocking horse decision-making process. There are rocking horses and rocking animals for as little as 6 months old babies. Also, there are some that can serve your children for up to 12 years old.
Putting the vintage wooden traditional custom made rocking horses aside, here are some normal dimensions of the seat heights you may find in many rocking horses in the market.
*Below dimensions are only a point of reference
Aged 6 months Plus
Aged 9 months plus
Aged 1 year plus
Aged 18 months plus
Aged 2 years plus
Aged 3 years plus
Aged 3 to 12 years
Although you may think the smaller horses may not last longer, your little one can still ride on these rocking toys even when they are toddlers and get to 2-3 years old. Usually, baby rockers, or rocking horses for toddlers could cater to children’s weight of up to 15-20 kg.
It is hard to say which rocking horses are particularly good or bad. As long as your child and baby can fit in it comfortably, they should be a good rocker to keep. As you would understand some children are bigger in size and height than others. It’s just the nature of human beings. So for example, if your baby is 1 year old, but he or she is a smaller baby comparing to others, you can consider picking the rocking horse from the 9-month rocking horses and animals instead. It’s all about individual decisions based on your own baby’s situation.
Longevity of the Rocking Horse
We understand when picking the best rocking horse, behind any decisions, mommies and grannies have different logics to decide how the rocking animal and horse will be used and how long they want it to last. Here highlight our main points for you to consider.
For example, if your baby is 9 months old, but you would like the rocking horse or animal to last for as long as possible, instead of the 9-month rocking horse range, it may be better to consider the 12-month horse range. Yes, your baby will most likely need your help to play with the rocker at the beginning, but because the 12-month horses are more than 10cm taller on the seat height than our 9-month horses, obviously it means there is an extra 10cm wiggle room for the child to grow into.
And for example, if your child is autistic, and maybe they are in their early teens, our 3-year-to-12-years-old range could still be a suitable toy choice given the benefits the rocking horses can give to children with autism.
There is no one suggestion to fit every family and child. Take a look at our full ranges to decide what may work the best for you and your baby.
The Mechanism of the Rocking Horse
From the history of rocking horses, many traditional, and modern rocking horses and animals simply use the classic bow rocking mechanism. Basically it means the horse sits on a bow shape horse base, usually wooden (or plastic in the modern world). When children use their upper body strength to force their weight forward and downward to the horse, the rocker tilts forward and backward to create the rocking movements.
There had been a newly patented ‘‘safety stand’ mechanism invented in the late 1800s. This alternative rocking mechanism was designed by Philip Marqua from Cincinnati, as a glider-type base. It was believed to be safer than the classic bow horse base and requires less space for the rocking horse or animal to move. (Referred to this blog post)
In our shop collection, you can see both types of horse base mechanisms in our selected designs. Our best wooden rocking horses from the MJ Mark handmade range is suitable for 3-7 years old or from 6 years old plus children with both bow-based and glider-based choices to shop from.
Either way, your little ones may require some assistance from you at the beginning when their upper body and back muscles are not fully developed and practiced to make use of the rocking horses and animals. As their body muscles grow and get used to the forces required to make the rocker move, your little ones should be able to move the rocker themselves eventually.
Quality and Safety of the Rockers
How to choose a good quality rocking horse and the animal that are safe for your little ones may not be as easy as it seems. Most rocking toys for toddlers or baby rocking horses available in the market will have passed or gone through safety testing procedures. When we select our ranges of rockers we do see the quality of the utmost importance.
All toys that are created and sold in the EU must conform to CE Safety Standards Regulations. It means the manufacturers are required to perform testing to comply with all requirements, as well as using all permitted materials and manufacturing processes.
However, as most of us will expect, most products are created in the far East countries in the modern-day world economy under a mass production process. Not all manufacturers are diligent enough to ensure the highest quality level of production is maintained.
When finding your best rocking horses, it is rarely possible to see them in person. For example, as part of the product research, we did visit a big chain baby specialist store in the UK and look at their range of rocking horses. Comparing to the ranges we carry, they did not feel and look as well made as what we support. It doesn’t mean it is not in good quality, but the difference is often so subtle that not everyone will spot the tiny differences of stitching, ways of sewing, and the ways they are put together.
Good quality doesn’t always mean being well manufactured. It can also mean the product development was well thought out for your babies and toddlers. For example, many of our Little Bird Told Me products not only are made with really great quality and sustainable materials and processes, but they also have great texture. Some are with a wipable surface considering the possibility of spillage from babies and toddlers. And their mane and tail are in a scrunchy texture to stimulate the sensory development of touch and sound.
Style and Design
After considering all of the practical and logical sides of the argument when choosing your baby the best rocking horse and animal, the final decision is often the most subjective, which is to pick your favourite design and style of the horses.
The first question is whether you want a horse, or an animal, such as a unicorn rocker, or sheep rocking animal, or donkey and rabbit.
If you want a fluffier plusher look from a rocking animal, our Nattou collection may be appealing to you and your baby with the lovely donkeys, rabbits, and other animals available.
For the 9 months, 12 months to 18 months old ranges, our Little Bird Told Me collection of rocking horses and animals will give your baby abundance of joy and stimulation in their motor skills and sensory development. Each horse (except for a few rocking animals), such as Biscuit, comes with a baby cuddly toy and rattle buddy (such as Biscuit and Skip). You are certainly getting 3 toys in one!
Our most popular has to be the unicorn rocking horse - Celeste & Fae available in both 9-month and 12-month ranges. They are perfect for any modern pink and grey nursery and children’s bedroom!
One of our favourite selections is the Heritage Stable range which includes farmhouse country style classy checked textile and quality saddle seats tied on the horses. This range includes ‘Stirling & Mac’, ‘Rufus & Ted’ and ‘Chester & Fred’. They are simply beautifully made and elegantly stand against time in any nurseries and playrooms!
These rocking horses come in beautiful gift boxes too. And for this special collection of rockers, we offer free personalisation services to put your baby’s name on the rocking horse and animal for you!
Our MJ Mark horse ranges serve either 3 to 7 years old, or 6 to 12 years old children. The bigger horses are so solid that an average-sized adult can easily rock on the horse! (We don’t recommend you to buy one just for the adults to play though) These rocking horses are made to last for years, to be shared among siblings. They definitely prove to be a timeless centrepiece in your house!
You can browse our full range of rocking horses and ride on toys here. If you’d like more information about any of our rocking horses or would like some help choosing the perfect horse, we’d be happy to help.