“Babies usually take their first steps without any support between the ages of 9 and 12 months and are usually walking well by 15 months. But note that word 'usually': it's perfectly normal for some babies to walk earlier than this, and others to walk later," explains MFM's Helen Brown, head of content delivery and author of Parenting for Dummies.


“Before the great 'first steps’ moment, your child will learn to stand, supported by you (and with gradually reducing rates of wobble) and then will move on to trying to haul themselves up to standing using furniture (or your knees). From there, they'll want to 'cruise': moving from chair to sofa to chair with their hands holding on while their legs move or maybe walking while holding on to you.

“When your child starts trying to take their first steps, try not to rush them (exciting as it is!). Walking takes time to learn. It could be months between your baby starting to stand up and them being able to walk on their own."

Helen continues and says that if you're still waiting for your baby to take their first steps then there are several ways you can encourage them towards solo walking, providing a push-along toy is one of these.

Jump straight to the best push-along toys

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How you can encourage those first solo steps

Helen explains that there are lots of ways to encourage your baby to take their first steps and that it can help to:

  • Give lots of encouragement. Offer a helping hand – or put sturdy furniture nearby – but don’t force them if they are not in the mood.
  • Make sure their feet are bare, where possible, as that way, they'll be able more easily to feel the floor underneath them.
  • Go around the house and remove obvious trip hazards. Also, move furniture with sharp edges or make sure sharp corners are covered. You might also want to put a soft mat down to cushion falls.
  • Once your child is able to cruise, offer sturdy push-along toys to help strengthen those little legs and encourage them to take more steps (see How push-along toys can encourage walking, below).

How push-along toys can encourage walking and boost your child’s confidence

“Push-along toys are a great way to help your child transition from cruising to walking independently, and from taking those first tentative steps to walking with greater confidence. That’s because they give your child some nice stable support as they start to get the hang of this new walking thing – and they move slowly forward with your child, encouraging them to step out more," Helen explains.

"They also give your child a lovely new upright perspective on the world, getting them used to looking ahead and avoiding obstacles and feeling a real sense of independence. For just-starting-out walkers, look for push-alongs with sturdy, wide bases that feel ‘bottom-heavy’ (so there’s no danger of them flipping over when your child pulls on them to lift themselves up to standing) and non-skiddy, slow-moving wheels.

"Once your child is walking easily, you can introduce push-along toys that don’t need to double as support but instead encourage even more balance and coordination, such as toy brooms or wheely animals.”

About our expert

Helen is Deputy Editor of MadeForMums, the author of Parenting for Dummies (Wiley, £17.99) and the Head Tester for our MadeForMums Toy Awards. She has written about parenting for Mumsnet, Pregnancy & Birth, Prima Baby, Boots Parenting Club and She Magazine and she's also been Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby. She has 3 boys and a heavy-duty washing machine.

What to look for in a push-along toy

Here are key considerations to think of before buying a push-along toy:

  • What height should a push-along toy be?
  • What play features should my push-along toy have?
  • What age are push-along toys suitable for?
  • Does a push-along toy help babies learn to walk?

Best push-along toys at a glance:

  • Best for sturdiness and cuddliness: Little Bird Told Me Dexter Dog Push Along, £104.45
  • Best for more confident walkers: Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn 3-in-1 On-the-Go Camper, £74.99
  • Best for crawlers as well as walkers: Jurassic World Pic & Push T Rex, £10
  • Best for older toddlers: Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Grocery Cart, £74.99
  • Best for detachable activity centre: Vtech First Steps Baby Walker, £30
  • Best value: Chicco Gardener Baby Walker 2 in 1 Move and Grow, £40

Here's our pick of the best push-along toys, as tested by babies and rated by parents

1. Little Bird Told Me Dexter Dog Push Along, £104.45

– Best for sturdiness and cuddliness

Little Bird Told Me Dexter Dog Pushalong

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 12 months+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

This push-along toy is in the shape of Dexter, a soft, furry padded labrador dog, in a solid wooden frame with wooden wheels and rubber tyres. Dexter has crinkly ears, a button nose, a collar and a squeaker in his tail. He can also be used as a ride-on (up to weight of 20kg) and comes in a display box with a carry handle.

Dexter is undoubtedly expensive but he's gorgeous to look at and huggably soft to feel, and the push-along itself is sturdy, supportive and well-made. We loved Dexter's squeaky tail and that he's robust enough to be doubled up as a ride-on toy. When our child tester Theo, 12 months, first saw Dexter, his mum Liey said he crawled straight up to him and gave him a cuddle and kiss. She said Dexter is helping him gain balance and strength in his legs, adding, "Theo loves pushing him around the room, squeaking his tail and crinkling his ears."

Available at: Little Bird Told Me and Amazon

2. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn 3-in-1 On-the-Go Camper, £74.99

– Best for more confident walkers

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn® 3-in-1 On-the-Go Camper

Age suitability: 9 months+ | Best for age: 12 months+| Batteries: 3 x AA (not included)
Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

This plastic push-along measures 53cm x 50cm x 35cm and includes a light-up activity centre on wheels with a handle for pushing it along. The activity buttons trigger 3 learning levels of phrases, songs and sounds about letters, counting, shapes and colours. It comes with over 10 removable accessory toys, including a campfire, a fishing rod, a coffee pot and a variety of play food. Here at MadeforMums we loved this push-along so much that it got a Silver award prize in our MadeforMums Toy Awards 2021.

The reason it one this award is because it encourages toddling and offers lots of fun play activities. It's probably not quite sturdy enough for a just-learning-to-stand baby to use the handle for pulling up to standing but rolls along well and is packed with lots of interactive features. We love the coffee pot that rattles and the turning dial on the little hob. It's also a toy with longevity – the fishing rod that you can use to pick up fish shapes and put on the shape sorter 'cooler' will come into its own as your child gets older and develops more dexterity. Anna, mum of our child tester, Finn, 18 months, said, "My son loves it and – honestly – he plays with it every single day. It's colourful and the sound is fantastic. You get so much for the price."

Available at: Amazon

3. Jurassic World Pic & Push T Rex, £10

– Best for crawlers as well as walkers


Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 12 months+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Bronze, MadeforMums Toy Awards 2021

This 35cm-high push-along dinosaur toy will pick up colourful plastic rocks in its 'gyrosphere' when it's rolled over them. The gyrosphere can also be detached and rolled along on its own. It is a Bronze MadeforMums Toy Awards 2021 winner and won the award as it is fun and adaptable for crawlers as well as walkers.

The handle is quite short, though (taller toddlers might find they have to crouch a bit) and it does work better on carpet than a tiled or wooden floor. Annika, mum to our child tester Lilijana, 14 months, said, "I love that there are lots of ways the toy can be used. Lilijana loves posting balls into the wheel the most, wheeling it back and forth, and putting one ball on the top slot."

Available at: Argos

4. Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Grocery Cart, £74.99

– Best for older toddlers

Melissa and Doug Wooden Grow with Me Grocery Cart with child tester Zoe

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None | Awards: MadeforMums Hot Christmas Toy List, 2023

This wooden push-along cart is a great option for older toddlers and has several puzzles, jigsaws and shape sorting activities in built. It includes two wooden chunky puzzle boards, twelve wooden chunky shape-sorting/puzzle pieces, and a play coffee cup with a lid.

We love this wooden push-along toy for this abundance of play opportunities. It has a built-in fruit and veg-themed shape sorter on its sides and a spinning roller drum and toy coffee cup (with removable lid) nestled at the base of the handle. Our child tester (Zoe, 22 months, pictured above) had a go at making 'smoothies' using the wooden food pieces and the play coffee cup. It was featured on our Hot Christmas Toy List, 2023 and remains a great gift, whatever the season.

Available at: Amazon and John Lewis

5. Vtech First Steps Baby Walker, £30

– Best for detachable activity centre

v tech walker multicoloured

Age suitability: 6 months+ | Best for age: 9 months+ | Batteries: 3 x AA (not included) | Awards: Gold, MadeforMums Toy Awards 2023

Winning a Gold award this push-along toy topped the MadeforMum Toy Awards 2023 for the best push-along toy. It has a detachable activity centre, textured wheels and easy-grip handle. The activity centre features light-up buttons, a shape sorter, animal buttons, gears and a play phone.

The detachable activity centre is great – loads for little fingers to get busy with and lots of lights and (loud) sounds – which makes it a good purchase for a baby who's a way off mastering the art of walking. The push-along toy function is smooth enough but our child testers' parents reported that it's a bit slippy on wooden floors. It also flips over a little more easily than we'd like, so it's probably not suitable in this mode for a still-pretty-wobbly-legged toddler. Anisha, mum to twins Devlukia and Krishan, said: "My twins found this product very engaging. They loved the lights, music and the detachable phone, in particular, was a hit!"

Available at: Amazon and Argos

6. Chicco Gardener Baby Walker 2 in 1 Move and Grow, £40

– Best value

Chicco Gardener Baby Walker 2-in-1 Move and Grow

Age suitability: 9 months+ | Best for age: 9 months+ | Batteries: 2 x AA (not included)

This relatively cheap plastic push-along toy has textured wheels and a shaped handle. The front features an interactive shape sorter and garden-themed activity buttons, including a sliding ladybird, a rolling sun and flowers that light up and play music when you 'water' them with watering can.

This is a lovely push-along toy that offers a lot of play value for a great price. It's nice and solid, and our child testers really loved the watering can feature, and the shape sorter that plays funny sounds. Our only gripe is that the shape sorter is only really accessible if a child is standing; a sitting child wouldn't be able to reach the holes.

Available at: Argos




Helen Brown
Helen BrownHead of Content Delivery

Helen is author of the classic advice book Parenting for Dummies and a mum of 3. Before joining MadeForMums, she was Head of Community at Mumsnet and also the Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby.