Toddlers & Treadmills: Overkill or About Time?

Came across these products on Target’s website. One’s a working stationary bike for kids aged 4-7, and the other’s a treadmill for kids that age.



Obviously they don’t have all the bells and whistles of adult cardio equipment – but they’re definitely not just toys either.

My feelings are mixed.

On the one hand, kids love to imitate what they see their parents do. I have a friend whose toddler would love to “work out” next to her on something like this while mom’s on the big treadmill. How cool to create an exercise habit at such a young age!

Yet I also see a danger in taking the fun out of physical activity – something that PE classes have historically done all too well. Is free play better for kids at this age? Will they get bored once the novelty wears off? Worse yet, will it turn them off movement and activity later?

And I can’t overlook the prevalence of very young, yet already seriously overweight kids that I see every day in my community, either. Would this help them?

(And I have to admit I’m wondering why adult fitness equipment is almost always white, black or gray, instead of cool colors like these…but that’s another post!)

So I’m torn.


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  1. says

    overall……yuck….I am having enough trouble getting parents to get away from words like “exercise” and “diet” when they are talking to their kids. My experience is that it labels those things as negative so early and the kids know that they must have “issues” or something is wrong with them if that is needed. I push “healthy food choices” and “games” or “activities”. I have had instances of parents wanting 8 year olds to see a personal trainer or start drinking Slim-Fast because they were concerned that they were “pudgy”…there is a balance but…….

  2. Giancarla Calzetta says

    My initial reaction is this: cool. Create ANY physical activity habit early and the barriers later on may not be so daunting. Many kids these days just need exposure and options. However, that being said, I have a hunch that these kid-friendly machines will appeal to about as many children as the adult-sized ones do to their parents so I don’t see them as a solution, per say. Maybe just another piece to solving the larger puzzle – if kids are not working out in school and they look to television, video games, etc for entertainment, maybe these items are a viable option. I especially see the possibilities in cities and other areas where the built environment is an impediment.

  3. Karen Shrum says

    First impression was positive, but that didn’t last. These machines do not support fun play time, interacting with others, enjoying the outdoors or family time. All important elements of childhood that children gain valuable teachings from. And all these things can be done at no charge to a credit card.

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