All it takes is one sound of a siren, and children are at the windows looking for the magic. Fire trucks captivate children, and there’s hardly a child
that never had a firetruck toy. Now, it’s time for you to pass this tradition on to your kids.
But which one? There are so many more choices than when you were a kid. Luckily, we’ve got some suggestions for our favorite toy fire trucks. Plus, we’ve answered a few questions about how to choose and what types there are! The magic is on its way!
Fire Trucks For Toddlers
Toddlers have unique needs when it comes to toys. They need something durable and light, preferably with a few sounds to keep them engaged. They also need bigger buttons and switches so that they don’t get frustrated with something beyond their skill level. Bright colors are always welcome.
Our first firetruck is your toddler’s very first remote control vehicle! Not only is it bright red and engaging, but it comes with a toddler-friendly remote. It won the Oppenheim Platinum Best Toy Award for engaging toys for young children.
The remote is simple for a child to master. It has two buttons. One makes the car move straight forward and the other causes it to spin. It’s soft and won’t damage floors or furniture. It moves well across hardwood and tile as well as low and medium carpet.
The ladder doesn’t extend, and it doesn’t come with any accessories, but the bright, classic colors are enough to make it a fun fire truck toy even without all that. Make sure you supervise your toddler so that he or she doesn’t misplace the remote.
- toddler-friendly remote
- softer than rigid plastic materials
- no accessories
- suitable for ages 2+
Green Toys’ mission is to produce simple, non-toxic toy alternatives to plastic. This toy truck is BPA free and made of more durable recycled materials with soy ink. It doesn’t have sounds or lights, so you’re saved from that headache.
It includes two ladders that slide out, and the full ladder extends and pivots 360 degrees for rescue and snaps to the body of the truck when not in use. It’s easy to push around, and you can wipe it clean with a damp cloth or toss it in the sink for a more thorough cleaning.
If you’re looking for something that will introduce your child to concepts such as letters or numbers, or something that makes realistic sounds, this one isn’t for you. It’s an excellent low-fi alternative to all that, however, when you’re tired of buying batteries.
- safe, non-toxic materials
- suitable for ages 12 months to 10 years
- no batteries required
Fisher-Price’s fire truck is compatible with their entire Little People line. It has sounds and lights, says common phrases, and plays music. It’s excellent for toddlers because many of the sounds respond to manipulating pieces of the toy such as raising the ladder up and down. This response keeps toddlers curious and helps teach them early concepts about cause and effect.
It comes with two Little People firefighters and a classic fire station Dalmatian. The exterior and interior are bright colors with a fun face on the front of the fire truck. The ladder raises and lowers, and the Little People can sit in the body of the truck or on the ladder itself.
The noises can be very loud, but there is an on/off switch located on the bottom for when you want your child to play and use imagination instead of listening to songs and sounds. The wheels move on their own without batteries, but there’s no forward/backward motion button.
- includes 2 figures and dog figure
- lots of music and sound
- 2 AAA batteries, which are included
- suitable for ages 12 months to 5 years (but may be too babyish for older children)
Wooden Fire Trucks
It’s getting harder to find wooden toys in a sea of plastic and high tech, but some companies are still making excellent wooden toys that can fulfill your dream of having little heirlooms to pass down from generation to generation. Plus, they just look cool.
Melissa & Doug create toys from sustainable materials and non-toxic paints. Their fire truck is part of a series of wooden toys and people figures. The simple truck is painted with a few realistic details and includes a ladder that raises and lowers. The hose rolls up and back out with a simple reel. The people are little wooden blocks that fit inside the truck easily and are painted with fun firefighter uniforms.
There’s a little hole in each firefighter so each one can “hold” the hose. The wheels run smoothly and there’s no need to buy batteries. Each piece is made of sustainably sourced materials and safe, non-toxic paints. While it doesn’t teach early concepts like numbers or letters, it does allow your child to play with open-ended imagination and fits with any other toy in this particular Melissa & Doug line (such as the airplane).
- includes two figures
- all natural, non-toxic materials
- suitable for ages 36 months to 5 years
The ladder extends and rotates 360 degrees. There’s a fire hose detail at the back. The mini figure is made of wood, is posable, and can even hold the hose in tiny hands. It’s just the right size for small hands, but toddlers may need help attaching the hose piece to the mini figure’s hands. The ladder folds back onto the body of the fire truck for easy transport or storage. All the materials are from responsibly sourced, environmentally friendly materials, including the paints and decorations. Each of Hape’s toys exceeds North American safety standards.
Again, this isn’t going to lead your child in song, but it will allow him or her to use imagination to play. Dramatic play is highly critical at this age.
- includes one toy figure
- non-toxic, safe materials
- suitable for ages 36 months to 8 years
Toy Fire Trucks With Ladder
Ok enough about the fire trucks. What we really want is the ladder! These trucks have epic ladders that should satisfy even older children. Let’s take a look.
Daron’s ladder truck includes lights, sounds, and the classic red truck. The ladder is one of the best parts, extending and swiveling to tower over the truck (and possibly any other toys). It’s officially licensed as a New York City product and stays true to the design and aesthetic of this famous fire department.
There are lights on top of the body of the truck and sounds that mimic real fire trucks. There’s no permanent on/off switch, but lights and sounds are temporarily activated with small buttons on the top of the truck. Kids can play with these sounds on or off. The realistic nature of the truck encourages kids to imagine themselves in other person’s shoes while the ladder teaches early engineering thinking and spatial reasoning.
It’s still made of plastic, so you should supervise young, rambunctious children who might break it.
- licensed New York City product
- realistic details
- play with sounds on or off
- suitable for ages 6 months to 8 years (though we recommend the latter part of that range)
Toy State’s fire truck is a classic red truck with a pull-out ladder just like the real thing. There are bright orange buttons that control the motorized forward drive plus the lights and sounds. It includes realistic sticker decorations, plays music, and has vocal sounds.
It’s good for kids because the controls are simple to use. They’re bright and easy to see. Your toddler should have no trouble pushing the buttons or folding out the ladder and snapping it back into place. When toddlers push the forward or backward button, the truck zooms forward with lights and sounds just like a real rescue truck.
One downside is the motorized wheels. If you don’t want lights or sounds, you don’t have to put batteries in the truck, but the wheels won’t move freely on their own. It locks you into having working features.
Overall, it’s a lightweight truck with good sounds and a durable plastic body. Your child should keep busy for hours.
- good for toddlers
- buttons for motion, sound, and lights
- 3 AA batteries, which are included
- suitable for ages 3+
This is a mini fire truck with plenty of lights and sounds. It comes with an extendable ladder plus bucket at the top for all the mini figures. It’s an excellent recreation of the real thing while remaining engaging and kid appropriate.
It’s a friction truck that glides effortlessly across most hard surfaces. The wheels are durable and can take some rough play. It comes with five different mini figures, so there’s plenty to pretend. Sounds include driving, horn, and backup. Lights flash on the top of the truck along with the sounds. The ladder folds down on top of the truck for easy transport and storage.
It’s good for younger kids because it doesn’t take a lot to operate the sounds. Plus, the sounds aren’t continuous, so toddlers are encouraged to use their imaginations. The ladder may not be very durable, but the friction wheel feature is an amusing touch.
- friction motion
- lights and sounds
- suitable for ages 3+
Remote Control Engines
For older kids, the ability to control the fire truck remotely is a huge selling feature. These fire trucks offer them the chance to build fine motor skills, use critical thinking, and use their imaginations.
Our first remote control truck is a complex truck that’s still pretty kid friendly. It has realistic styling and comes with a simple remote that kids can master reasonably quickly. It’s an RC car with lights and sounds. The ladder extends manually, but the truck itself moves forward, backward, left, and right.
It runs on 27 MHz and requires quite a few batteries to keep both the remote and the truck running. If younger kids are playing with it, be sure to supervise because the antenna isn’t very durable and may break. While the car will still run, it won’t have the same range.
It’s pretty loud, but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker for occasional use or in a playroom that isn’t part of the main areas of the house (or for very patient parents).
- kid-friendly remote control
- requires 5 AA and 2 AA batteries to run the truck and the remote
- suitable for ages 3+
It’s very detailed and includes some accessories, including a remote control fire hose, safety cones, and fire extinguishers. The remote controls the movement of the fire truck, the extension of the ladder, and even squirts water from the fire hose. The cable is about four feet long so your child should have plenty of space.
Sometimes the remote is a bit finicky, and you may lose connection to some of the buttons on one side or the other. Be sure to check the remote frequently to make sure that everything is in working order.
- tethered, toddler-friendly remote
- includes water squirter
- requires 4 AA batteries
- suitable for ages 3+
Fire Trucks That Shoot Water
Could shooting real water make playing with a fire truck any more fun? It’s pretty much the epitome of why kids love fire trucks (aside from the exciting lights and sounds). Fire trucks everywhere frequently use the hose not just for saving lives and putting out fires, but creating hours of fun for neighborhood kids.
Bruder’s classic toys are excellent additions to your child’s toy collection. They’re durable and well made, featuring realistic details. They have a range of fire truck styles that all squirt water, adding a fun element to the traditional fire truck toy.
11. Bruder MAN
Bruder Man Fire Engine is the simplest of the bunch. It features a bright red truck and extendable ladder. Fill the reservoir with water and the water hose squirts a thin stream of water. Even though it’s a smaller toy, it still shoots a fair amount of water, so exercise caution about where you let your child play.
12. Bruder Granite
The Mack Granite Fire Engine is slightly larger with outriggers and more details. The ladder extends over four feet tall. Fill the reservoir, and the hose pumps water from the nozzle. This one is suitable for slightly older children just based on its size, and it still shoots a good amount of water.
The MB Sprinter Fire Engine includes lights and sounds. It’s a more modern looking fire engine, but you can still fill the reservoir to squirt water from the hose. There are tool bins, highly detailed parts, and a signal horn.
The Bruder Scania R-Series Fire Engine with Water Pump includes a light and sound module that creates a realistic effect. It has Bruder’s classic water reservoir and hose pump to squirt water. Plus, realistic details like doors that open and a fully functioning ladder make it suitable for older children.
- all models are 1:16 scale
- most require batteries for the light and sound modules (usually AAA)
- a range of ages from 36 months to 15 years
Ride-On Fire Trucks
It may not be enough for children to play with a toy. Some children want to get in on the action with a real riding toy. Younger kids may not understand why they can’t get into a smaller sized toy, so these ride-ons give kids the chance to get entirely into the action.
Little Tikes’ ride-on is a fun outside toy with a real working water sprayer. It’s a push car, so kids have to use their feet to move it. While this may not be ideal for some, it does allow very young children a chance to practice those movements and master the truck quickly and easily.
It’s made of durable plastic and features a single seat for one child. The wheels are plastic as well and rotate to give kids control of the truck’s direction. It’s simple to use and very durable. The plastic is intended to hold up outdoors, but you may want to cover it so the sun doesn’t fade the colors prematurely.
Be sure you have a drill available because you may have to drill out some holes to get the bumper to attach properly when it arrives.
- push car
- outside-durable plastic
- suitable for ages 18 months to 5 years (depending on your child’s size)
InStep’s fire truck is the next level of ride-on. Its steel frame is highly durable and has the potential to be an heirloom toy. It’s a pedal car and includes rubber tires. You can adjust the pedals to account for different heights.
The steering is easy to control, and the weight limit is 70 pounds, giving kids plenty of time to grow. A bell attached to the hood makes real sounds while the wooden ladder detail on the sides is a fun touch. The ladders even remove. Your child can store some small items in a storage compartment behind the seat.
It’s meant for outside, but you’ll want to keep it covered to prevent sun and weather damage when it isn’t in use. The paint is bright, and the entire truck is based on classic pedal car designs from the 1950s.
- metal heirloom design
- removable ladders
- suitable for ages 3+
- requires some assembly
Our final ride-on is a fully electric play car that can reach speeds of up to two and a half miles an hour. It has dashboard lights and an mp3 connector for music. Press the steering wheel for a horn, or you can set up engine noises and sirens.
This is a fully responsive car. It’s got all the realistic details and fun sounds that keep kids engaged. There’s even an opening truck and two functional doors. The tires have rubber traction strips for better driving.
It has a 77-pound weight limit so your child should have a few years of growing before becoming too big to drive it. There’s a battery life indicator, but only one child can ride at a time.
- fully electric
- includes the proper battery (6V) and the charger
- suitable for ages 3 years to 8 years.
We’ve given you a lot of choices. Let’s take a look at a few different options you may have.
How Old Is Your Child?
A big part of choosing the right toy is the age of your child. Low tech or high tech, young children have unique needs for their toys.
Toddlers. If your child is a young toddler, the most important thing is something engaging but frustration-free. While some struggle is suitable for growing brains, toddlers fingers can’t manipulate complicated controls or handle fine details. Big buttons for remotes or lights and sounds, and simple parts that little fingers grasp help with fine motor skills without the frustration.
Another good idea is toys that help teach early concepts like colors or numbers, and that use simple songs to keep toddlers engaged. Stick with simple designs and durable materials.
PreK And Older. For older kids, toys that encourage critical thinking skills and imagination are excellent choices. Older children can handle a few more buttons and fine details, so they’re ready for a bigger RC remote or smaller buttons. Also, they can handle toys that are more delicate (for the most part), so you won’t worry as much about the toys breaking.
What Kind Of Materials Should I Use?
There are a few different kinds of materials. All of them have pros and cons.
Plastic. Plastic has as good of a reputation as wooden toys, but it’s usually durable. Plastic toys give you more leeway with the budget and frequently feature more fun benefits like lights and sounds. Plastic doesn’t hurt as much if it’s dropped or thrown, and if it breaks, you don’t feel as bad about losing that particular toy. It’s also a cinch to clean and doesn’t usually stain.
The downside is that plastic isn’t as durable as wood or metal toys. Many plastic toys aren’t made to last the distance, so you probably won’t be able to pass the toys down to multiple children. Also, sometimes plastic and paints aren’t very safe for long-term use.
Wood. Wooden toys are more durable and frequently made of safer materials. They’re beautiful additions to room decor and frequently become the type of toy that you pass down to other children. The downside of wood is that it’s often more expensive and doesn’t have the kinds of lights and sounds that some plastic toys have.
Metal. Metal is similar to wood in that it’s durable. Metal lasts for a long time, but it’s heavy and doesn’t often come with the lights and sounds features of some modern toys.
What Type Of Toy Should I Get?
The type of toy depends a lot on what you want to accomplish.
Basic Models. Basic plastic or wooden fire engines are great for imaginations. Children can make the noises themselves and fully immerse in the play. Sometimes simple toys are great for the imagination and encourage children to place themselves in different situations. This kind of dramatic play is essential for mental development.
Lights And Sounds. Toys that have lights and basic sounds help keep children engaged. Many of them have small buttons that help children develop fine motor skills and learn early concepts about cause and effect. They can also help with critical thinking skills as children learn to manipulate the controls.
Remote Control. Remote control trucks are similar. Children learn cause and effect and how to master different motions. As they get older, they can master more elaborate controls and enhance continually developing motor skills.
Smart Toys And Tech. Some trucks play songs or encourage early math and literacy concepts like numbers and letters. These are good if you want to expose your child to these without making them feel like they’re sitting in a classroom all day. A good mix of simple and high tech toys such as these give children a range. They’re exposed to vital concepts, but they also have the time to use their imagination without something directing them.
Ride-Ons. Ride-on toys are great for developing muscle tone and encouraging movement. Young children can use push cars to direct their play while strengthening muscle groups in the lower body. Pedal cars are similar, but children learn coordination with pedals and steering wheels. As children get older, they may appreciate an electric car, which does less for physical development, but does help with coordination (stopping, starting, and steering).
How Do I Use These Toys?
Supervising young children is essential because they have a tendency to experiment with their environment and you may not always like the result. If they throw a toy, it may break. They may try to stand on toys that can’t hold their weight.
Under basic supervision, fire trucks fill an essential role in children’s lives, pretend. At some point, children move from explorative play to dramatic play, something that teaches them empathy and helps develop critical neural pathways.
When your child pretends to be someone else, he or she develops social and language skills. If you get involved in the play sometimes, your bond strengthens even more. The most important thing is that children can use their imaginations to learn essential concepts about the world.
There’s nothing more magical than a fire engine, and now you can pass that love down to your child. The bright lights and sounds are excellent for play and keeping kids engaged. With a wide range of different types of toy fire trucks, your child should be well on the way to developing those crucial skills through this fun little toy. Chances are, once your child begins to play with a really cool fire engine toy, you’ll remember how much you loved those lights and sounds when you were a kid.
Be honest. What was your favorite as a child: Fire trucks, police cars, trains, or something else? Let us know in the comments below!