The 10 Best Kids Shopping Carts
This wiki has been updated 34 times since it was first published in February of 2016. Let little ones indulge their desire to copy mom and dad with one of these toy shopping carts. All of our selections should provide hours of imaginative fun, and some even serve double-duty as a walker for those just beginning to find their feet. Not only does each model make for a nice distraction for kids in the grocery store, but some can also let them help with the process. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 21, 2020:
In choosing our kids' shopping carts, we looked for products that were a good combination of a toy and a functional item, to keep little ones entertained while still teaching them a bit about the task of grocery shopping. We also aimed to include a range of selections to suit both toddlers and bigger children.
Parents looking for a toy cart that could help their offspring learn about some common errands and chores might like the Battat Deluxe because of its fake produce that users can "cut" in half with the plastic knives. The Little Tikes Shop 'N Learn also brings an element of grocery shopping to life with its functioning scanner, and scannable toy food. We, unfortunately, had to remove the Best Choice Products because its wheels fall off sometimes. We also thought it prudent to eliminate the Bright Starts Giggling Gourmet because it tips over too easily.
If your kids are at the age when they want to mimic everything mom and dad do, they might like the Emmzoe Little Shopper and the Melissa & Doug 4071, which look and feel a lot like the real deal, and can actually come along to the market with you. The Little Tikes Shop 'N Learn offers some realism, too. Even though it's made of plastic, it has a double-decker design, much like the ones grownups use at some stores, with a hand basket on the bottom.
Very young children who respond more to the toy element than the real-life function of these products might like the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe or the Kookamunga 2-in-1, both of which have generously-sized seats for dolls or stuffed animals.
February 28, 2019:
The shopping carts kids are attracted to will depend greatly on their ages and interests. Slightly older children who are hoping to take on more responsibility will like the Melissa & Doug 4071 and the Emmzoe Little Shopper, since they look just like the ones mom and dad push around the store. It will give youngsters the chance to truly help out with the shopping. Parents who are looking for more of a toy than a functional cart will like the Bright Starts Giggling Gourmet. It has tons of interactive parts that will get kids thinking and smiling. Those wanting to prepare their cuties for the real world will love the cash registers and fake money included with the Boley Supermarket Playset and Best Choice Products Supermarket Kit. These might even make a child keen on applying for a job at the local market soon.
HearthSong Wooden Shopping Cart The well-made HearthSong Wooden Shopping Cart boasts a sturdy construction that should last through multiple children, and it has PVC strips on the wheels to protect floors from damage. Conveniently, its cloth storage bag is removable, so you can easily clean it if it gets soiled. hearthsong.com
Technibilt Child's Metal Shopping Cart If your kid wants a cart that looks just like mom and dad's, the Retail Resource Child's Metal Shopping Cart is a good pick. Simple and durable, it has a powder-coated wire frame, three-inch casters, and a large storage capacity. It's available in black, pink, or grey. retailresource.com
Surprising Perks Of Giving Your Kid A Shopping Cart
In fact, giving your kid only a handful or larger toys, versus dozens of small ones, could be a good thing.
With so many adorable gifts to give your children, you might wonder why something as basic and industrial looking as a shopping cart would make the best choice. But give this item a chance — it may surprise you. In fact, giving your kid only a handful or larger toys, versus dozens of small ones, could be a good thing. Research suggests that having too many toys stifles children's creativity. But one big, simple piece like a shopping cart provides your little one with just enough material to spark his imagination, without overwhelming him the way a floor littered with tiny and diverse items would.
Now, if your kid does still happen to have a large collection of building blocks, stuffed animals, action figures, and more, there's another reason you'll be grateful you gave him a shopping cart: it is a self-contained, but fun storage and organization vessel. Asking your child to pick up his toys may not get him very excited, but requesting that your little one put his belongings in his cart might get him into the idea of tidying up. Suddenly, the boring act of cleaning becomes the fun game of pretending to go shopping for toys. And, since the cart is mobile, it makes it that much easier for your son or daughter to gather the trinkets he or she has left all around your home, in a short time.
Your tot's cart can come in handy at the real grocery store, too. Any parent knows what a nightmare it is to bring their young offspring to the supermarket. The child constantly gets into trouble, knocking things over, spilling items, and wandering off where he doesn't belong. But the cart gives your munchkin a sense of purpose, making your kiddo feel like he also has the important job of picking out produce with mom or dad. It also naturally gives your youngster something to do with his hands, other than grabbing at things and making messes.
Why Playing Make Believe Is Good For Children
Your kid's shopping cart can be an integral part of the vital game of make-believe that all youngsters should participate in. Make-believe plays several roles in helping a child's emotional, physical, and mental development. And items that are simple in form and function, but resemble something adults use, can inspire these important games. One major thing this imaginative activity cultivates is empathy. Studies suggest that toddlers begin to display altruistic tendencies and empathic behavior as early as age two. Make-believe scenarios give kiddos the opportunity to put themselves in other people's shoes, and think about the way others could feel, spurring on this important shift from selfishness to selflessness.
During games of make-believe, children tend to imitate things they've seen grownups do, which is also important to their social and cognitive development.
When children create worlds, full of characters and situations, they also learn to cooperate with others. Kids join together with the common goal of making their pretend situation come to life. Whether they're acting as nurse and patient, clerk and customer, or mom and baby, they collaborate to make the situation feel genuine. Kids become, in a sense, teammates with the other children involved in their fictional circumstances and in this way can develop better social skills.
During games of make-believe, children tend to imitate things they've seen grownups do, which is also important to their social and cognitive development. Naturally, providing them with items similar to those that they've seen adults use helps move these copy-cat games along. When little ones imitate their parents, they actually feel more bonded to their mothers and fathers. Next time you see your daughter pretending to put on lipstick, or son pretending to shave, you can smile knowing he's just trying to feel closer to you. And, if you see your child mimicking you by doing something you want him to do more of (like pretending to clean the dishes), praise him. Studies have found that while kids observe and copy their parents a lot, they're more likely to repeat a behavior if they receive positive reinforcement for it.
What To Look For In A Kid's Shopping Cart
Once it's time to select the best shopping cart for your youngster, don't dive into the decision. First, consider all of the different models and their various features. If your little one is prone to be very authentic in the way he copies you, then he may put things like real cartons of milk and bottles of syrup in his cart. Should that be the case, then you'll probably want one that is easy to wipe or hose down. Plastic versions are best for that since they won't rust when they become wet, and they won't stain. Another thing to look for if authenticity will be key to your kid using his cart is one that looks very similar to the real thing. Luckily, there are plenty of options like that.
And for those times your youngster gets distracted and abandons his cart, some models have locking wheels to prevent them from rolling away until your child returns.
Some models come with toys too, like fake eggs, laundry soap, and fruits and veggies. If you bond with your child by bringing him along on regular chores — which, by the way, does count as quality time — you may want to give him a few pieces of plastic produce so he isn't tempted to play with the real stuff. If you'd really like to keep your kiddo entertained and distracted at the store, you can give him a cart that has a little spot for his stuffed animals or FurReal friends. Then he can feel like he's pushing his own baby along in the cart, just like you pushed him when he was younger.
If you'd like the cart to help your child work on coordination and balance, get one with a wide, sturdy base, and 360-degree rotating wheels. This will let him navigate his way around corners and down busy aisles with ease. A non-slip handle will also be useful to help your little one keep his grip on his toy. And for those times your youngster gets distracted and abandons his cart, some models have locking wheels to prevent them from rolling away until your child returns.