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A rocking horse is a great way to aid your child's development, as well as giving them something enjoyable to play on.
Starting at those suitable for babies aged just nine months old, there are so many different rocking horse styles and lots of great designs on offer. Here we have rounded up our top 10 picks, to help you find the perfect one for your family.
A rocking horse is a toy horse that moves in a rocking motion without covering any distance. In the 17th century rocking horses became popular as a sign of wealth and social status amongst families, who were keen to show that they could afford the high quality wood required to make a traditional rocking horse. One of the earliest rocking horses was ridden by King Charles I when he was a boy. Although basic toy animals have been around a lot longer than this, the motion of the rocking was added later, resulting in the rocking horse today that we all know and love.
Checking the identity of an old rocking horse is not always easy as they were often made by skilled but unknown craft makers. However particular makes of rocking horses do have distinguishable features, for example a horse made by G&J Lines Brothers Of London is often recognisable by the angular pointed corners of its tack and a thistle logo on the front of the martingale.
Children love the concept of the rocking horse as they're often adorable, and younger children can find it soothing, as well as improving their balance, motor skills and enhancing their imagination. With that in mind, Kidadl has rounded up 10 of the best rocking horse for kids, with some of the choices on this list stepping out of the hooves of a traditional rocking horse. Whilst rocking horses themselves may not still be alive, their appeal to kids of all ages certainly is!
If you're searching for more information on rocking horses, make sure you check out our roundup of best baby rocking horses, or if you are looking for something different we have recommendations of the best mud kitchens for kids to enjoy.
Our Top Choice
Smyths Black Rocking Horse
This black rocking horse from Smyths makes playtime even more fun, with realistic sound effects, a comfortable saddle and stirrups that allow your children to play for hours. Suitable for children aged between three and six, this toy is perfect for developing balance and motor skills. We love this toy as it incorporates the traditional rocking horse mixed with aspects of the modern rocking horse toy. Adding to the roleplay fun your child can have with their rocking horse is the plush body and how easily the ears can be pressed to make the horse noises. With lovely detailing across the horse, including a prize ribbon on the harness, as well as a detailed face and mane, this rocking horse is super cool whilst still keeping the cutesy look about it. For this reason, we have chosen this black rocking horse as our top pick as we believe that it is the best rocking horse for kids.
- Price: £39.99
- Age: 3-6
- Seat height: 50cm
- Black and white
- Easy to get off and on
- Batteries required for sounds
Best Plush Rocking Horse
Bugsy Rocking Horse
When searching for the best rocking horse, Bugsy is a fantastic pick that is suitable for little ones who are at least 12 months old. It has a number of fantastic features, including a bell and a rattle hidden in each ear, as well as super soft fur which heightens your baby's senses. Bugsy is perfect for indoor play and makes for hours of fun at play time. Your child will love to play with the different textures and listen to the different sounds that this rocking horse provides. We think that it is one of the best rocking horses on the market for younger kids because it provides all of the essentials of a traditional rocking horse, with the added elements of modern toys. Please note that if your child is younger than 36 months, they will require extra assistance when seated on this rocking horse.
- Price: £69
- Age: 12 months+
- Size H 55 x W 60 x D 30cm
Best Outdoor Rocking Horse
Smoby Cat Rocker
Although traditionally themed around a horse, the rocking horse has transformed into a range of different animals, including unicorns and cats. We think that this outdoor plastic cat is a great alternative for little ones as it offer easy gripping ears which allow for easier balance and the seat is easy to wipe down after hours of playtime. Whether your child loves to play indoors or outdoors, this rocking cat is great for hours of fun for your little one.
- Price: £25.49
- Age: 18 months+
- Suitable for indoors and outdoors
- Great fun for all ages
Best For Families On A Budget
Little Tikes Rocking Horse
Inspire your children's imagination with this blue rocking horse from Little Tikes. This plastic rocking horse is not only budget friendly, but also robust and attractive to look at. The Little Tikes rocking horse offers a sleek design which is suitable for kids as young as 12 months, making it a great pick for toddlers. The rocking horse comes in blue and pink and suits any playroom or bedroom. This Little Tikes rocking horse is plastic which makes it easy to wash and wipe down, it is certainly made with little ones in mind. This Little Tikes rocking horse is also built to last and your kids will love the years of playtime they can have with this wonderful horse.
- Price: £29.99
- Age: 12 months+
- Comes in pink and blue
Best Animal Rockers
Mamas & Papas Rocking Animal, Wildly The Caterpillar
Your one-year-old will love this soft plush rocking horse that will bring out your child's wild side. Proud parents will want to show off this cute, brightly coloured rocking horse in their homes. With hidden sounds and textures on the caterpillar, you can stimulate your toddler's senses whilst keeping them happy and enjoying one of the best baby animal toys. If you are looking for a durable and long lasting rocker, this Mamas and Papas rocking horse is a lovely choice. Make sure to keep Wildly inside as he is not suitable for outdoor play, due to the weather conditions and the material he is made from. However, despite this we still think that he makes a great companion for any one-year-old (and above) throughout the year.
- Price: £49
- Age: 12 months+
- Requires minimal assembly
Best For Roleplay
Tiny Treasures Wooden Unicorn Unicorn Rocker
Who says rocking horses have to be for kids play on? Let your kids play with their dolls and stuffed animals with this Tiny Treasures unicorn rocker, the sides give the doll support whilst being pushed in their very own unicorn rocker. If you're looking for a rocking horse to encourage roleplay and imaginative play, this is a great choice for any little one. Whether your child loves to play with their dolls or enjoys to copy mummy or daddy this rocker gives them a sense of responsibility as it allows them to mimic your day to day activities.
- Price: £30
- Age: 3+
- Fits 44cm doll
- Made to last
- Great for kids to play with
Best For Babies
Mamas & Papas Rocking Animal, Ellery Elephant
If you're looking for the best baby rocker for your little one, then this Ellery Elephant from Mamas & Papas is a great choice. With a modern upgrade on the traditional rocking horse, your baby will adore this super soft, yet high quality rocking elephant. Ellery Elephant has plenty of hidden interactive features ready to entertain any baby. Although this elephant isn't life-size, it still makes a firm favourite for babies. Whether you're trying to rock your baby to sleep or keep them occupied during the day, this elephant rocker is able to help. Made from high quality materials, Ellery makes the perfect addition to any child's playroom.
- Price: £89
- Age: 9 months+
- Comfortable for babies
- High quality material
- H42 x W64 x D 48cm
Best For Handmade
MJmark Handmade Rocking Horse
Following the path of the traditional rocking horse, is this handmade rocker horse that is made with love. When it comes to wooden rocking horses, it can be hard to find one which replicates a traditional rocking horse. However, MJmark has created one of the best rocking horses suitable for kids that does just that. This horse sits proudly on a solid wooden base, ready for your children to enjoy. With a leather harness and stirrups included, this horse has a natural feel to it, including the shape of the horse's head even looking just like a real horse. Although this horse lacks some of the modern elements of other rocking horses, it's a solid wood handmade rocking horse and this rocker provides the finishing touches which could be expected to find on a traditional rocking horse.
- Price: £196.95
- Age: 3-7
- Size: L126cm, B46cm, H90cm
Best Personalised Rocking Horse
Studio Personalised Rocking Horse
When looking for the best toys for your child, you can often come across some hidden gems, many of which include personalised elements. With many of us looking to get our children a special gift which they can look back on when they're older, a personalised rocking horse could be perfect. This is a great toy as it really brings playtime to life, with a wooden base for easy rocking and a comfy fabric horse to sit on your child will have hours of fun. The really special touch though is that this horse can have a name printed on to the saddle, making it personalised specially for your child.
- Price: £29.99
- Age: 3+
- Can be personalised
- Bring playtime to life
Best Wooden Rocking Horse
John Lewis & Partners Wooden Carousel Rocking Horse
If you're looking for your child's first rocking horse, then this wooden carousel styled horse is a great place to start. Causing imaginations to fly high, this rocking horse allows your children to tell stories, play and improve their balance and coordination. The wooden rocking horse is decorated with red details, including the seat and the harness, making it one of the best toys if you're looking for a more basic design. As the whole horse is made from wood, an additional rocking base is not needed as it is incorporated into the design, making it sleeker and less bulky to fit into your home. Designed to be used at a young age, this one makes for a great birthday present or Christmas gift for the little one in your life to enjoy.
Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our suggestions for the best rocking horses then why not take a look at something different like this list of the best kids' teepees and tents, or these best kids' baking sets for your little chefs?
- Price: £40
- Age: 18 months+
- Encourages imaginative play
- Themed like a carousel horse
Olivia is a freelance writer and university graduate. Olivia has a degree in film and television production and enjoys photography and a good documentary. When not writing, Olivia can be found baking, collecting Lego figures, crafting with polymer clay and discovering new places to eat pizza across the West Midlands and beyond.