The Radio Fly Classic Red Wagon is one of the most iconic toys in American history. Its red color and boxy shape are true symbols of pretty much the happiest time in anyone’s life, and they’re likely to remain so even through this digital era. With the Classic, very little has changed ever since the first wagons Radio Flyer made in 1917 (yep, it’s been a century already). In fact, it seems that the thing that’s changed the most about it is our perception and understanding of the influence these kinds of toys have on the kids’ motor and mental capacities.
The wagon is basically a seamless steel basin (stamped), so there are no welds, and the no-scratch edges that will keep your child safe from, well… scratches. Plus, it’s got a heavy coat of paint, which makes sure the wagon itself can’t be scratched. Well, the kids are sure to scratch it eventually, as kids are ingenious when it comes to that, but they’ll sooner outgrow it than decommission it.
The whole thing, wheels and all, measures about 37.4 x 5.2 x 17.6 inches (L x W x H), while the basin itself is 35 x 16 x 4 inches (L x W x D). It may seem shallow, but keep in mind that this is meant for active play, and not sitting idly around with a tablet in hands. On that note, the wagon also comes in a bundle with a wagon canopy, if you’d like to have some sort of sun protection for your kid (just keep in mind this bundle will cost a little extra). While we’re still on the subject of measures, it’s useful to note that the wagon is about 26 pounds heavy, and its maximum load capacity is 150 pounds (this latter piece of info should make plenty of inner children happy, especially given the fact this is the recommended weight limit, not its breaking point).
As far as the wheels go (if you’ll pardon this pathetic attempt at a pun), they’re definitely up to par. Both axles are the same steel that goes into making the basin, and so are the wheels. The 10-inch tires are solid rubber, which makes them ideal for firm surfaces (firm turf, packed sand, concrete, wood, you name it). Soft surfaces, such as sand, are another matter, however. Yes, they’ll still get the cart through, but it’s going to be one heck of a workout. It would be nice to have pneumatic tires here, but then again, that’s an entirely different model. The wagon features, like most Radio Flyer wagons, a controlled turning radius to prevent tipping, as well as no-pinch ball joints to keep everyone safe. The handle attaches to the front wheels axle, and folds underneath the body so that it doesn’t take up any more space than it has to for storage. This is especially nice if you want to, let’s say, drive to Grandma’s.
On this note, we should mention that the wagon does require some assembly out of the box, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Sure, having a mechanical oriented family member would be helpful, but you’ll be able to manage it in well under an hour even if the last thing you’ve assembled was a LEGO cart. If you’ve even ordered from IKEA, then this should be a breeze for you. Come to think of it, it would be a good idea to include your kid(s) in the process, and make a family activity out of it. Sure, it’ll stretch the process a bit, but it will be more than worth it. In ways of seats and padding, there is none. Again, this thing is made for active playing, not idling. If you really want to have some cush for the tush, put a blanket, and you’re golden.
Granted, the wagon is made in China. Used to be they were made in the States, but the production is cheaper elsewhere. On the flip-side, this makes them more affordable, since estimates say the price would be two to three times it is now if they were made in the USA. With this in mind, prioritizing for the label saying Made in USA doesn’t seem as important, does it?
As we mentioned above, today we have a much better understanding of how these toys actually help kids to develop, and why they have been so popular (and are likely to remain popular, despite the new generations being born into the Internet). For a start, ride-on toys, such as the red wagon, but also bikes and trikes, go a long way to helping your kid build up his or her motor skills, both gross (arm and leg coordination) and fine (wrists, hands and fingers, as well feet and toes). Similarly, the red wagon will encourage all sorts of healthy exercise and plenty physical activity, which should help with posture and appetite, and will also have the added benefit of tiring the little tykes, so they’ll be all the more prepared to go to bed. It will also help with your child(ren)’s sense of balance, and help strengthen their self-confidence. Plus, it’ll do wonders for their spatial intelligence and creativity, in addition to encouraging group play, and, by the same token, their social skills. It’s probably written somewhere that every kid should have one of these, and if it’s not, then someone had better write it right now.
Even when the kids grow out of their wagon, and stop lugging each other or their toys around the backyard, the red wagon will still be more than usable. You can store it away at this point, and start waiting for the grandkids, or you could put it to good use in the meanwhile. The wagon’s steel body should be well able to carry your groceries from the car to the kitchen (or the whole way from the store if it’s close). Alternatively, you might use it as a garden cart, or to get your elderly doggo to the park. The possibilities are endless.