The Privileged Childhood: A Power Wheels Retrospective


I don't care, I'd still ride in the Barbie version.

I was insanely jealous of anyone who had a Power Wheels as a kid. Sure, I was fairly content with my Hot Wheels, but how was I supposed to compete with those kids that could ride around in their toy and laugh at me? I couldn’t, that’s how. And why? Because Power Wheels were beyond awesome. Let’s talk about why.

Imitation at the Heart of the Fun

As kids, one of the activities we most enjoy is imitating adults. Inversely, as adults, our favorite activity is imitating children, though that’s somewhat frowned upon despite it’s truth. If you consider some staples of children’s toys, you’ll see that consistent high-sellers are kitchen sets, vacuums, life-like dolls, phones, and steering wheels. It all makes sense as kids just love doing anything that they see adults do. So when someone comes along and decides to create a Jeep Wrangler that kids can drive around, Ham Radio included, is it any wonder that kids go nuts for these things?

Dang it, look how happy this kid looks! I want to be this kid!

While I didn’t have a Power Wheels, I had friends that did. I’d hop in their Barbie Jeep and roll around talking to Barbie because, forget you, it was freaking sweet. I was DRIVING a VEHICLE. No one was going to say I wasn’t cool because my little imagination was way above whatever the real world was doing. So what could be cooler than all that? How about a Kawasaki Power Wheels? Check and mate. The product even has the word “Ninja” in its full title, so there will be no convincing a child otherwise on the wonderfulness of said product.

An Expense Worth Making

And sadly you probably will want to convince them otherwise as Power Wheels, while cool, are crazy expensive. We’re talking past $200 expensive. I wish I had one as a kid, but I never questioned why my parents didn’t plunk the money for one of these bad boys. It’s a big investment to make and the only place to really use a Power Wheels is outside, meaning that if you live in an apartment complex, these kids are probably going to be unable to ride it anyway.

It's sad, because what kid wouldn't want to roam the open fields in one of these?

However, don’t let me deter those of you with ample space and money, plus a kid or two. A common complaint from parents these days is the lack of outside exercise kids get. Some things make for great incentives to get kids outside, and Power Wheels count as such an incentive. Even though they’re riding around in these they’ll be getting exercise. Trust me, no kid can resist a full-fledged imagination adventure involving a high-speed chase that leads to him hopping out of the car and sprinting around in circles fighting bad guys with an invisible katana. If I had a Power Wheels right now I’d totally do that.

That’s pretty much all there is to say about the wonder of Power Wheels. Any of you have fortunate enough childhoods to have Power Wheels? What are your thoughts on the matter? I’d like to know, so you need to post a comment.


About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.


  1. I grew up during the 80’s and never had one of these… I was a deprived child; I didn’t even have a real Barbie doll but generic one because my parents didn’t have money. Rough life.

  2. Actually, Power Wheels seem like a great value now that I’ve seen our neighbors Peg Perego! It retails for nearly $800! I just happened to mention it to my husband the other day. Coincidentally, when we looked at the very reasonably priced Power Wheels (by comparison) he was open to considering one for our son.

  3. I’m like you…my parents could never afford one when I was a kid but boy did I wish I had one. My neighbors have two little girls who have a John Deere Power Wheels and they spend hours riding it. They come over to see me (well, they really come to visit the dog!) and they always have some sort of afternoon adventure planned. I can’t wait for my granddaughter to get big enough to ride on so I can spoil her a little!

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