Sledding is a simple concept, but some of the winter sleds for kids can get fairly advanced. While sleds were once exclusively made of wood, they are now constructed out of plastic, fiberglass, foam or even inflatable tubing. Ideal sled choice depends on the age and agility of the kid, as well as the size of the hills, because larger hills require sleds that are more durable and controlled.
Traditional sleds have a flat top and a pair of runners underneath. These sleds are still largely made of wood with metal runners, although plastic versions with plastic runners are now on the market. These sleds are fairly heavy and heavy duty. Kids can sit upright with their legs straight out in front of them or lie on their stomachs facing forward.
Pull sleds are similar to traditional sleds, but with a protective barrier on top so kids can lean or hold onto it. These sleds are best for younger children who need to be pulled along on a jaunt through the snow. The front of the sled features a cord to pull the sled, or the back can be attached to an arch-shaped pull sled handle. Bottom runners ensure easy gliding. These sleds, too, are still largely wooden.
Toboggans feature a flat top, flat bottom and either a tapered or curled up front nose. Traditionally made of wood, toboggans are also now available in plastic. They are similar to the traditional sleds, but with no runners. Kids can sit on toboggans the same way they sit on traditional sleds. If the toboggan is large enough, it can hold more than one passenger.
This type of sled is similar to the traditional sled as far as the runners go, but feature a different type of seat. Catamaran's seats are usually made of a flexible canvas or other elasticized material tied between the runners. This gives the passenger a bouncier ride. Kids sit upright on a catamaran sled.
Luges can be fairly advanced, some featuring a molded top that includes an indented seat area and center column for stability. Kids either sit upright or lie on their backs with their feet facing forward to enjoy the ride. Simpler luges will have a flat, rather than molded, top. Luges are usually plastic or fiberglass and better for slightly older children.
Saucer and Tubes
Saucers, as their name implies, are lightweight round, slightly indented plastic disks kids use for sledding down hills. Tubes, as their name also implies, are inflated inner tubes shaped like a doughnut. Although neither saucers nor tubes are technically sleds, they are both popular sledding devices. Both are compact, lightweight and easy for kids to carry. Neither offers much control and can end up spinning in circles. Kids sit upright in saucers and tubes.