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Last updated: June 20, 2020

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Wooden toys are iconic and timeless items. They have entertained and delighted children of all ages for centuries. These days, wooden toys are much more than the simple, colourful blocks we remember from our childhood. Thanks to its versatility, this material has created a huge diversity of products available on the market.

Good-quality wooden toys will help your child to develop, as well as providing hours of fun. Regardless of their age, you can find the perfect wooden toy for your son or daughter. In this article, we will help you to find the toy which may just become your kid’s favourite.

First things first

  • Wooden toys are not just for babies and toddlers. Thanks to the versatility of wood, there are a range of toys which suit all ages.
  • These toys are so appealing because of their simplicity. They also stimulate your children’s fine motor skills and encourage their imagination.
  • They are environmentally-friendly, as wood is an organic and biodegradable material. Many are recyclable.

The best wooden toys on the UK market

When wooden toys are mentioned, you may call to mind the colourful blocks you enjoyed playing with as a child. Although these still delight little ones, the wooden toys now available include so much more than that. Take a look at our short-list of the best wooden toys on the market.

Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker

The Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker Classic Toy features 8 smooth, easy-to-grasp wooden piece rings to stack on a solid-wood rocking base. It’s made from durable and child-safe materials, which delivers exceptional quality and value, making it a top seller and a childhood favourite.

The pieces are brightly coloured and different sizes helping your childbuild early shape, colour, and size-differentiation skills.  This wooden toy is suitable for youngsters of 18 months plus and once they understand colours, you can make the games a little harder by introducing a stacking skills game.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench Wooden Toy with Mallet

Another product by Melissa and Doug who have been around for more than 30 years, creating beautifully designed imagination and creativity sparking products. This is a classic toy which offers your child fun whilst practicing fine motor skills.

Children delight in striking a peg with the mallet and watching one on the opposite side pop up. As they develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, they will also be learning numbers and colours by counting the pegs and naming each colour as it pops up. Suitable for children aged 2-4 years.

Melissa & Doug Animals Wooden Mini-Puzzle

This wooden set of four, 4-piece wooden animal puzzles features raised pieces for easy grasping, and matching pictures under pieces. It comes as a set and is easy to carry around so makes good entertainment when you’re out and about.

Everyone loves a puzzle! Your child can learn their animals whilst encouraging hand-eye coordination and  problem solving. This is sturdy wooden construction and the colour-coded pieces are easy to sort and store.

Jaques of London Count and Spell Wooden Blocks

A best seller on Amazon and in 4th position, here is a great learning resource which will provide hours of fun learning numbers and letters or simply building towers and knocking them down. It’s by Jaques of London, a Family Company Since 1795.

Your child can learn about words and numbers with these beautiful and bright wooden building blocks which are made from FSC approved wood. The blocks are really great quality and arrive gift boxed with a hand tied ribbon. Suitable for children aged 1-3 years.

Viga Wooden Spinning Gears & Cogs – Childrens Toddler Activity Play Toy

This bright and colourful spinning gears playset will keep children entertained for hours. Each cog is removable and the board below outlines the size of the cog for each place. Children must first fit all the cogs into the correct place and then they can spin the whole gear system.

The pieces are bright and colourful, making it entertaining for your young one whilst teaching hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills and being rewarded with fully functional spinning cogs. This toy is suitable for ages 18 months and all toys from this company are made with non-toxic paints & inks.

Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about wooden toys

Wood is an extremely versatile material, which means that there is a huge diversity of wooden toys available. This also means that there are many questions parents may ask about this kind of toy.

kid boy playing wooden toys at home or kindergarten

Wooden toys have many benefits for children of all ages. (Source: Oksana Kuzmina: 35163183/ 123rf.com)

Why is it recommended to play with wooden toys?

Although we will focus largely on young children in this article, wooden toys are great for kids of all ages. It’s value lies in its simplicity and versatility. Whichever product you choose, wooden toys are guaranteed to aid with your child’s development.

  • Awaken the imagination: The simplest wooden toys can stimulate the imagination in any child. What may seem like a rectangular block to an adult becomes so much more in the eyes of a child. It can become a car, a person, or even the first brick in a tall building.
  • Aid with the development of fine motor skills: Because they are denser and heavier than plastic toys, they stimulate motor development in a different way. Playing with wooden toys, especially blocks, allows kids to explore concepts such as balance and gravity, as well as learning about the comparison between size, shape and weight.
  • Foster concentration: Many of the toys we will cover represent tasks to be completed: children can build a town with blocks, prepare a meal or construct a robot. This stimulates concentration and develops the ability to solve problems. Your child will have hours of fun without needing bright lights or catch sound effects.

For what ages are wooden toys recommended?

Traditional toys such as building blocks are generally designed for young children, from a few months to five years old. However, thanks to this material’s versatility, you’ll find wooden toys for all ages. There are wooden toys for the whole family and even adults.

Age range Type of play Examples of Products
Babies and young children (0-4 years of age) Easy to grab toys. Colourful, large and variously shaped pieces Wooden blocks, “Strike the bird”.
Children (5-10 years old) Toys that represent common objects, that allow kids to explore the world safely. Fruits and vegetables to cut.
Preadolescents and adolescents (10-16 years of age) Construction or analysis toys. Games, puzzles. Robotime construction model.
For the whole family Simple toys. Allows competitive games, easy to understand, but addictive Jenga.

Are wooden toys environmentally friendly?

One of the advantages of wooden toys is that they are a more environmentally friendly option. They tend to last a long time and can be passed down from generation to generation. Since wood is an organic material, most wooden toys are biodegradable. Additionally, many of these toys can be recycled.

Of course, to make them you need to cut down trees. However, many toys are made from recycled wood or from scrap wood leftover from the production of other items. This means the total environmental impact is lower than that of mass-produced plastic toys.

Wooden-toy

Remember that wooden toys with small, loose pieces may be a hazard for younger children. (Source: Jozef Polc: 47049516/ 123rf.com)

Are wooden toys fun?

Of course! The simplicity of this type of toy can worry parents. However, toys do not need dazzling lights or complicated mechanics to fascinate children. The striking colours and diversity of shapes can stimulate a child as much or even more than the electronic functions of a plastic toy.

Younger children can entertain themselves for hours by building houses or entire villages with a set of wooden blocks. With toys like a wooden food kit, they will spend great moments preparing salads, roasts or desserts.

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Remember that children’s imagination is infinite and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Are wooden toys safe?

Quality wood products are perfectly safe. As with any other toy intended for your children, it is important to take certain precautions. If the toy contains small parts, we recommend supervising your child while they play. Children under three should not play with small pieces.

After buying a toy, check that all the pieces are well adhered and fixed. Before buying, we also recommend that you check that the paint is not toxic. Some paints used in cheap products may contain heavy metals such as lead. Fortunately, most established brands use water-based paint.

Shopping criteria

Despite being simple, wooden toys bring many benefits to the development of your child. We want to help you find the ideal toy, with the potential to become your son’s or daughter’s favourite. To find entertaining and quality toys, you must take into account the following criteria:

Age of your child

As mentioned in the previous section, there are wooden toys suitable for all ages. However, each age group has different needs. Colourful blocks care very stimulating for babies and toddlers. Children over 4 years of age require more complex toys and that awaken their imagination.

Most wooden toys are created for young children. Pre-teens and teens tend to be less interested in toys and look for other, more mature activities. Therefore, finding wooden toys for them is more difficult. Look for products that represent a challenge or that allow competitive play with the whole family.

Children boys playing with wooden train set

Wooden toys have entertained children for centuries and it’s not surprising that they’re still popular today. (Source: Oksana Kuzmina: 53851907/ 123rf.com)

Wood type

Wooden toys can be made with different types of materials. Most high-quality toys are manufactured with solid wood. Cheaper toys use compressed wood. These products are created using adhesives that can be toxic. Therefore, it is worth considering the high-quality toys.

If you care about the environment, look for products made with sustainable woods. Bamboo, for example, grows fast and is very resilient. This allows the plants used to produce wood to be constantly replaced, which is better for the environment.

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If a toy is for your baby to bite, maple or beech is recommended.

Versatility

As we mentioned in the previous section, simplicity is one of the main advantages of wooden toys. Many of the products in this category are abstract toys, like wooden blocks. They can be used in many different ways. This versatility stimulates the imagination of children.

More structured toys have some kind of defined objectives and rules. Both types of toys are excellent, but they meet different needs. It is worthwhile that your little one alternates between abstract toys and structured games with rules. In our list, we include products that satisfy both needs.

wooden train in the play room

If you are worried about the environment, look for products made from sustainable wood. (Source: Mikhail Rulkov: 46165484/ 123rf.com)

Quality of materials

Paying attention to the quality of the materials is of the utmost importance. This is especially important with coloured toys. Many brands specify that they use non-toxic paints. If they do not, it is worth making sure that it is a recognised brand and operating to high standards.

It is worth checking that all pieces are not loose and are well adhered to each other. Wooden toys with loose or removable small pieces may pose a danger to younger children. In addition, it is important that the cuts and finishes of the pieces are of quality so that the children do get splinters from the wood.

Design

One of the biggest attractions of wooden toys is that they are generally quite beautiful. Their charm lies in the simplicity of their design. Many preserve the nostalgic style of our childhood toys. They come in simple shapes and tend to feature bright colours or to keep the natural color of the wood.

Even the most modern wooden toys maintain a minimalist and striking style. We recommend considering the design and colours of wooden toys, especially when looking for products for babies and younger children.

Summary

Wooden toys have entertained children for centuries and it is not surprising that they are still popular today. Their value and attractiveness lie in their simplicity. Toys as simple as colourful blocks can entertain your little one for hours. They stimulate their imagination and contribute to the development of fine motor skills.

The possibilities offered by wood are endless. Thanks to this, you can find wooden toys for children, teenagers and even adults. In addition, the material is environmentally friendly, as it is organic and biodegradable. A quality wooden toy will become your child’s most prized possession.

If you liked our guide on wooden toys, please recommend this article on social media or leave us a comment.

(Source of the featured image: Choreograph: 49210539/ 123rf.com)

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