The age of cheap, plastic toys is over. For too long we have been buying our children poorly made, disposable play things, which break easily and add to the mountain of waste that is clogging our planet.
Wooden toys are not only a more environmentally friendly option, but they are also much more durable and hard wearing than flimsy plastic alternatives. But what are the best wooden toddler toys available?
Wooden toys offer all the developmental and engagement benefits of plastic toys, and yet they have considerable retro charm and aesthetic appeal. In fact, they make marvelous gifts exactly because of their attractive look and long lasting nature.
If you are wondering which wooden toy to buy for your toddler then look no further. We have put together a list of 6 beautiful, fun and engaging toddlers toys that you can give to your little one with a clean conscience.
Let the toys we give our children to play with, be kind to the earth that those children will inherit.
6 Best Wooden Toddler Toys
With so many wooden toddler toys on the market, let’s take a look at the best 6 wooden toddler toys out there:
OUR TOP PICK
No need to buy flimsy cardboard puzzles, or unsustainable plastic puzzles, when beautiful wooden toddler toy alternatives like this 6 pack of animal puzzles by Hrayipt exist. The beautiful animal designs are bright and bold and extremely cute.
Not only will they help your child with color and shape recognition, but they will also introduce them to animal names and provide lots of lovely things to chat about.
Each puzzle consists of between 4 and 6 pieces, which is ideal for toddlers aged 1 to 3.
The pieces are solid and thick enough for toddlers to grab easily and keep hold of, and they slot very easily into the grooved frame plate so that children feel a great sense of pride and satisfaction when they put a piece down correctly.
Because the pieces are wooden, they do not bend or tear like cardboard puzzle pieces, and can withstand all the chucking and chewing that toddlers will put them through.
Toddlers will not only have a lovely time playing with these puzzles, but they will also be developing their motor skills, hand / eye coordination, natural curiosity and problem solving skills.
The 6 puzzles stack neatly on top of each other when it is tidy up time, and they make gorgeous bedroom decorations if you display them on shelves or the mantlepiece.
- 6 bright, bold and attractive designs
- 4-6 pieces in each puzzle, perfect for toddlers
- Wooden pieces are durable and long lasting
- Develops motor skills, problem solving, coordination and more
- Introduces kids to shapes, colors and animals
- The pieces can be easily lost or sucked up by the vacuum!
We absolutely love this 11 piece musical instrument set because every instrument is crafted from natural wood and is 100% lead free.
The instruments are unpainted and entirely organic, making them safe and eco-friendly toys for your toddler to enjoy.
The 11 piece set includes bells, a tambourine, maracas, a drum, a wood sounder, a flute, casstenettes, slap sticks and wooden claves, so the sheer variety of instruments is very impressive.
Your little one will be able to feel, touch, and enjoy the various shapes and textures of the pieces, and will be able to listen to all their different sounds.
The development of rhythm and timing can begin early with these beautiful toys.
But it isn’t just musical learning that they inspire. These instruments encourage creativity, coordination, motor skills, cognitive function, curiosity and shape recognition as well.
Through playing simple brain training games with these toys, your child’s intelligence and interests will benefit hugely.
The set comes complete with a canvas carry bag which is decorated with fun printed illustrations.
The bag is ideal for carrying the instruments to play dates and to nursery, and it is easy to pop in the car as well.
It acts as a great storage bag and makes for an easy clean up once playtime is over. Who knows, these instruments might even inspire the next Motzart!
- All instruments made from organic, untreated wood
- 11 pieces for a huge variety of sounds and shapes
- Helps develop rhythm, creativity, coordination and cognition skills
- Drawstring carry bag is great for storage and portability
- As the wood is untreated these toys cannot be washed or get wet.
Gone are the days of plastic trucks and cars. These beautiful painted wooden toddler toy vehicles are charming in their retro design and eco-friendly to boot.
The old fashioned style of the vehicles is matched by the vintage-style wooden material, making this a set that will delight both children and collectors.
The set includes three rescue vehicles (a police car, an ambulance, and a fire truck), an airplane, a dump truck and a steam roller.
The choice of vehicles is ideal for imaginary games, and introduces toddlers to the idea of emergency services as well as different modes of transport. The detail in the paint work is delightful and will capture any child’s imagination and interest.
The dimensions of these toy vehicles are perfect for little hands, and the wheels really do roll well, even across carpet. The roller on the steam roller also actually rolls which is great fun.
The vehicles are excellent for encouraging imagination and role play, and for encouraging children to create their own narratives and get lost in their own world.
- 6 eco-friendly wooden mini vehicles
- Paint work and design is retro and charming
- Wheels rolls well and steamroller really rolls
- Introduces kids to the emergency services
- Encourages imagination, role play and motor skills
- The truck on the dump truck is made from plastic
It is absolutely no wonder that this next wooden toddler toy is a best seller on Amazon. The set contains 21 wooden food pieces and 4 wooden crates.
The foods can be divided up into their various food groups (dairy, meat & fish, fruit & veg, and carbohydrates) and this teaches children about diet and nutrition from a very early age.
These wooden food pieces are beautifully painted, and are really realistic and recognizable.
They aid toddlers with their food recognition and food names, and are also excellent ways to teach kids about shape, size, color and even counting.
Kids absolutely love packing the items into the various crates and serving them up as imaginary dinners.
They can play shops, restaurants, kitchens and lunchtime games, as well as anything else they come up with.
The pieces are small enough for little hands to hold them easily, but are not so small as to be fiddly and easily lost.
They are a great additional set if your child already has a toy kitchen and needs groceries to go inside the cupboards.
- Eco friendly and attractive wooden food items
- Crates are ideal for easy storage (and teach about food groups)
- Pieces are well painted and realistic
- Benefit imagination, health and nutrition knowledge, food recognition
- Great additional content for a toy kitchen
- The paint chips if these toys are thrown about too much
Also available from melissaanddoug.com
What better way to introduce your children to different types of animals than with this gorgeous wooden toddler toy Noah’s ark set?
The fact that the toy is wooden is especially fitting because the story is all about the world flooding, and climate change feels strangely relevant in the light of it! Luckily, this eco-friendly set is made from natural wood and non-toxic, water based paint.
The design of the ark is simple and easy for young toddlers to get to grips with. The portholes, deck and inner cabin all provide lots of places for children to pop the various characters and fit the different shaped pieces.
This is ideal for developing motor skills, hand eye coordination and problem solving skills.
The paint work is colorful and attractive, and the animals are easily recognizable, which is great for developing animal naming and recognition skills. It is also very fun for practicing what sounds they all make!
But crucially, the pieces are well varnished and so do not chip or crack but are durable and long lasting.
The set comes with a beautifully illustrated picture book which can be read alongside playing with the pieces. As well as Noah and his wife, there are crocodiles, lions, elephants, zebras and many other fun and interesting species of animals.
Children will spend hours lost in their own imaginations whilst playing with this wooden toddler toy set, and it makes such a gorgeous ornament when displayed on a bedroom shelf or window sill.
- Beautifully painted wooden animal pieces and arc
- Helps with animal recognition and name learning
- Holes and levels aid motor skills and hand eye coordination
- Story book encourages imagination and creativity
- Beautiful item to display in a child’s bedroom
- The blue cabin is made from plastic
This last wooden toddler toy set is a montessori toy which is almost cute enough to eat! The set includes 7 differently sized vegetables which fit into the various sized holes in the wooden vegetable patch.
Each item of veg is made from 100% natural wood apart from a felt green top that is perfect for grabbing hold of in order to harvest them.
The shape of the vegetables is lovely and smooth and safe for toddlers to hold, and even the vegetable patch has smooth, curved corners so there is no chance of your baby scratching themselves or getting injured.
The paint is non-toxic and water based and we love the bright, eye-catching colors as they really appeal to toddlers.
The game is brilliant for developing motor skills and hand/eye coordination skills, and it also develops natural curiosity and sorting skills. It helps children learn the names of the different fruit and veg as well as learn color names and shape names.
- 6 smooth, wooden vegetable pieces
- Develops hand/eye coordination and motor skills
- Helps toddlers learn vegetable names, colors and shapes
- Encourages children to explore and problem solve
- Attractive, safe and eco-friendly pieces
- The pieces are too small for very young toddlers to handle on their own
When deciding which wooden toddler toy is the best choice for you, here are a few things to consider:
The Quality Of The Wood And The Paint
If you want to buy a truly eco-friendly toy then the wood should be 100% natural and organic.
It is best if the wood is untreated but if painted, make sure that the paint is non-toxic and water based. Lead-based paints are unsafe for children and should be avoided at all costs.
The Developmental Benefits Of The Toy
Many toddler toys offer plentiful developmental benefits, including encouraging exploration, natural curiosity, motor skills, hand/eye coordination, and confidence. Also look for toys which encourage recognition, naming and vocabulary.
The Age Of The child
Technically, toddlers can be any age between around 1 year and 3 years old, and the type of toys that they will feel engaged by and draw to will depend largely on this.
Younger toddlers like large objects that they can hold and feel, whereas older toddlers prefer toys that allow them to explore and learn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Kids Like Wooden Toys?
There is absolutely no reason why a child should prefer a plastic toy to a wooden alternative, and in fact, in the past all toys were made from wood. With the development of safe paints that are bright and colorful, children can be just as delighted by wooden toys as they are by plastic ones.
Why Does Montessori Use Wooden Toys?
Montessori uses wooden toys as they are better for the environment and also safer for children. Plastics contain man made chemicals that can be harmful to children and to the earth and they are also often far less hard wearing and durable than solid wooden alternatives.
The wooden toddler toys that Montessori use tend to encourage exploration, creativity, play and confidence.
Are Wooden Teethers Safe For babies?
Wooden teethers are not only better for the environment than their plastic counterparts, but they are also very durable and safe for babies. It is important to keep wooden teethers sanitized and follow the washing instructions provided by the manufacturer.