In this modern-day, some of the more traditional toys that children once played with for hundreds of years are becoming hard to find.
Now we have electric toys and apps on phones or tablets, and before that plastic reigned through the 70s and 80s onwards - and before that, well before that there was wood.
Wooden toys have a rich history. Their explosion in popularity can be traced back to the 1700s, where German toymakers introduced wood-crafting toys into their skillset, though there have been wooden toys excavated long before.
Since then, toys were given to children as gifts during special events. These toys were wooden not only because of the materials available at the time but also because these toys were expensive and built to last.
Whilst it’s easy to look at electric and plastic toys and see all of the benefits that they come with today, in terms of impressive features and flashy sound effects, wooden toys come with an array of their own benefits that is important to consider for the modern child.
Wooden toys will last forever, they are hard to break and good for the planet.
So you’re considering stepping away from the world of high-tech toys and buying some wooden toys for your kids, or perhaps you need a gift for a young relative or friend - but with so many options it can be difficult to decide what the best wooden toy would be. How can you know what will actually be played with? What will stand the test of time?
If you find yourself in this position then don’t worry! This is the article for you! We’ve compiled a list of the 5 wooden toys for kids that we could find, separated into different age groups.
We’ve also included a short buyers guide and frequently asked questions section, to clarify and answer any of your most important questions.
Best For Under 5
OUR TOP PICK
There is nothing more traditional in the world of toys than building blocks. And let’s face it - wooden blocks are the king of blocks.
The weight of wooden blocks allows for strong structures, that will help your child to play and be creative. This set by Melissa and Doug is an incredible 100 piece set that will stay in your child’s toy chest for a very long time.
Buildings blocks teach kids about a lot of different things. They help kids to understand shapes and sizes and how these things fit together - which will be useful in future schooling when learning about shapes and even geometry.
Like many wooden toys, these building blocks also give a child motor skills and increase hand-eye coordination. But most importantly - this building block set is incredible for creativity.
These building blocks could be the first step in the life of a budding architect - with different colors and shapes to help your child create anything their mind can come up with.
Buildings blocks are great for little construction projects, from houses to castles, towns, and cities!
It’s important to note that safety has been considered when designing these blocks, with blocks that are lightweight, with rounded edges, and a smooth paint finish that does not splinter or flake off after extended play sessions.
If you’re looking for a staple, something simple and robust, then this set of wooden building blocks is a safe bet for any child’s toy chest!
- Simple - simple fun that promotes motor skills and creativity.
- Colors - this set comes in 4 colors and 9 different shapes.
- Safe - safely made blocks with smooth corners and paint finish.
- Interest - might be difficult to get your kids engaged with these blocks, considering the alternatives they might have.
One of the best things about wooden toys is how they can teach kids vital skills in creativity, motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.
If you’re looking for something that will help a child with these skills, then this musical instrument set by Chriffer might be the right gift for you!
This product comes with a xylophone, a tambourine, a woodblock in the shape of a fish, a clapper, 2 eggs, 2 bells, 2 cymbals, and 1 triangle.
This is a comprehensive set of musical instruments that will allow your child to interact with music from a young age. Musical experience from a young age has been linked to increases in motor function and brain development as well as creativity.
The amount of different pieces in this set also gives you a toy that your child can include others in - making noise with these toys can be great fun with a friend!
It’s asl important to note that all of these toys are made with high-quality wood that has been certified as non-toxic, with different certifications to make sure that they’re safe for your child.
This wooden toy set is recommended for children 3 years or older, with a safety warning included reminding you to supervise younger children with these items.
We were impressed with the quality and variety of toys included in this set, and think this would be a great gift for the holidays or a birthday.
- Multiple item set - lots of toys without having to buy them separately. A large variety of instruments to introduce your child into di
- Ages - not bad for slightly older children either, these could probably be played with up to 6 years old.
- Eco-friendly - certified and non-toxic for peace of mind both for your child and environmentally.
- Volume - this is quite a noisy set of toys, so keep that in mind before buying!
Plan Toys are a company dedicated to making the earth better, whilst creating engaging and unique toys for kids.
This creative playhouse is made entirely of wood and looks almost like a traditional doll’s house. It has a lot of different little features, including a moveable staircase and roofs with solar cells on the top to educate your child about modern sustainable energy sources. In total there are three different rooms made up out of 28 pieces.
You can also buy a selection of different families from Plan Toys that will be able to move into this little house, with options for different ethnic backgrounds.
Inclusivity is an important thing for Plan Toys, both in environmental sourcing for their materials and in terms of the kinds of toys that they’re creating.
- Wooden Doll’s House - almost traditional but with new, sustainable materials.
- 28 Pieces - with moveable pieces to allow your child to change the house around.
- Features - Family and additional features are sold separately, but can still work great with other toys your child might have!
5 And Up
If the building blocks from the first section sounded a little dry, then this castle set is bound to blow you away! Encourage your child to make the castle of their dreams with this set of 150 durable, interchangeable building blocks.
Fao Schwarz is a tried and tested company, originating from a man in the 1800s who made his own store.
150 years later and the company is still alive and selling the same kind of toys you might have found back in the 19th century.
This is a slightly more advanced set, which means more difficult problem solving for your child. The different possibilities and varieties of different shapes allow your child to consider carefully how they can make a castle like the one in their imagination.
We also think this is a great set for parents to get involved and help their children. It’s not quite as complex as something like lego, but it could be a great precursor to more complex building toys your child will encounter in the future.
It’s made of premium natural wood. It’s also worth noting that there are two different set options you can choose from - a 150 or 75 piece set.
We found the 150 set to be a lot more impressive, with enough pieces to build anything your child could imagine.
- Size - a more extensive building set than others
- Sociable - a great project for siblings or parents to try together.
- Educational - great for problem-solving and learning about construction/shapes.
- Castle - if your child isn’t into medieval castles, this might not be right for them.
This set of wooden puzzles is great for older kids who like to be challenged. If your child finds jigsaws dull, then these 3D vehicles are sure to delight them!
The first listed set includes a Helicopter, Jeep, Lifeboat, and Fighter Jet, but that’s just one option of what you can buy.
There are also larger options for Aircraft Carriers, dinosaurs, pirate ships, and animals. If there is something your child is specifically interested in, chances are that you’ll be able to find a 3D puzzle of it.
The way these puzzles work is through laser-cut stencils that your child can pop out one piece at a time and begin to build.
There are roughly 30-40 pieces in the smaller sets, and these models require no additional materials to build, so you won’t have to rush out and find glue or specific tools before your child can get started.
We would like to point out that this product is for older children and it is recommended for 8 years and up, but that’s not to say it couldn’t be a guided project with a parent or an older sibling for a child younger than that age range.
- Complex Puzzles - with multiple pieces to keep your child busy for quite some time.
- Colors - vibrant colors that will look great in a final result on a mantlepiece or shelf.
- Options - many options of different models to pick from.
- Delicate - Flimsy wood once built, so they run the risk of breaking in rough play after they are completed.
Now that we’re doing with the products, here is a short buyer's guide to walking you through some of the most important things to consider when buying a wooden toy for your child.
Quality is really important when it comes to wooden toys. You wouldn’t want to buy a set of buildings blocks, for example, only to find out that they are made of brittle wood that breaks when your child plays with them.
Quality is also important to consider in terms of safety - broken or chipped wood could be dangerous!
To get a good idea of quality it’s worth checking customer reviews to see what other parents have to say about the product.
When buying a wooden toy you have a choice to make - are you looking for something educational, or something fun?
Thankfully, although you’ll be able to find products that cater to one or the other concept, you’ll also be able to find a range of products that try to combine the two.
For children under the age of five, often educational and fun cross over.
For example in the musical instrument set we included above, these are toys that are fun but also offer great early educational value including motor skills and creativity.
When shopping for wooden toys, one of the things you’ll really need to keep an eye out for is toxicity. Sometimes paint finishes used on products can be toxic, especially for younger children.
We recommend only buying products that have a guarantee of no toxicity, with certificates or additional information on their product pages.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are wooden toys better?
As with everything, there are pros and cons to wooden toys. Things that make them better than plastic or digital toys include - better for the environment, better for teaching creativity and motor skills, and also their great durability.
What age are wooden toys good for?
Although it can appear that wooden toys are just for little kids - and they are certainly more often given as gifts for kids below the age of 5 - that’s not to say that they can’t be good for all kids.
A quick look online and you’ll be able to find wooden toys that suit a variety of different ages, all the way up to 12 years of age.
Wooden toys are needed in this day and age, and if you’re considering giving one to a child as a gift then you’re making a great decision.
Although there are a lot of options, always consider who the child is that you’re buying for, as well as the value of the toy you’re gifting.
Value doesn’t mean how much it costs, but how much it will be able to benefit them as they learn and grow and play. Happy shopping, we hope you find the perfect toy you’re looking for!