Best Wooden Toys for Little Kids
Your Guide To High-Quality Wooden Toys, Best Brands, and Toy Info You Can Actually Use!
Everyone from busy moms to completely bewildered uncles could use some clear, right-to-the point toy shopping tips. Sometimes we just don't have time to meander around a store or go into complete zombie mode after staring at e-commerce sites for hours.
Fortunately I've been working in toys for so long; I'm talking 11+ years! From kids museum gift shops to independent toy stores, I wear all kinds of silly hats, like online marketer (which I call FUN marketing), visual merchandiser, sales associate, gift wrapper extraordinaire, and dressing up like the Easter Bunny...
I do it all and I LOVE it. And I'm here to help you navigate the waters of online toy shopping for kids. While wooden toys are some of the best gifts for kids of all ages, this guide is mostly geared toward young children aged 3+mo to 3 years old approximately.
Alright. Now lets get this wood toy extravaganza started!
Cut To The Chase: 6 Toy Brands To Know
Haba, Hape, Melissa & Doug, Janod, Ostheimer, and Plan Toys
First and foremost, you can ALWAYS count on renown wooden toy brands like German companies, Haba and Ostheimer. Made right in Germany, Haba toys produces exquisite wooden block sets that feature whimsical designs, sights and sounds features, and real concepts behind their sets as well.
For starters, their Round n' Round Discovery Set helps improve logical thinking as the wooden block pieces can be stacked to form a rolling car for example. Designed for children 2+, little kids can also build a balance boat, play with wooden spinning tops, rolling rafts, and use components as building blocks too. And as tots get a little older, they can start creating more complex structure's with Haba's more historical, global themed block sets, like their Russian House blocks and Mayan temple wooden block sets.
Fellow German toy maker, Ostheimer, has also earned a glowing reputation for their craftsmanship and quality. And while Haba makes a wide variety of wooden toys, Ostheimer is more known for their staggering selection of wooden figurines. Ranging in everything from forest animals, historical figures, scenery and objects, these hand-carved wooden figurines have become a #1 favorite of Waldorf Education teachers and Waldorf-inspired imaginative play.
Ostheimer wooden figurines are also a fantastic source for finding a charming add-on that perfectly reflects a part of the recipient's personality, or their favorite animal, or mythical creature. Furthermore, many of Ostheimer's wooden figurines are compatible with other Dollhouse brands, miniature nativity scenes, and even holiday mantel décor. They're a great solution for accessorizing a holiday themed centerpiece or hearth display, as Ostheimer has an extensive line of carved wooden angels, nativity scenes, hedgehogs, pine trees, musicians, and more.
Swiss wooden toy brand Hape, appeals to kids with their vibrant, colorful block sets that feature funky cloud designs, swirls, whimsical pastel patterns, celestial influences, and more. In addition to traditional all-natural wood block sets, Hape also has a line of eco-friendly blocks made from bamboo. Hape always uses safe, non-toxic, water based paints in their toys. And like HABA, Hape also packs in a variety of concepts into their wood toys; this challenges little kids to expand their logical and creative thinking abilities, which naturally improves fine and gross motor skill development.
Melissa & Doug is one of the most recognizable wooden toy brands, producing everything from delicious-looking play food sets to even classic stick ponies, like the Prance n' Play Unicorn. This is another toy maker that does a great job at keeping the spirit of classic wooden toys alive by producing lines of timeless play kitchen accessories, baby walkers, traditional all-natural architectural blocks, and wooden stamp sets for crafty types.
Today's Wooden toy makers are really blending modern aesthetics with the traditional wood toy craftsmanship of yesteryear. Joining the ranks of stylish wood toy brands is Janod, the French toy company behind such popular toys as the multi-car truck carrier, classic toolbox toys, wooden balance bikes for toddlers, and magnetic penguin and rocket ship stacking toys.
Last but definitely not least is one of our big favorites, Plan Toys! Not only do these wooden toy makers produce classic wood toys for babies and tots, such as shape sorters, pounding towers, baby blocks, and pull-along toys, but they also make a range of toys for different ages, like wooden dollhouses, miniature furniture and dolls, musical instruments for babies, and classic play food sets. Like Melissa & Doug, Plan Toys products offers a wide range of tools for preschool teachers, day care, play therapists, Pediatricians' offices, homeschooling parents, and elementary school teachers.
Furthermore, Plan Toys has an awesome eco-friendly, sustainable wood toy line that feels great to the touch, which is helpful for promoting fine motor skill development like early clutching. Made from sustainable wood and organic-based paints and materials, these special eco toys also feature non-formaldehyde adhesives.
Wooden Toy Gallery - A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words: Photos of quality wooden toysClick thumbnail to view full-size
Wood Toy Demo Videos - See It To Believe It!
If you aren't able to make to a brick and mortar toy store or get the product knowledge advice you really need, YouTube is a fantastic source for toy reviews and tutorials especially for online shoppers in a hurry. This is a great way to learn about the make and model of a specific wood toy, as well as the educational or developmental benefits children can gain from it.
Here's a collection of helpful wooden toy demos to help you choose and buy quality wood toys with confidence!
Food play is a great introduction to imaginative play and storytelling. Kids become more inquisitive about the culinary wood and how their favorite dishes are made. Probably one of the most popular play food makers, Melissa and Doug makes nearly every meal under the sun from cookies, birthday cakes, pizzas to sandwiches!
HABA wooden toys are known for their exquisite craftsmanship. Get an inside look at the whimsical HABA workshop to learn more about how their award-winning wooden play sets are made.
A simple educational video that takes a look at the Plan Toys Food and Beverage set. A simple, classic yet super durable wooden play food set that's also a big favorite of play therapists and teachers.
These Melissa and Doug Chunky puzzles are designed from children 1-2 years old. These beginning wooden puzzles are also great for shape sorting and dexterity.
Searching For Wood Toys On eBay
Like YouTube, eBay is a great toy source, especially for finding out what's trending among kids, their parents, and the toy industry itself. Fortunately, there's an entire section specifically for wooden toys for toddlers, which hosts a large collection of popular toys from the wooden toy brands mentioned earlier, as well as unique, lesser known brands from all over the world
© 2015 Elissa Capelle Vaughn