As a parent, you always want the best for your child. But it can get hard to figure out what that is when you’re faced with too many decisions: disposable versus cloth diapers, how to choose a sleep sack, and even what types of toys to buy.
Parents are responsible for providing fun, educational, and safe toys. With hundreds upon hundreds of toy options out there, it can be tough to make decisions and figure out what’s best for your child.
A common dilemma that is plaguing more and more parents is whether to buy plastic or wooden baby toys. Plastic toys are widely available, generally cheaper, and offer instant gratification for many kids. However, wooden baby toys offer many unique benefits that are worth considering. Wooden baby toys are the healthier, sustainable option that an increasing number of parents are choosing.
The History of Wooden Baby Toys
Wooden toys have a fascinating history; they have been around for centuries and started to gain popularity in the 1700s. England is responsible for the first big wave of wooden baby toys. Alphabet blocks, dolls, and even wooden animal toys were some of the first to emerge and become popular. Wooden toys were created at markets and by local artisans, but also by parents at home!
As history progressed, plastic toys started to hit the market and were popular among manufacturers and parents alike because of their low cost. Additionally, many plastic toys started to come outfitted with sounds and lights, making them new and exciting for kids.
It wasn’t until the last few years that wooden baby toys made a comeback. Parents and educators have begun to recognize the benefits of wooden baby toys, and they are becoming more readily available than ever.
How are Wooden Baby Toys Different?
Wooden baby toys are superior to plastic toys for a variety of reasons, several of which are related to health and safety.
3 reasons why wooden baby toys are healthier than plastic toys include:
- Natural and organic products
- Increased engagement
Wooden Baby Toys are More Durable
First and foremost, wooden baby toys are much more durable than their plastic counterparts. They can withstand a child’s rough-and-tumble play with no problems. Since wooden baby toys are less likely to become broken or damaged, they will last your child many years and may even be passed on to the next generation!
It’s also important to consider the type of wood from which the toy is made. Quality wooden baby toys should be made of hardwoods, like oak, cherry, or maple. These woods are known for their strength and durability. They are less likely to crack or warp over time, ensuring they last for years.
Eliminating Toxins with Wooden Baby Toys
Another benefit of wooden baby toys is that they are usually free from harmful chemicals and cheap plastics that are bad for the environment. Wood is a renewable resource and doesn’t inherently contain any toxic chemicals.
This is very important for wooden baby toys specifically because babies have delicate, developing immune systems. They put everything in their mouths and are more susceptible to these dangers. Parents can have peace of mind knowing that if that happens, no chemical harm will come to their baby.
Wooden Baby Toys are More Engaging
Wooden baby toys are fantastic for promoting learning and development. Most wooden baby toys are created to encourage open-ended play, which is essential for cognitive function. Starting with wooden baby toys from infancy is a great way to begin developing creativity.
Though children don’t really learn to play with others until later in their childhood, the open-ended play associated with wooden toddler toys encourages cooperative play and can help develop empathy and communication skills.
Finally, wooden baby toys are extra engaging because they come in a variety of textures and colors. Babies and toddlers can explore different surfaces and get essential sensory stimulation.
Our Favorite Wooden Baby Toys
When searching for wooden baby toys, it’s important to remember developmental goals for early infancy.
3 of our favorite wooden baby toys that support cognitive function are:
Wooden Frog Rattle for Babies
Rattles make the perfect wooden baby toy, even when the baby is just a few weeks old! Since they make a little noise, they capture the attention of your baby and stimulate their hearing. This can encourage eye tracking, head-turning, and reaching out to grab the toy.
Baby toys like this rattle also help them to learn object permanence, an essential developmental milestone. As baby plays with the rattle, they will eventually learn that even if they can’t see it, it still exists and can be found again.
Wooden Activity Center
Any new parent will tell you – sometimes it’s essential to have an activity center to entertain your baby while you get a break! This wooden activity center is durable and isn’t a giant eyesore. Its light colors and simple design won’t clash with your decorations, and your baby will enjoy the stimulation from all the hanging components.
Gift Set for First Birthday
The gift set of wooden baby toys linked above is the perfect gift for a little one or even for parents at a baby shower! These toys focus on many different milestones, like stacking, developing the pincer grasp, sorting, and more. These toys can grow with your child and will be a crowd-pleaser for years to come!
Wooden Toys and the Montessori Method
One specific educational method that wooden toddler toys align with is the Montessori Method. The Montessori Method is an educational framework based on the idea that children learn best through self-directed activities and hands-on exploration. Wooden toddler toys are well-loved by Montessori experts everywhere.
Wooden toddler toys align perfectly with this method with their simplicity, natural materials, and ability to allow children to have open-ended play. Your tot will be able to learn about the world around them and develop their imagination early in life with their wooden toddler toys.
Another great thing about wooden toys that aligns well with the Montessori Method is that most toys have simple designs and muted colors. A pillar of Montessori is avoiding too many brightly colored things, as they can become distracting or contribute to sensory overload. Simple wooden toys are best!
Why Should I Buy Wooden Toddler Toys?
As your child ages, wooden toddler toys are essential to their development and cognitive function. Wooden toddler toys come in all shapes and sizes that make learning easy and fun. The reason we love wooden toddler toys so much is that they can teach toddlers about real-world topics.
Developing life skills, especially before entering school, is critical to your child’s development. Wooden toddler toys can help little ones learn to tie shoes, discover simple machines, and even practice their math skills!
Toddlers also crave independence. Many parents have experienced the phase where their child just wants to do things themselves and learn independently, even if it seems impractical. Wooden toddler toys can help!
3 real-world topics to explore with wooden toddler toys are:
- Kitchen play
- Learning about animals
Wooden Toddler Toys for Kitchen Learning
Little ones love to help in the kitchen, but there are too many dangerous tools and hazards for toddlers to get really involved. Wooden toddler toys like this Assorted Vegetable Set are perfect for practicing kitchen skills.
This wooden toddler toy promotes fine motor skills and can help teach your child about knife safety. The vegetables can be “cut” in half using the included knife. Your little one can practice with their wooden toddler toys right next to you while you prep for dinner!
Additionally, fruit and vegetable wooden toddler toys can help teach children about the importance of nutrient-dense foods. Having wooden toddler toy versions of fruits and veggies they would see in the grocery store will pique their curiosity and have them wanting to try new foods!
Construction with Wooden Toddler Toys
It’s important for kids to be able to explore possible hobbies and careers with wooden toddler toys, and this Handy Carpenter Set is perfect for that! These wooden toddler toys allow children to explore the possibilities of construction without the hazards of being around real tools.
A construction set is a great example of real-world learning through play. Your child can become familiar with tools and their functions through play. They also support fine motor skills, like turning a screwdriver or gripping a saw handle.
Wooden Animal Toys
Every kid loves animals! From learning about cats and dogs to discovering the intricacies of a rainforest, your little learner will benefit greatly from wooden animal toys. Children can hone in on their social skills when they play animal games with others. Since they often take on the voice or personality of a toy, their creativity will soar!
Wooden animal toys allow children to use their imagination to create scenarios and stories starring their favorite animals. This type of play with wooden animal toys can promote problem-solving skills and fine motor skills.
Science Lessons with Wooden Animal Toys
Wooden animal toys can be used with children of all ages to teach them about nature and science. Wooden animal toys can be a great tool for learning about habitats, food chains, and even other biology subjects. They can teach kids about the importance of sustainability since wooden animal toys are better for the environment than their plastic counterparts.
Wooden Animal Toys for Early Learning
Even the youngest budding zoologist can learn with wooden animal toys! One of the first things children learn is animal sounds, so try incorporating your wooden animal toys into that play and learning time. You can even combine your wooden animal toys into nursery rhymes and songs. Old MacDonald will have a brand-new twist!
Incorporating Wooden Animal Toys into Story Time
Many children's books are focused on animal adventures, so why not make your nightly bedtime stories more interactive with wooden animal toys? You can even help your little one learn to understand sight words and letters; if story time is more interactive, they are more likely to engage in activities about words and letters!
Choosing Age-Appropriate Wooden Animal Toys
There are a few other things to keep in mind when purchasing your wooden animal toys. Always avoid toys that have small or loose parts, as they can become a choking hazard. Look for wooden animal toys that are appropriately sized for your child’s age and abilities.
For babies, choose wooden animal toys that are easy to grasp and hold. For older children, a bigger playset or more intricately made wooden animal toys may be appropriate! There are many types of wooden toys that can support more advanced children, like puzzles and sorting games.
Our Favorite Wooden Animal Toys
For the young dinosaur lover, consider this Brachiosaurus toy. The simple features allow the child to make up their own stories. Perhaps this is a dinosaur from their favorite cartoon, or maybe it’s their new pet that will join them on all their adventures!
Many children will approach that special age where they are begging for a pet. A great way to introduce your child to caring for a pet is with this wooden Pet Care Set! They can practice feeding the animals on a schedule and learn about the care they require.
Finally, another favorite wooden animal toy of ours is this Bear Stacker. Stacking toys are great for babies and toddlers. They teach them fine motor skills and problem-solving skills. Plus, the cute bear at the top adds extra interest for your little animal lover!
Wooden Toys are Well Worth It
Whether they are for older or younger children, wooden toys offer many benefits over their plastic counterparts. Wooden toys are aesthetically pleasing to parents and children, so you won’t mind a few things lying around the house!
Parents looking for high-quality toys can rest easy knowing that wooden toys are great for their children. They are far more durable and promote learning and development that plastic toys don’t. Wooden toys are more of an investment, but they are timeless, educational toys that will last your family a lifetime.