Wood toys have existed for generations and are making a comeback as the toys of choice for children. Toys made of wood are associated and symbolic with quality and craftsmanship. They are also more common than you might think! Here are some reasons why you should consider wooden toys for your children or as gifts for others.
Why Choose Toys Made Of Wood?
Because wood is a renewable resource, wooden toys are environmentally friendly. They are also biodegradable, meaning they will eventually degrade and no longer take up landfill space.
It is common for toys of wood to last longer because of the strength of the material. This means that a toy made of wood will easily endure the handling and punishment that is present in every day play, and easily pass from child to child in a family, if not longer. Toys made in wood also symbolize a quality and craftsmanship that is not as evident in more common plastic toys. They feel like they will last when you handle them, and that someone took care in making it.
How Are Wooden Toys Made?
There are four steps to making a toy from wood, and in fact, even someone with no woodworking experience can make their own toys by assembling one from a pre-cut kit! Generally, though, more expensive wood toys are made by company craftsmen.
All wooden toys are first rough cut. This means that pieces are cut to generally the right size prior to assembly. Next, prominent features are carved or sanded in, and the toy is more representative of its final shape. Paint (if it gets it) is applied next. If the toy has moving parts, they are now tacked together. Any adjustments are made to it at this time.
What Are The Most Common Wood Toys?
Alphabet blocks are far and away the most common toy (wood) on the market. These are almost a rite of passage among small children. Not only do they display the alphabet and numbers, but can be used for building and stacking. Although simple skills, these simple manipulations are important developmental steps for young children.
Wooden puzzles are the second most common toy (in wood) on the market. These puzzles have several advantages over their cardboard counterparts. First, they are extremely durable. They can withstand rough play, as well as liquids, tearing or other misuse. Secondly, and because of their durability, they pieces fit together just like they were first purchased. Lastly, they can have manipulation knobs that aid young children that are extremely uncommon in non-wooden puzzles.
One of the other most common wood toys is the wooden train. These first became popular in the United States during the 1930’s and 1940’s, and in the 1950’s in Europe. These were handcrafted out of maple, and typically not pained or stained. Interestingly enough, track design has not changed very much from the original ‘peg and hole’ system introduced during this time.
Conclusion:Toys fashioned from wood have been and will continue to be a mainstay in homes for generations. Their durability, craftsmanship, and environmental friendliness make them outstanding choices for toys that will stand the tests of time. This hardiness is also a result of their craftsmanship. While alphabet blocks, puzzles and trains are the most common wood toys sold, there are thousands of great wooden toy options available on the market today.