There is something special about the tactile sensation of running your hands over a well-crafted, strong wooden object. And children seem to understand this better than anyone, given that wooden toys have never really gone out of fashion over the centuries, and remain a central play object of homes, playgroups and schools across the world.
Wooden toys are enjoying a major resurgence as parents wistfully recall their own childhoods when choosing toys for their children, and as consumers in general return to traditional toys to balance out the ever-sophisticated toys and gadgets of the digital age.
Few have summed up the appeal of wood in recent times better than sociologist and design historian Amy F. Ogata, who wrote in her book Designing The Creative, that wood “is a familiar and poetic substance, which does not sever the child from close contact with the tree, the table, the floor.”
So, here are six major advantages of wooden toys for children.
Wooden toys made from sustainably sourced, certified wood are, of course, a much more environmentally friendly option than plastic toys. As an organic, renewable substance, wooden toys are biodegradable and can be recycled.
Wooden toys offer further eco credentials when any paint used on them is free of toxic chemicals – or if no paint is used at all.
The production of wooden toys, particularly when hand-crafted and when all materials are sustainably sourced and certified, offers a stark comparison to the creation of many mass-produced plastic toys, which can contain dubious chemicals and often offer little prospect of renewability.
Wooden toys also present a direct connection to the natural world for children.