If you’ve ever had to buy a present for a young child you’ll know how hard it can be to pick something from all the options available. There are so many choices it can be hard to know what to go for, especially when the child is really little and you have no idea what they might be interested in.
My advice in these kinds of situations is to go for something classic, timeless, and wooden.
A set of wooden building blocks or a wooden shape-sorter would make a lovely gift for a baby or toddler. For slightly older children then a wooden doll house or train track would be a great option.
Basically, head to the wooden toy section of whatever shop or website you’re browsing and choose from there!
Here are 5 reasons I have for loving wooden toys.
1. They encourage imaginative play
A lot of wooden toys are open ended. Meaning, they don’t have just one clear purpose. A set of wooden building blocks, for example, can be used to build towers and houses and tunnels and playgrounds for dolls. They can make and be anything a child wants them to be.
2. They help with fine motor skills
Building towers with wooden building blocks helps toddlers work on their fine motor skills as they practice grasping the blocks and carefully letting them go so they balance on one another. Other wooden toys like shape sorters are also brilliant for fine motor skills as children work out how to manipulate the pieces, rotating them so they fit through the right holes.
3. They look good
I know, this shouldn’t be a big priority when it comes to choosing toys, but it is definitely one of the things I love about wooden toys!
Most of the plastic toys we have just aren’t that pretty. At the end of the day I just want them tucked away, out of sight. Our wooden toys on the other hand, just look nicer. They have a classic quality to them that makes them much nicer to have out on display.
4. They are tactile
There is just something special about playing with wooden toys.
They normally have a satisfying weight to them, that plastic toys just don’t have. And when you hold them you can feel the bumps and grain in the wood, which makes playing with them a fantastic sensory experience for little ones.
5. They are quiet
I think all parents will agree that noisy, electronic toys get irritating really quite quickly.
The same sounds and songs over and over again will push the most patient of parents to remove the batteries and then claim the toy must just be broken. So toys that are sound-free are always going to be preferable!
As far as children’s development goes, the fact that wooden toys are quiet is also a really positive thing.
The fact that children have to make their own sound effects allows them to be much more creative, and use their imaginations a lot more. And their thought processes as they play aren’t constantly being disrupted by the toy making noises.
There are plenty of other reasons to love wooden toys, like the fact that they help improve hand-eye coordination and the way they seem to last so beautifully for years and years.
I’m not saying that children should only ever play with traditional wooden toys. My children have a real mix of wooden and plastic toys. They have plenty of toys that are noisy and interactive. And they both enjoy playing on the ipad and the computer. I think it’s important that children have a balance, and that they experience different types of play.
But I do have a real soft spot for timeless wooden toys.