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Wooden toys - do children actually find them fun?

38 replies

Anon778833 · 29/09/2020 09:46

Or are they mainly about making ‘sustainable’ life choices?

A lot of them look boring to me. But fully prepared to be told I’m wrong...

OP posts:
ineedanewbum · 29/09/2020 09:53

A relative gave my son a box of wooden blocks for Christmas about 3/4 years ago. Nothing special about them just plain blocks all the same size and shape. They are the most played with toy in our house. All 3 kids play with them everyday. Have also been given wooden train tracks that are still played with 6/7 years later. Any plastic toys we've been given are played with for a little while then left in toy drawers and forgotten about and any wooden toys we have are taken out over and over again.

TinySleepThief · 29/09/2020 09:56

Of course they find them fun, if kids didn't enjoy playing with them there wouldn't be a market for them.

I honesty think things like wooden blocks etc are some of the best toys you can buy for a child as they encourage them to use their imagination.

covetingthepreciousthings · 29/09/2020 09:56

We have a fair few wooden toys, and certain ones are played with almost every day - wooden blocks and balls are definitely the most played with toys.

We also have a 'wobbel' board which has been played with nearly every day too, i was a bit hesitant to spend so much, but actually it's been worth it I'd say.

We have Grimms rainbows etc.. and they're played with, but actually probably not enough to have justified the cost, I do like the look of them on the shelves though Grin

stargirl1701 · 29/09/2020 09:58

My DC are 8 and 6. The vast majority of their toys are wooden. DD1 has plastic Lego and DD2 has plastic Disney princess dolls which were all gifts. And, we have Magformers which I bought not realising Tegu existed.

VenusClapTrap · 29/09/2020 09:59

Two of the favourite toys my dc had when little were their wooden train set and those wooden peg people who bounce out of colour coded holes in a wooden block - I can’t remember what that thing was called, but it was played with constantly. I bought those for a lot of other babies and they all loved them.

minipie · 29/09/2020 10:00

Same as plastic toys - some are a hit some aren’t

DCs have a painted wooden cake set and a painted wooden ice cream set that have been played with over and over again. Also some magnetic wooden dress up horses. All Melissa & Doug I think.

Aroundtheworldin80moves · 29/09/2020 10:01

Depends on the toy.
Kitchens, trainsets, etc are fantastic.Lots of toddler/prescription toys work well I wood, encouraging open ended play and imagination.

But as they get older and toys more intricate, wood isn't always versatile enough. Thete isn't reallly a Lego equivalent for example.

Some tpys don't eork in wood.... Metal balance bikes work better than wooden ones for example.

LadyCatStark · 29/09/2020 10:01

Yes! I work with young children who have SEND and my wooden toys are by far my most popular ones (well after bubbles).

minipie · 29/09/2020 10:02

those wooden peg people who bounce out of colour coded holes in a wooden block - I can’t remember what that thing was called

We had this! It was made by Galt.

TheLastStarfighter · 29/09/2020 10:03

If you take “wooden toys” as being a generic term for a category of imaginative play toys then I would say yes.

In general terms, wooden toys terms to be multipurpose and able to be used in imaginative play for a number of different things, as opposed to toys, typically made of plastic, that are highly specific in purpose, often due to the amount of detail.

The most played with toys when my kids were young were blankets and a clothes aired for making a den, playsilks (coloured cloths) for making landscapes for trains/animals etc, and the playmobil castle (much as I personally would have preferred them to play with the wooden ostheimer one!).

But I don’t think there are any toys that are inherently better or worse than others.

lasangoles · 29/09/2020 10:04

Yes! My son loves them. His favourites are his wooden boat, wooden cars and car park, wobbel board (he spends hours on this), wooden kitchen and food, wooden Grimms blocks and his emotion stones (not wooden, but still sustainable). We don't have any plastic toys apart from a few bits that were gifted and he isn't interested in the plastic ones. I like the idea of having toys that they need to use their imagination to use, as opposed to simply pressing a button and being presented with noises and flashy lights.

AriettyHomily · 29/09/2020 10:05

A lot of them (like @covetingthepreciousthings said) look pretty. We had the rainbows, they looked so lovely. Kids not interested.

They loved their blocks and wooden trolley thing that you push and also wooden food that velcroed together and you cut with a wooden knife but equally they loved the plastic shit.

Tomy's squeaky eggs where without a doubt the most used toy we had when they were smaller.

We had loads of second hand plastic toys, made me feel slightly better, and you can always pass them on again.

Bluegrass · 29/09/2020 10:06

Absolutely. Brio wooden train set has been much loved, and it is amazing how many different ways a load of wooden blocks can be played with!

I think a lot of children will default to wanting screens to play with or watch, or will want something that looks more immediately exciting, but if you get them out of that mindset and looking for something else to you we often find ours get completely absorbed playing happily with much simpler things. I think it’s good to try to find a balance as it makes their minds work in different ways.

minipie · 29/09/2020 10:06

Yes I agree that after about 6 wooden toys are less likely to be popular. Though I had a wooden marble run that was amazing - looked for the same for DC and could only find mega expensive versions sadly.

LolaSmiles · 29/09/2020 10:06

DC have a Triclimb and some wooden blocks and they're the most played with toys. We have some plastic ones too that we've bought second hand because we are trying to make sustainable choices.
When DC hit Lego age then they'll be having Lego.

titnomatani · 29/09/2020 10:08

I fell into the trap of buying a huge bundle for my toddler- some he played with (coloured rainbow, various blocks, coloured puzzles) and others he rejected and hasn't touched since (pikler triangle- not sure if it's a toy but used a lot in play, peg people, stacking disks).

I find most of the wooden toy market is for the parents instead of the children- the toys look beautiful but children don't always find them 'fun'.

Aroundtheworldin80moves · 29/09/2020 10:10

Generally speaking, a toy without buttons, batteries, noises or flashy lights has more longevity and range of uses than one with all of those things, regardless of the material it's made from.
So the farmhouse might be a, the animals plastic, bits of fabric to make the field... And a teddy bear as a companion.

titnomatani · 29/09/2020 10:10

Ps. I also got him a huge wooden marble run. He played with it once or twice. Realised his cars fell through the slots instead of rolling down and didn't look back again. It's now taking up valuable space :/ I keep thinking I'm going to sell the unused toys on eBay or something but haven't got the heart to get rid of barely played with toys I paid a fortune for.

lughnasadh · 29/09/2020 10:11

Wooden train sets and bricks, also marble runs, and cogs/levers/engineering bits, are still used way after age six ish.

It's being able to use them for things other than the stated purpose that makes them valuable and fun.

The wooden dolls and houses/farms tend to be less 'blonde and breasts' than Barbie etc. and less freaky than LOL stuff.

Sylvanians are very plastic, but long lasting and don't promote any odd agenda, so they are good too. Same with lego.

ForeverBubblegum · 29/09/2020 10:12

Wooden toys often aren't the show stopping excitingly toy at Christmas, but they have more long time play value. So the loud, flashy light vetech thing might be what they are originally drawn to, but it only does one thing and they'll be done with it within a week.

Whereas wooden blocks can be towers to knock over, castles for knights, houses for dolls, walls for zoos, hills / ramps for train tracks etc. They tend to be the type of to with lots of allocation.

SilenceOfTheEmu · 29/09/2020 10:13

My mum used to only buy wooden toys etc
I just always longed for the plastic crap as opposed to the wooden version

VirginiaWolverine · 29/09/2020 10:14

The most used toy we had was a set of playsilks - my youngest child is 11, and they still get occasional use, along with old sheets. After that, wooden blocks, cuddly animal farm set, noisy plastic fire engine and plastic fruit and vegetables were the most popular. But giant cardboard boxes beat every actual toy hands down in terms of fun.


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Honeyroar · 29/09/2020 10:16

Surely it depends what the toy is rather than what it’s made of? Obviously a fashionable flashing gimmicky toy will appeal more, but other tots like dolls houses/garages etc will work in both forms.

TheVanguardSix · 29/09/2020 10:19

It depends on the toys and the child.
I grew up in the 70s with loads of German-made wooden toys (the gold standard!). I loved them. I could build little towns and villages, forests, a whole little world full of shape and colour. I loved our Brio set.

My eldest loved wooden toys and loved his Brio set. He was full of imaginative play!! Incredibly imaginative. He could make a universe out of sticks and play endlessly inside his own creations. But his favourite toys were Lego and Playmobil (the latter especially).

MIddle DC didn't ever really play with toys, but is (and I say this without reluctance) a gifted artist. She was born holding a pencil! Not a lot of play, but always, always, always drawing or sculpting. Always!

My youngest doesn't play with toys at all. Never really did. He played a bit here and there with his oldest brother's toys, but not a whole lot. He was always admiring blades of grass or working out the flow of water in a maze for example, when he was a tot, sorting out how things worked. He's 6 now and would prefer to talk about exoskeletons or the elements/metals. His curiosity is a beautiful thing. But I secretly wanted to have shelves full of eye-catching Grimms toys. Smile Alas, it wasn't to be. He's just into earthworms and memorizing the Hindu gods and the greatest religion of all, Minecraft. So, that's that!

My eldest's former nursery teacher runs one of the most beautiful online toy shops, One Hundred Toys. He was a phenomenal teacher and had a huge impact on the rest of DS1's education. Start as you mean to go on they say. Well, DS had a good start! If you like Grimms and the rest, you'll love One Hundred Toys. Such a great site/shop. The blog is excellent.

timeisnotaline · 29/09/2020 10:25

My dc have lots and love them. It’s a small fortune worth of toys I admit. Dollhouse, little people, balls food, wobbel and blocks are probably the most used. Those popping people others mention are great. We took tegu on a family holiday and all the older cousins (8-15 in age) would spend time setting things up, it was great.

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