NEW YORK -- Why buy wooden toys for children? Chances are good you know at least one parent who sings their praises for durability, sustainability or magical powers to boost creativity. If you don’t, know that such toys can make great gifts.
WOOD ON WHEELS
Cars, trucks, construction vehicles, emergency vehicles: Wooden toys that move are everywhere. Look no further than Melissa & Doug, the mass producer with a wide variety. The brand is available everywhere. The company makes construction vehicles for ages 3-6 that a child must stack together themselves before playing. $19.99 each. On the handmade emporium Etsy.com, the shop TwentySevenUK sells a small wooden racing car that can be engraved with a child’s name and a special date. The seller offers free shipping to the U.S. Each car is $43.05 and comes in white, yellow or green. Wooden train sets may not have wheels, but they do move and there’s a nice selection. Check out the world of Brio.
Lots of wooden play kitchens and toy appliances are out there, but they’ve got a lot of plastic competition. Best to check with a parent first before taking on the big ticket. If you’re not confident about gifting a full-size kitchen, go for a miniature set. Tender Leaf Toys, which makes a beautiful array of wooden toys, has a kitchen set intended for a dollhouse but perfectly suitable as a stand-alone gift. $44.99. Tender Leaf makes lots of other cool kitchen toys, too, including a colorful espresso machine complete with coffee pods that drop and a milk jug. $39.99.
From tic-tac-toe to backgammon, lots of table games come in wood. Aerin makes a fancy Jenga, the classic balancing game, with blocks made of beech, stored in a cream or brown shagreen box with brass detailing. $1,100. It also sells a French Solitaire Set that includes a circular board crafted in Italy from ashwood, with 33 brass balls. $2,750. A little too steep price-wise? Head to Amazon for a nice looking tic-tac-toe table set in wood for $9.99, or a plywood 4 in a row game for $22.
Circle stackers for infants and toddlers are also plentiful, but one Etsy seller, SouthBendWorks, makes a lovely version in multicolored hardwood. $39.99. Pottery Barn Kids carries a wooden pet set complete with a rabbit and its hutch, a dog and its doghouse, and a cat and its cat bed. There are also food bowls and food, including a carrot for the bunny. $29. How about a throwback? A company called Novanatural.com sells a set of wooden stilts for ages 6 and up in oak hardwood. $64.