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15 benefits of wooden toys: Invest in wood vs plastic

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wooden toys benefits

Wooden toys consist entirely or mainly of wood. It is sustainable, environmentally friendly and offers numerous advantages over plastic toys. It is more versatile in use as it can be used in different ways.

In the list below you will find all 15 benefits of wooden toys.

  1. More uses: Wooden toys can be used in different ways, allowing children to express their creativity and come up with their own rules of play.
  2. More natural raw material: Wood is a renewable and environmentally friendly raw material, unlike plastic.
  3. More like the real world: Wooden toys mimic the real world and provide children with an educational experience compared to plastic toys.
  4. Better physics: Wooden toys are heavier and help children develop a better understanding of gravity and other physical principles.
  5. Longer lifespan: Wooden toys last longer than plastic toys, making them a sustainable choice.
  6. Better for development: Wooden toys support children's motor, spatial and cognitive development.
  7. Higher creativity: Wooden toys stimulate children's creativity and imagination.
  8. More inspiring: Wooden toys inspire children to invent their own play and discover new things.
  9. More imagination: Wooden toys stimulate children's imagination and encourage them to create their own stories.
  10. More beauty: Wooden toys have a natural beauty that appeals to children.
  11. Better focus: Wooden toys help children concentrate better and focus on their play.
  12. More soothing and grounding: Wooden toys have a calming effect and help children feel grounded.
  13. Better investment: Wooden toys are a better investment in the long term because they last longer and are of higher quality.
  14. Higher quality used toys: Wooden toys retain their value better and can easily be passed on or sold to other parents.
  15. More customers: Parents are increasingly choosing wooden toys because of the many benefits they offer.

These benefits are evident in the most popular types of toys, such as wooden train sets, kitchens and workbenches. These toys allow children to express their creativity, develop their motor skills and stimulate their imagination.

Working with natural wood is also easy, even for parents who want to make their own toys. It provides a fun and educational activity where children can get involved and build their own toys.

15 benefits of wooden toys

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More usage options

Wooden toys have more uses, which is better because it allows children to play and develop skills in different ways. This means fewer toys are needed, which is beneficial because it creates less clutter and stress.

A study by Dauch et al. (2018) shows that when children have fewer toys, they play longer and more concentrated with a single toy. This promotes their creativity and helps them focus and explore better.

Thus, having fewer toys in children's environments can lead to better quality of play and promote healthy development.

More natural raw material

A natural resource is a resource that comes from the earth and can be used by people. Wooden toys are a more natural resource, which is better because they are a renewable and sustainable resource, unlike plastic, and have minimal impact on the environment. In addition, wood can break down naturally and help reduce waste problems.

Choosing wooden toys promotes a responsible and environmentally friendly lifestyle, reduces carbon emissions and contributes to the conservation of natural resources.

A study called “Characterizing the Importance of Carbon Stored in Wood Products” showed that wood is more environmentally friendly due to reduced carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion, carbon storage in products and the use of a sustainable and renewable source. This study examined the life cycle of wood products compared to alternative materials and developed an inventory of the amount of emissions at each processing stage.

More like the real world

Wooden toys feel more like the real world, which is better because it is a natural material that provides a pleasant aesthetic experience and stimulates the senses. It invites children to explore the surfaces, providing a realistic and educational experience.

Better physics

The weight of wooden toys makes it possible to better learn the physics of the real world. Wooden toys are heavier than plastic toys, allowing children to gain a better understanding of concepts such as gravity and pressure.

Playing with wooden toys requires more control and improves children's motor skills. By playing with wooden toys, children develop their coordination, grip and strength, which improves their overall development.

Longer life span

Wooden toys last longer. According to Kojiro et al. (2008), this is because wood has a solid structure that becomes more stable with time. The microstructures of wood that are longer in nature are more stable due to prolonged thermal motion and possible repeated moisture uptake and release and/or temperature variation in the environment.

Compared to plastic toys, wooden toys are more durable and practically unbreakable. It can withstand rough play and is a good long-term investment. Unlike electronic toys, wooden toys do not wear out quickly.

Better for development

Development is the process by which children acquire skills, knowledge and growth through various activities and experiences.

Playing with wooden toys helps children develop their motor, cognitive and sensory skills. They learn fine motor skills and coordination by manipulating and building with wooden blocks.

Wooden toys also provide opportunities for developing logical thinking and categorization. Children can explore different shapes and structures, developing spatial awareness. The textures of wooden toys stimulate the sense of touch and invite children to explore and manipulate.

In addition, wooden toys have a calming effect and encourage social and emotional interaction. Children can play together, observe and develop empathy. Collaboration and interaction are encouraged, which promotes children's social skills.

Higher creativity

Creativity is the ability to come up with new and original ideas and express them in a unique way.

Wooden toys encourage creativity through a simple and minimalist play experience. They are organic and have a calm appearance, so children experience less mental strain. This gives them space to solve problems and think creatively.

In 2015, the annual TIMPANI toy study found that a simple wooden cash register scored well in the creativity category and was equally loved by boys and girls across all socio-economic backgrounds.

In addition, wooden toys often have no specific rules or restrictions. They offer children the freedom to come up with their own rules and interpretations. This stimulates their imagination and encourages them to play in creative and unconventional ways.

Unlike toys with lots of details and pre-programmed functions, wooden toys encourage children to create and explore their own scenarios.

More inspiring

Inspiration is the feeling that drives someone to action, creativity and motivation. It can come from different sources and can help people develop new ideas and achieve their goals.

Wooden toys are more inspiring the simple they are. They do not have stop-work sounds, nor do they have flashing light effects. Instead of overloading a child's senses with sounds and lights, the child should use their own imagination to play. This stimulates the child's creativity and imagination, allowing him to create and understand his own play world.

One of my favorite toy companies, Small Foot, says they make their toys out of wood because it inspires imaginations. Wooden toys encourage children to play in creative and unconventional ways.

More imagination

Imagination is the ability to create new ideas, images and concepts in the mind without being based on direct observation or experience.

Wooden toys offer more possibilities for the imagination. It encourages children to play, create and experiment in different ways. Unlike electronic toys that often rely on predefined functions and stories, wooden toys offer a pure and unique play experience.

Research by Amy Parks, assistant professor of early childhood education at the University of Georgia, shows that unstructured playtime, for example simple open-ended wooden toys, is both valuable and beloved in classrooms. Children's imagination soars when they play with things that are not obvious, for a single use (press a button and something happens).

More beauty

Wooden toys are more beautiful. The natural material of wood adds to the aesthetic beauty of the toy. Compared to plastic toys, wooden toys have a simple design that promotes play and stimulates imagination.

In addition, wooden toys are durable so that they remain beautiful for longer, making them an investment that can provide enjoyment to your grandchildren for generations.

Better focus

Focus is the focused attention that someone has for a specific task or activity. It involves full concentration and minimizing distractions.

Wooden toys offer more focus because they stimulate children's imagination and creativity so that they can become fully involved. This requires concentration and focus. Secondly, wooden toys often provide less distraction than plastic toys because they are simpler in design and have less bright colors and sounds. This allows children to concentrate better on the game itself.

Thirdly, research such as Professor Trawick-Smith's TIMPANI toy study has shown that wooden construction toys and toy vehicles provide the highest quality play. Furthermore, wooden toys can provide equal benefits for both boys and girls.

More soothing and grounded

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Grounded toys provide a feeling of peace and connection. They help children to relax and reduce stress. Wooden toys are particularly effective here. The use of wood creates a natural and calming environment.

According to a 2017 National Institutes of Health study, contact with wood induces physiological relaxation. Toys that promote a calm and sustained play environment are extremely valuable for the cognitive development of young children in an age of overstimulation and constant stimulation.

Wooden toys offer a calming and grounding experience and reduce tension and stress.

Better investment

Wooden toys are a better investment. It is natural, considered, sustainable, and can be passed down from generation to generation. Maintaining handmade wooden toys contributes to the maintenance of craft skills.

Wooden toys can be proudly displayed on shelves and desks, and can become valuable collectibles for collectors ranging from lawyers to puzzle enthusiasts.

Higher quality used toys

Wooden toys are of better quality and are easier to pass on or sell as used toys. This is because wood is a natural material that is durable and strong. Unlike plastic toys, wood breaks less quickly, which means it lasts longer and remains beautiful for longer. This means that wooden toys are often of higher quality and retain more value.

More customers

More customers are choosing high-quality wooden toys. According to a report by, the global wooden toys market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2021% to 2031% between 3,4 and 5,2, increasing its value from USD 30,05, 35,24 billion to USD 2028 billion by the end of XNUMX.

A study called “Wood or laminate? - Psychological research of customer expectations” shows that participants are more likely to recommend and purchase wooden products, and are also more likely to accept shortcomings in wooden products. Wood is generally associated with practical, aesthetic and environmentally friendly. In addition, study participants were more likely to recommend and purchase wooden products, and also more likely to accept shortcomings in wooden products.

What are the most popular types of wooden toys?

The most popular wooden toys on our site are toy train sets, kitchens and workbenches. This became apparent after researching the behavior of more than hundreds of thousands of visitors. These toys are so popular because of their durability, classic look and educational value.

Google Trends shows that most people search for the following types of wooden toys, in order of search volume.

  1. Wooden toy train
  2. Wooden toy house
  3. Wooden toy blocks
  4. Wooden toy truck
  5. Wooden toy animals

This research was conducted in English in the global search results. Furthermore, it is clear that wooden train sets benefit most from the extra search volume for toys in the period before Christmas, which indicates that people are more likely to buy these as Christmas gifts.

Search behavior for wooden toys

Wooden toys are becoming increasingly popular compared to plastic toys, due to their natural appearance and reduced use of harmful chemicals. However, there are also some disadvantages, such as the higher price and the risk of splinters.

The choice of wood for the toys is very important. Sustainable wood types such as birch wood and beech wood are often used because of their strength and safety.

Wooden toys are the most popular choice for Montessori and Waldorf education because of the focus on natural materials and open-ended play. It is also perfect for a playgroup due to its durability and stimulating children's imagination and creativity.

What are the disadvantages of wooden toys?

Wooden toys also have some disadvantages. Here are the most important ones.

  • Plastic toys offer more colorful and detailed designs, which can make wooden toys less attractive to children.
  • Wooden toys can be more expensive than plastic toys.
  • Wooden toys may have limited play functions compared to electronic toys.
  • Wooden toys can be more susceptible to scratches and scuffs.
  • Wooden toys can be more difficult to hold for longer periods, especially for younger children.
  • Carving detailed and intricate designs in wood can be more challenging than creating similar designs in plastic.
  • Wooden toys can lose color and look worn over time.

What are the differences between plastic and wooden toy materials?

Plastic differs from wooden material in that the latter can be passed down generation after generation, while plastic toys usually do not last as long. Wooden toys have natural properties that make them more attractive than plastic toys.

It is more durable, does not contain harmful chemicals and is generally safer for young children. Wooden toys have no sharp edges and provide a better sensory experience, stimulating children's imagination and creativity.

Wood is one of the toy materials which is more environmentally friendly and provides a valuable environment for children's development. On the other hand, plastic toys often offer more opportunities for making small parts and creating toys with electronic sounds. It can also be lighter and less likely to break.

What is the best wood for toys?

The best wood for toys is hardwood. Hardwoods such as oak, beech and maple are often used because they are strong and durable. They are suitable for both indoor and outdoor toys, such as puzzle toys. Softwood, such as pine and fir, is less suitable because it can splinter and break more quickly.

Softwoods such as cedar and balsa are lighter and softer, but less durable. Tropical hardwoods are also good for toys, such as teak and eucalyptus are sturdy and smooth, but often more expensive.

Why are Montessori toys made of wood?

Montessori toys are often, but not always, made of wood because it fits the philosophy. Wood is a natural material that allows children to play in a broad and complex way. Montessori practitioners and educators prefer wooden toys because it stimulates children's imagination and promotes symbolic and imaginative play.

Wooden toys are safe and suitable for different ages and stages of development. It emphasizes exploration and concentration, and encourages children to use their imagination.

In addition, wooden toys are environmentally friendly and fit well with the natural and sustainable environment of Montessori classrooms.

Are Waldorf toys always made of wood?

No, although Waldorf toys are always made from natural materials, wood is just one of the options. Other materials that fit within the Waldorf philosophy include wool, handmade textiles and undyed fabrics.

The use of different materials allows children to play without limitations and stimulates their imagination. Waldorf toys are designed to be simple and specific, with limited instructions, so children can explore their creativity and develop their own ideas.

Are wooden toys suitable for preschool?

Yes, wooden toys are perfect for preschool. It is unique, environmentally friendly and provides a tangible learning experience. Wooden toys are designed to stimulate children's imaginations and help them develop important skills.

For example, stacking wooden blocks toys by toddlers promotes spatial awareness and making stories with wooden dolls helps develop language skills.

Can you easily make wooden toys yourself?

Yes, you can easily make wooden toys yourself. Making wooden toys is a great way to express your creativity and offers countless possibilities. Wood is a natural material that is easy to work with and the use of glue is often not necessary.

You can search online for the instructions and tools you need to get started. Choosing the right wood and materials is important, but the process of making wooden toys is generally simple compared to more complex projects.

The most important thing is that you can make good quality toys that are safe for children.

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.