We've had a lot of requests for information about wooden toys, so we put together this round-up of some of our favorite companies that makes them for children from infants to older kids. Wooden toys have lots of great benefits including durability, safety and often environmental impact. These brands all offer great design and a general simplicity that make them feel a little less like distracting clutter in your home and encourage imaginative play.
In our house, we have a mix of toys (wood, plastic, fabric, etc), but overall not a lot of toys. We're always on the hunt for toys that will be interesting to our daughters over multiple developmental stages, be durable to last over the years and be thoughtfully and designed with kid-safe materials. Wooden toys sometimes come at a higher price point, but taking into consideration the longevity, they can be a great investment. Here are a few companies we've grown to love.
Manhattan Toy Company's goal is to bring joy to everyday play and they definitely deliver with by bringing thoughtful and original design to classic, wood toys. They have a commitment to durability, safety and sustainability with their use of sustainable sourced wood and water-based paints. They were founded in New York by Francis Goldwyn, but were eventually sold and are now based in Minneapolis - a city known for its design talent. They offer a wide range of toys from stuffed animals to books, but they are really well known for their wooden toys, in particular I love their infant toys including their award wining "Skwish" that is part rattle, part teether toy.
We discovered Tegu blocks over at a friend's house recently. I loved the endless possibilities and how easy it was for both me and my friend's kids aged 5 and 8 to play alongside my toddler. Her favorite game was building a tower and then knocking it down (of course). Their product line includes different styles of wooden blocks (also cars and a few other shapes) with magnets inside. The makers look at playing and learning as intertwined and believe that every child possesses the ability to build, create, and imagine. I agree! They also practice ethical and sustainable standards by paying employees a living wage and bringing world-class employment standards to Central America. Their wood comes from sustainable sources in Honduras and every product is designed to be both necessary and useful.
Hapeis the world's largest producer of wooden toys which makes them widely available. Their toys are designed to be long lasting with emphasis on the development of problem solving, fine motor skills, problem solving, imagination, social skills and self discovery. Their musical instruments, this the Pound and Tap Bench in particular stand out with their unique designs, high-quality construction and fun colors.
PlanToys puts focus on safe wooden toys that enhance development for children, especially during their first five formative years. Their pretend play toys like this Camping Playset are especially great, plus they are just so darn cute! They have a strong commitment to sustainability—their toys are made from natural rubber trees and dried in a chemical-free kiln and finished using organic dyes and non-formaldehyde glue. In addition to toys, check out their simple and modern kids furniture.
Founded by Argentinian artist Lorena Siminovich, Petit Collage toys would be at home in an art gallery. Their wooden toy line includes puzzles, pull toys, and stacking sets for young children. This small California company combines natural wood with bright primary colors and prioritizes a modern aesthetic and rigorous sustainability standards in all its playthings. Their Animal Town Wooden Blocks are perfect for developing hand-eye coordination, color and shape recognition and for introducing counting skills.
Tender Leaf Toys are created by craftsmen and designers using experience, knowledge and creativity. Their beautiful wooden toys strive to bring the energy, emotion and excitement of playing with wooden toys back in to the family. We own their Espresso Machine, which brings our two-year-old daughter endless joy—growing up in a coffee-obsessed household, we're not surprised. I really appreciate how well these toys are made, I can tell they will last for a long time to come.
Brio is best known for their iconic wooden trains, which have been in production since the 1800's. Their designs are clean and simple and encourage creativity and imagination for ages 3-99. They refer to their toys as a "play system" that can grow with a child and it's easy to see how they deliver on that with the endless ways the pieces can be arranged and re-arranged. The Rail & Road Travel Set is a great beginning set to build upon.
Please feel free to comment with any other wooden toys companies you love!
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