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The best wooden toys

(Image credit: Pixabay)

The Environmental Working Group has revealed in multiple studies that the exposure to chemicals commonly found in plastics around the home is seriously harming our children.

With 88% of mums admitting to plastic use soaring since becoming a parent (channel survey), it’s time to look at switching to safer, non-toxic choices, across the board.

Taking a playroom back to beautiful basics with wooden toys is something parents all over the world are embracing, for many reasons, one being that plastic toys (which account for 90% of the toy market) are made using fire retardants, BPA, PVC and other plastic chemicals containing lead, phthalates and volatile organic compounds. These are known to cause harm to the human body.

Wooden toys, in stark contrast, are actually good for the developmental health of your child. They’re much studier than the usual plastic offerings too, making each piece a potential heirloom rather than something that will eventually end up in a landfill.

A child’s mind is simply an explosion of cognitive and physical learning and sensory growth and the toys you choose to surround them with have a direct impact on all of this. The Le Toy Van Wooden Honeybake Doctors Play Set really stole our hearts with its vintage look that appeals to both adults and children, and it makes the perfect introduction into the world of imaginative role play. Steering children away from garish plastic toys and introducing them to a more simplistic world of play allows their skills in imaginative play, fine motor skills and problem solving to thrive.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Le Toy Van Wooden Honeybake Doctors Play Set

Ethically made vintage style wooden doctor’s kit with nine life-like accessories

Made using replenishable, high-quality rubber wood
Includes cute structured bag perfect for little hands
Comes with nine well-made accessories
Small amount of plastic used on the stethoscope

We love the attention to detail in this adorable doctor’s kit, which comes complete with toy stethoscope, thermometer, syringe, blood pressure gauge, ear scope, reflex hammer, scissors, two medicine bottles and of course the bag itself. It’s enough to capture the imagination of adults and children alike! 

And the fact that it’s decorated with non-toxic paints and made from durable, sustainable rubberwood gets extra points too. One thing that really stood out about this kit was the lovely bag, which is reinforced to hold its shape and looks beautiful in the playroom. Price-wise, this is comparable to plastic alternatives and other wooden kits with less to offer, so well worth the price tag.

(Image credit: Amazon)

GoKi Wooden Farm Animals

Chunky, solid wood painted farm animals with a Steiner look

Very sturdy – your child isn’t going to break these!
Thoughtful design and paintwork
Excellent value for money
A really nice size to play with

These 100% wooden farm animals should be in every nursery! With 12 animals in the pack (including ‘mummies’ and ‘babies’), you’ve got everything you need to start you off on years of farmyard fun. These are by no means flimsy like some other lower budget animals, and they’re an excellent size. 

The wood is solid while the painted details and rope tails are refined and very classy. The value for money here is exceptional. It’s just as well that these wooden farmyard animals are built to last, because they’re the sort of thing that grows with a child’s play. From a very young age (supervised) babies will enjoy getting to know their favourite animals and later, full imaginative play can take over!


(Image credit: Amazon)

Coogam Wooden Lacing Watermelon

A toy that helps with fine motor skills

Eye-catching design babies and parents will love
Easy for little ones to use and hold
Educational and excellent fine motor skill practice
No information about wood source or paints used

This is reminiscent of one of our favourite childhood stories, and perfect for clever little minds learning how to problem solve. Babies love the eye-catching watermelon slice design and friendly little caterpillar just as much as they love figuring out how to wiggle him through the holes. It also makes a fun accompaniment to story time for interactive story telling. It’s a good size for young children – not too big, not too small – and it’s easy but fun to play with. So much so that it provides great distraction in times when that’s needed! The lack of information about the type of wood and paints used to make this does present a down side for those of you hoping to be eco-savvy buyers though.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Bigjigs Toys traditional train set

Affordable train set with over 100 pieces, compatible with Brio

Compatible with most leading wooden train sets
A full town’s worth of pieces included
Made ethically using responsibly sourced materials
Child friendly paints, stains and lacquers

It’s always a bonus when a toy is ready to go right out of the box, as with this wonderful traditional train set. Everything you need to build your very own town and railroad complete with bridge section, level crossing and crossroads is included and if you’ve already got a train set from any major companies you can slot it in for an extra-large track, no problem. 

All in all, this is a very well-made track at an excellent price, and when you’re ready to expand your world, Bigjigs offers some really unique add-ons such as dinosaur island, a dragon guarding his treasure and even a ship wreck! The perfect introductory train set for early years and beyond.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Tender Leaf Magblocs Magnetic Building Blocks

Magnetic creative building blocks made from solid wood

Fun, easy-to-use educational toy
Available in various designs for different ages (18 months +)
Child-friendly handling with no repelling
Made from sustainable rubberwood and non-toxic paints

Our 3-year-old testers loved playing with these solid wood, educational magnet blocks which come in various designs and skill-level (from 18 months). The 12-piece space themed set we tried out were made from study, blocky, rubber wood each with multi directional magnets hidden inside ensuring there is always positive attraction and no repelling during the building fun. 

It was a joy to see how much children were able to get out of the creative construction of this toy - you can practically see the cogs whirring as they explore the possibilities through imaginative play and problem solving and it was definitely one for encouraging social activity with other kids too. 

The magnets were a little on the weak side, but perhaps not a wholly bad thing as this means that they do come apart easily enough for a toddler to do it all by themselves. We loved the cute drawstring bag that comes included in the set to keep all your blocks in and the possible for expansion with other kits too. As an added bonus, the brand Tender Leaf (ThreadBear in the UK) have been making toys for the past 30 years with sustainable rubberwood, ethical practice and non-toxic paints.

Ruby Deevoy

Ruby Deevoy is a wellbeing, beauty and natural lifestyle expert. She regularly reviews innovative and natural products for her lifestyle column in Chat!, Top Sante and CBD marketplace nabino among many others.