The Best Wooden Toys for Parents Who Can’t Take Any More Plastic

These just look so much better strewn about the floor.

by Donna Freydkin

Plastic toys can be awesome. But many modern parents are seeking out wooden toys, which tend to be more thoughtfully made, with fewer materials and better design. The real benefit of wooden toys for toddlers in particular is that they do that thing that plastic toys — with their lights and sounds and fart noises — do not: They encourage kids to fill in the gaps by using their own imaginations. While open-ended imaginative play can sound like a meaningless buzzword, wooden toy blocks or wooden animal toys can encourage kids to make up their own stories and use their imagination really do encourage more learning.

Wooden toys also tend to feel more personal than their plastic counterparts. In a world filled with plastic — some 33 million tons dumped just in 2014, according to the Environmental Protection Agency — wooden toy for kids feel novel, old-fashioned, and more eco-friendly. But don’t be fooled by their Instagram aesthetic and popularity, wooden toys are generally no more sustainable than their plastic counterparts. Unless those wooden toy blocks are hand-carved, unpainted driftwood that originated in your backyard instead of being shipped transcontinentally, your wooden block will have an environmental impact (and while, yes, it will biodegrade, thanks to the poor construction of your landfill, it will take decades to do so).

So, you might not lighten your carbon footprint with these wooden toys, but you’ll appreciate their more subdued aesthetic, and encourage your kid to use their imagination. Here are some of the best wooden toys for babies, toddlers, and kids.

The Best Wooden Toy Blocks

The Best Wood Toys for Toddlers

The Best Wooden Toy Cars

The Best Wooden Dollhouse

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