Creative Child

Choosing the Right Wooden Educational Toys

By, Andrea Beilinson

Wooden toys make a terrific choice for educational toys because they are durable and safe. Not only are the colorful and fun to play with, they also encourage eye-hand coordination and imaginative play.

For Babies:

Babies love the gentle sound of rattles and, at about five months, start experimenting with holding things and moving them from their hands to their mouths. ImagiPLAY makes rattles from managed forest Beechwood that is sanded and finished with beeswax. Rattles in elephant, bird, fish, hedgehog designs make a perfect first wooden toy. Check them out here.

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Babies love to sort, so what better than a shape sorter? Your baby will love placing the colorful wooden shapes into their corresponding holes in the wooden "cage" and rolling it around to make sound. This toy, designed for children one year old and up, engages both fine motor skills and auditory senses, and helps young children increase their familiarity with shapes and colors. Here are more from Haba!

For Toddlers and Preschoolers:

Toddlers and preschoolers love to build, and wooden toys that they can assemble teach them about spatial relations, logic, and help to develop fine motor skills. Toys made of wood and PVC, are safe toys that encourage eye-hand coordination and imaginative play. Check these out from Hape!

Wooden Playsets:

Preschoolers enjoy making up imaginary worlds of animals and people, and ImagiPLAY offers a variety of wooden sets that will encourage verbalization, motor skills, and exploration of different animal habitats. Chunky, easy to hold, and colorful, these wooden sets are available in A Day at the Zoo, and Day on the Farm, Arctic Expedition, and other fun scenarios. Check out the variety of these durable pieces here.

Wooden ToysPuzzles:

Wooden puzzles develop a child's sense of order, logic, and space, and, depending upon the theme, can teach about numbers, the alphabet, animals, and many other things. Three dimensional puzzles like these develop problem-solving skills as children fit the interlocking pieces together to form an animal shape.

Leaning to count to ten is fun with a puzzle like the Counting Penguins puzzle that stands up. Line up the penguins conga-line style for a fun, interactive counting toy. The wooden Number Snail, whose pieces interlock to form a circular one to ten pattern, is another favorite counting toy.

When your toddler or Pre-K child becomes more advanced, try adding more numbers and bilingual elements like this Counting Chameleon Puzzle. Puff the Alphabet Dragon's pieces interlock to form the entire alphabet in a curvy design. Both are painted with child-friendly paints and made of plantation-grown rubberwood.

Durable, Safe, Colorful:

Wooden toys make a terrific choice for educational toys because they are durable and safe. So long as you keep the pieces together, you can use these toys for many children, passing them down to siblings. Because they usually do not contain any plastic parts, children are safe from toxins. Try some of these toys today for your child or to give as gifts, and watch as children play to learn.

Related Article: 30+ Kids Forts and Playhouses

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