17 Of Our Favorite Wooden Toys: The Tot Gift Guide
These beautiful heirloom-quality wooden toys make special gifts that will be treasured for years to come.
If you ask any mama about the best gift she ever received for her child, she’ll probably mention a beautiful handmade item made from high-quality materials that her little one still cherishes years later.
While kids might be temporarily entranced by bright plastic toys with flashing lights and loud music, they tire of them quickly or discard them as soon as one of the plastic parts breaks off. Toys that that truly stand the test of time are the ones that stimulate children’s minds and bodies, helping them to develop skills such as creativity, imagination, storytelling, empathy, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, balance, dexterity, and so much more.
Beyond the developmental benefits of toys, you may also be mindful of their impact on our planet and children’s health. At the Tot, we feel exactly the same way and that’s why we’ve done all the hard work for you. You can rest easy knowing that all Tot-approved wooden toys are made using sustainable materials and are free from toxic chemicals and dyes.
Last but certainly not least, our wooden toys are so durable that they can be passed down to siblings, cousins and even the next generation, transforming your gift into a family heirloom. What’s not to love about that?
Before you buy your next wooden toy ask the following questions:
How to choose safe wooden toys
Here are four things to consider when choosing wooden toys for kids.
- Is the toy made from solid wood or something else?
Solid wood such as maple, walnut and alder woods from FSC-certified forests will always be the safest option, especially for babies. However, to the surprise of many, some supposedly wooden toys are not actually made from 100% solid wood.
If a toy isn’t made of solid wood then it’s made of composite wood like pressed wood, plywood or MDF. The problem with composite wood is that it require adhesives, which often contain toxic chemicals, to bind the pieces of wood together. The most common glues used on composite woods contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. These toys will thus emit formaldehyde into the air our children are breathing – and no parent wants their child breathing in a known carcinogen every day.
If the toy you are considering is made of composite wood, then contact the manufacturer and ask if they use formaldehyde-free glues (these do exist and are a much safer option).
- Is the wood (solid or other) painted?
Kids love bright colors, but many paints used on wooden toys can contain heavy metals like lead and arsenic which can be harmful to a baby or young child’s neural development.
If the label does not specify what type of paint is used, confirm it with the manufacturer. Look for water or vegetable-based paint and/or food-grade dyes.
- Is the wood treated, finished or sealed?
Many wooden toy manufacturers will treat their wooden toys to protect the wood, allowing it to last longer, look shinier etc.
For safer wood finishes opt for toys that use food-grade, plant-based oils like beeswax or jojoba oil instead of polyurethane lacquers.
- Who will be using the toy?
Determining who the toy is for should help guide your purchasing decision. For infants and teething babies, the ideal choice is always untreated, completely natural solid wood. For older children, who have usually outgrown the habit of putting toys in their mouths, both solid wood and composite wood toys can be safe – just make sure that you’ve done your homework and confirmed that the wood uses formaldehyde-free adhesives and non-toxic wood finishes and paints.
Our favorite wooden toys
Whether you’re buying a Christmas gift or birthday present, here are some of our favorite wooden toys broken down by age group.
- Shape sorter
- Ride on rocker
- Stacking ring
- Ride-on rabbit
- Cleaning set
- Rings & coins set
- Emergency vehicles
- Vet set
- Play kitchen
- Marble run
- Block set
- Dentist set
- Tool bench
- Doll house
- Weather station
Scroll down to see our wooden toy selection.
From 12 months
The PlanToys Shape & Sort game comes with a sorting bench and three different wooden geometric shapes to help your tot sharpen their hand-eye coordination and build their confidence.
Dino fans will adore this beautifully designed Dinosaur Rocker. Your little paleontologist will love going on a Jurassic adventure atop their adorable prehistoric friend.
The PlanToys First Stacking Ring is a new take on a classic design. Great for encouraging hand-eye coordination, little ones can stack and unstack as well as practice counting and learning the names of colors. The wooden ball on top can also be used as a rolling toy for crawling tots to chase after.
From 18 months
The Tender Leaf Toys Running Rabbit Ride-On is made from natural wood, non-toxic paint and is great for working on gross motor skills.
The Wonder & Wise Activity Walker encourages both physical and cognitive development through the snail wire bead maze, bead abacus and counting flaps on the activities center. Your child will be entertained for hours as they explore around the house and prepare to take the first steps.
From 2 years
Spring cleaning can happen all year round with the PlanToys Cleaning Set! Great for encouraging life skills and hand-eye coordination, the set includes a bucket, spray bottle, squeegee, broom and dustpan.
Made from sustainably sourced wood and vegetable-based finishes, the Grapat Nins, Rings & Coins set allows kids to mix, match, stack, sort and arrange the Nins, Rings and Coins, which encourages imaginative play, hand-eye coordination as well as counting and color skills.
A darling set of wooden cars including a fire engine, a police car and a saloon car with removable peg people. Great for imaginative play and toys children can take for on the go entertainment.
The Janod Toys Sweet Cocoon Alphabet Puzzle will encourage letter recognition and help develop fine motor skills. Flip the board over and practice writing letters on the blackboard side.
From 3 years
The PlanToys Vet Set encourages children to be empathetic and learn how to treat animals when they need a check-up or medical attention. It consists of 3 basic pieces of medical equipment, a vaccine bottle, a bandage, a collar, 2 x-ray films, and a handy doctor bag.
Milton & Goose takes play kitchens to a whole new level with this heirloom-quality Play Kitchen handmade from eco-friendly woods. Your tiny chef will delight in dreaming up new recipes for the whole family and you’ll love the look of this stunning piece in your home.
Explore Nook Bamboo Construct & Roll
The Explore Nook Construct & Roll is made from 100% natural and renewable bamboo and will encourage your child’s imagination to run wild as they create their own ball runs. It’s also a great way to develop problem solving skills and introduce STEM concepts to your child.
These fun stacking blocks in various shapes and sizes making for the perfect toys for sensory and open-ended play. From stacking to building and sorting, there’s a plethora of activities that your child can enjoy utilising each of the pieces in this highly educational set.
From 4 years
The Make Me Iconic Dentist Kit teaches children at a young age to understand the importance of tooth care, while encouraging role play and hand-eye coordination. It includes basic dental tools including a mouth model with teeth, a drill, toothbrush, x-rays and a tongue depressor.
Know an aspiring Carpenter? This Tender Leaf Tool Bench is perfect gift for any child who loves to build, saw, drill hammer and play! This 18 piece set will encourage children to engage in imaginary play and includes tool bench, tool box and tools.
The Tender Leaf Toys Cottontail Cottage is a delightful mini countryside cottage with a natural wood roof, shutters, cut out windows and space in the attic to make a bedroom. Includes a retro style set of furniture.
Kids will love waking up in the morning and discussing what the weather is going to be with Moon Picnic’s Weather Station. Move the weather meter, turn the dials, slide the thermometer. This fun & educational interactive toy has 4 movable parts and 5 weather symbols to display so little meteorologists can report and forecast the weather.