Wood is a natural material. Unlike plastic, rubber and other artificial materials, wood does not contain harmful substances and is completely safe. This is especially important for young children, who try every toy by mouth.
Wooden toys do not harm the environment, while the rest of the toys add to the number of plastic and electronic waste in landfills.
Wooden toys are hard to break, easy to care for, and likely to last a generation of children. This is beneficial for parents, and, again, good for nature. After all, the more little owners one toy has, the less energy and resources will be spent to create new toys.
Benefits for development.
Tactile sensations play an important role in understanding the world. The texture, texture, density of wood, its appearance and smell give the child real ideas about things and materials. In addition, natural materials develop taste and aesthetic qualities.
As I have already said, toys that themselves play for the child and make him an outside, passive observer not only do not develop him, but also hinder development. Simple toys, on the other hand, give children the opportunity to show imagination, thinking, logic, as a rule, they have a wide range of game activities and are truly educational.
What to look for when choosing wooden toys:
· Painted toys must be coated with water-based, formaldehyde-free paints and varnishes that are safe for the child.
· Unvarnished toys should be well sanded (to avoid splinters).
When choosing toys for my son, I conducted a real “casting” among manufacturers and stores and I want to share my findings. Ordinary children’s stores cannot boast of a large assortment of wooden toys, but there are enough specialized stores and websites on the Internet. There are several large foreign manufacturers, for example, Grimms (Germany) – very beautiful, interesting and popular toys, but it is difficult to call them a budget option. In addition, I personally think that you don’t have to go so far for good wooden toys, and I support, as they say, a domestic manufacturer.
Among the Russian manufacturers, the leaders are Walda, Skazki derevo, Lesnushki, Raduga Grez. All of them have established themselves as manufacturers of natural, educational, handmade toys.
These toys and stores are easy to find by simply typing in the search box on the Internet. But, as promised, I want to share my findings, small businesses, each of which has its own peculiarity and history. They seemed to me different from many others, sincere, real. So I am happy to tell you about them.
Wooden toys, in addition to all their wonderful properties, also have a historical function, they return us to the origins. I love Russian folk themes and was pleasantly surprised to meet the Russian beauty Alexandra and her work. She creates themed sets for children – Darinya boxes. In the box you will find a nesting doll, wooden spoons, blanks for creativity, folk toys, musical instruments – rattles, whistles, pipes, notebooks for creativity, thematic books, coloring books with folk patterns. Beautiful and useful in content, the sets are divided by age and are suitable for children from 1,5 (in my opinion, even earlier) to 12 years old. I believe that it is very important to acquaint the child with folk toys, because this is the cultural heritage of our ancestors, the earliest form of artistic creativity of the Russian people, the memory and knowledge of which is increasingly lost with each generation. Therefore, it is wonderful that there are people who recreate and protect our cultural values and pass them on to children. Alexandra’s inspiration is her little son Radomir – thanks to him, the idea came up to introduce children to traditional Russian toys. You can view and order boxes and meet Alexandra on Instagram @aleksandradara and here
My son has reached the age when it’s time to tear down the towers. First, children learn to destroy, and then to build. I was looking for ordinary wooden cubes, but I found magic houses. Looking at such a tower, it seems that it could not have done without magic. Beautiful and unusual houses are created by the girl Alexandra from Pskov. Imagine, a fragile girl herself works in a carpentry workshop! Now she had to resort to the help of assistants. An important reason – Sasha is the future mother of two (!) little girls. It was the magical position that inspired her to create a project for children. The girl still does the design and painting herself, using safe, natural paints and linseed oil for coating. Cubes, houses and an amazing “Houses in a House” constructor are waiting for you in the Instagram profiles @verywood_verygood and @sasha_lebedewa
An important aspect of a child’s knowledge of the world is the study of animals – this enriches the horizon and instills love for living beings. In search of beautiful and safe wooden animals, I met Elena and her family. The couple, having moved out of town, reconsidered their views on creative life and decided to do what they love for their beloved children. They want to give their baby the best, natural, natural, so Elena and her husband Ruslan make their toys only from top quality hardwoods, use European-made water-based paints and coatings, and only those that have certificates for use in children’s toys. Wooden figurines have a strong coating, they are ready to play in any conditions – indoors, outdoors, sun, rain, frost – and they can even swim with the baby.
By trial and error, the guys found out that children perceive toys better and closer when they are at the level of their perception, at eye level. This creates full-fledged trusting, friendly relationships that the child learns to build from the very beginning of the games. Therefore, large figures are created in the workshop, as scenery for games. I was impressed by the lovely realistic figurines of animals and birds with unusually kind faces. And I will be happy to introduce my baby to such a friend. You can choose friends for your kids in the Instagram profile @friendlyrobottoys and here
Busyboard is a new invention of manufacturers of educational toys. It is a board with many elements: various locks, latches, hooks, switch buttons, sockets, laces, wheels and other items that the child will have to face in life. A useful and exciting toy aimed at developing practical skills, the need for which was first mentioned by the Italian teacher Maria Montessori.
I’ve seen a lot of options for bodyboards, but I liked one the most. They are made in a family workshop in St. Petersburg by young parents Misha and Nadia, and their son Andrey helps and inspires them. It was for him that Papa Misha made the first business board – not from plywood, as most do, but from pine boards, not one-sided, like ordinary business boards, but double, in the form of a house, stable, with a special spacer inside so that the baby can play safely, without the risk of overturning the structure. Mom Nadia helped dad and together they came up with the idea of making a slate board on one side of the house so that the game panel would be more functional. Family friends really liked the result, and they began to ask to do the same for their children. This is how the RNWOOD KIDS family workshop was born. Even in the workshop, cubes are made from precious woods, ordinary square ones, as well as irregularly shaped ones, similar to stones. You can look into the workshop in the Instagram profile @rnwood_kids and here
Miniatures and play sets
Another residents of gloomy but inspiring St. Petersburg have created a family workshop called Smart Wood Toys. Young mother Nastya creates wooden toys with her own hands, and her husband Sasha and son, also Sasha, help her. In the spring, the family is waiting for the birth of a daughter, who, of course, will bring many new ideas and inspiration to the family business!
All toys are coated with safe water-based acrylic and a special wood glaze certified for use in the manufacture of children’s toys. The assortment of the store is large: there are designers, and puzzles, and rattles, and teethers, but most of all I personally like game sets based on Russian cartoons and fairy tales – Winnie the Pooh, the Bremen Town Musicians and even Lukomorye based on the poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila” . I also really like the opportunity to order miniatures of my family – figurines are created according to a photo or description of family members. You can create your own “toy family” or make an unusual gift. You can get acquainted with the guys and their work on the website or on Instagram using the nickname @smart.wood
This is how I revealed to you my secrets of the best, in my opinion, wooden toys. Why exactly them? I am always happy to support small family businesses that are just starting their journey – they have more soul and warmth, they have good quality, because they are made as if for themselves, they have real stories, soulfulness and inspiration, after all, I specially made a selection of manufacturers -parents, because I am charged and inspired by my own child! The saying “Hard childhood – wooden toys” is no longer relevant. Wooden toys are a sign of a happy childhood! Choose high-quality, safe and environmentally friendly toys, this way you will help your children develop, and our planet to be cleaner and safer!