There are so many choices to make when a baby joins your family, including what they'll play with every day. I immediately gravitated toward toys made from wood; they tend to be beautiful and thoughtfully made, and their gentler colors fit in better with my home’s style. The
best wooden toys encourage creative play, are age-appropriate for your kiddo, and offer the kind of longevity that also makes them excellent candidates for hand-me-downs.
Wooden toys stand out with their timeless look and feel, but they also edge out their plastic counterparts in terms of durability (so they’re
more cost-effective in the long run), and they’re less likely to break and create sharp edges or have small parts that can be dangerous for little ones. Some wooden toys are painted in bright colors; the best wooden toys use water-based paint that's safe around little ones. It’s worth noting some wooden toys may use some silicone or rubber pieces to create wheels or other necessary parts of a toy, so they're not entirely wood but pretty close.
The simpler design of most wooden toys allows kids to
engage in more imaginative play, and, depending on the toy, they may be able to practice fine motor skills, sorting, letter recognition, and hand-eye coordination, too. Wooden toys are designed with an age group in mind, and I’ve noted the age recommendation for each toy below.
Keep in mind there is a wide range of options just like toys made from plastic or other materials. Examples of fun and
high-quality wooden toys include rattles, blocks, stacking toys, trains, and even a bike. Here are the 11 best wooden toys, including a surprising toy with over 20,000 reviews that kids — and parents — absolutely love.
This Award-Winning Grasping Toy For Babies
Recommended Ages: 3 months and up
One of the
best wooden toys for babies is the classic Skwish, an award-winning grasping toy that also gently rattles and is safe for teething. Wooden beads strung together with a rubber-polyester elastic create a ball shape that your baby will love grabbing and squishing into different shapes. The beads make a soft sound when moved, which is exciting to babies but never annoying for you. With more than 2,000 reviews, the longtime toymaker Manhattan Toys has been around since 1978, and this particular toy has won more than a half-dozen awards, including the 2014 Family Choice Award. One reviewer commented, “It went through 3 children, (first purchased 12 years ago) and we NEVER had anything come apart."
The colorful rubberwood beads resist splinters and chipping with water-based paint that's safe for babies, but if you prefer a natural finish, this
Skwish toy is available in neutral hues that would fit right in with a collection of Montessori toys. A helpful review: “We got the Skwish at the recommendation of friends and their babies. We love that's it's wood, bright colors, and has such a gentle rattle sound. Baby learned to grasp on this early, but has even more fun teething on it, shaking it and rolling it as he has gotten older. This is a toy that can grow with baby, my friend's older kids like to play with it when they visit too.”
A Push Toy That Motivates New Walkers
Recommended Ages: 12 months and up
Walking is an exciting milestone for toddlers, and this is one of the
best wooden toys for toddlers to get them moving. This walker stands out with solid wood construction and three chomping alligators that make a gentle clacking noise as your little one pushes it forward. Melissa & Doug is a brand known for its wooden toys, and NBC News has deemed them “the gold standard in early childhood play." You'll see them pop up again on this list of best wooden toys.
Toddlers can practice gross and fine motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination by using the walker and playing with the spinning butterfly and ladybug beads. The illustrations are in beautiful bright colors in water-based paint. With over 1,500 reviews, parents love how solidly made and supportive this walker is compared to others.
A helpful review: “So sturdy and neat. This is a great-quality push toy for a beginning walker. The absolute best, in my opinion. I really hate those popcorn push toys. This has great support for babies just starting to get the feel of walking. It's made out of real wood sanded finely, so no splinters, and is so resilient. My son has stood on the alligators, smacked them with a plastic bat, and poured an entire cup of grape juice on it, and it wipes clean and keeps rolling. Now that he's older, he's not using it as much (other than to stuff things in the mouths of the alligators), so this will probably go into storage soon for the next baby. This is definitely a toy you can use for generations. Great buy!”
This 3-In-1 Musical Toy For Toddlers
• Recommended Ages: 1 — 3 years
wooden educational toy wraps a lot of popular toddler toys into one neat package. Toddlers can use the pounding tool to drop three balls onto the xylophone keys, teaching them cause and effect and audio recognition while also helping to improve dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and arm movement. Plus, the xylophone is removable for musical play.
This wooden toy is built to last with polished surfaces with round edges and water-based paint designed to stand up to years of pounding and tapping. This kid-favorite has over 8,000 reviews, a high 4.8-star rating, and it's the winner of the
2018 Cribsie Award for Favorite First Musical Toy. A helpful review: “[...] I'm also very cautious about buying plastic products so I love that Hape has such a diverse range of toys all made out of wood. This xylophone is wonderful, I was able to tap out Mary Had a Little Lamb with no problem and my son watched in amazement. He loves playing with the 3 colored balls and everything seems to be of very good quality. It's the perfect height for him to sit and play with and it has become one of his favorites. Update: I loved this so much for my son, that I bought another one as a birthday gift for a 1 year old. Highly recommend!”
The Classic Ring Stacking Toy
• Recommended Ages: 18 months and up
This rainbow stack is a must-have for toddlers who will love grasping each brightly colored piece. Such a classic-looking toy may already be familiar to you, but this particular
wooden stacking and sorting toy is a much-loved one with over 6,500 reviews.
The set comes with eight smooth rings that stack on a solid wood base, and toddlers can practice grasping, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills when trying to stack the rings. The water-based paint on each ring also teaches toddlers to sort by shape, color, and size.
A helpful review: “Love love love this toy! It's perfect for my 18-month-old. I love that the rings are made of wood, so they're durable. The rings can go on in any order, which is fun for my toddler. The only thing that matters about the order is that the red ball goes on top. Once the ball is on, the top of the stick is inaccessible, so no more rings can go on. When my toddler puts the ball on prematurely, it's fun to watch her problem solve to figure out how to get the rest of the rings on. She also uses problem solving when she wants to pick up the whole toy. She used to try to carry it by the rings, but that obviously doesn't work; they slide right off the top. She's learned by herself to carry it by the base. It's fun for her to play with it by herself and to play with it with me.”
These Colorful Stacking Wooden Blocks That Teach The ABC's
• Recommended Ages: 18 months and up Wooden blocks for toddlers are another classic child's toy, and this set stands out with hand-drawn illustrations that correspond to each letter. The solid wood blocks are 1.75 inches, a comfortable size for small hands to hold, and the 36 blocks include the full alphabet and numbers. The manufacturer states that the blocks are nontoxic, meeting both U.S. and European standards, though it isn't clear whether a water-based paint is used.
The toy is designed for toddlers aged 18 months and up; they can practice fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and balancing and spatial abilities. Plus, the letters and numbers will help kickstart language and math skills. The set conveniently comes with a mesh drawstring bag for storage.
A helpful review: “These are so cool! I got them for my one-year-old and they are the perfect size. His 3-year-old sister actually loves them too. In addition to the good quality I love that each side has a different picture or letter on it. It should be a toy that both kids can play with for a while.”
A Wooden Bike That Won’t Scratch Your Floors
• Recommended Ages: 12 months and up
I'm amused that my toddler has more modes of transportation than I do, and this Hape
wooden toy bike is his indoor set of wheels. His Hape bike was an instant favorite I wish I'd bought for him earlier. This bike was easy for him to use right away, and riding on it can help toddlers develop gross motor skills, mobility, balance, and muscle strength. I also appreciate that the rubberized wheels don't scratch my home's hardwood floors.
Toddlers 12 months and older can sit comfortably on this bike, which is highly rated with over 1,200 reviews and the winner of the 2013 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award and the 2013 Parent's Choice Recommended Award
. The wooden bike also uses water-based paint in a cheerful shade of green. A helpful review: “My almost two year old loves this bike! Easy to put together, great quality, sturdy, and pleasing to the eye. He rides it all over the house. I love that the wheels are not hard brittle plastic and do not damage my wood floors. I just love the design in general!”
This Battery-Operated Wooden Train Set That You Can Add On To For Years
• Recommended Ages: 18 months and up
wooden train set is a timeless toy for a toddler who loves to watch things go, and this battery-operated pick is a tried-and-true favorite for beginners. With 25 pieces, the set includes trains, tracks, and elevated supports for hours of play.
For 18-month-olds and older, connecting the train is free of frustration thanks to magnetic compatibility on both sides of each car. Playing with this set can help improve your toddler's spatial awareness and create a fun environment to practice fine motor skills. The engine needs a AA battery to run (not included) and any future gifting occasions for your train-loving toddler is easy: Expand on this set with any Brio World pack, including more
wooden train tracks. The track on this pick is wooden, but some of the parts are also made of plastic. A helpful review: “Fantastic starter pack for my 2 year old who loves his trains. The pieces are nice and smooth with no rough wood and very sturdy and well made. We’ve already added lots to our Brio collection”
And This More Affordable Stacking Wooden Block Train
• Recommended Ages: 2 — 4 years
wooden toy for toddlers combines blocks and trains into one, and it maintains a 4.8-star rating with over 1,300 reviews. My son has this adorable set, and it's held up well over time.
The engine and two train cars are stacked with 15 colorful wooden blocks (colored with water-based paint) that are comfortable for little hands to rearrange. Two- to 4-year-olds can engage in several skills while playing, including gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, sorting by shape and color, visual-spatial planning, creativity, and both independent and cooperative play.
A helpful review: “So this is a toy we've had for nearly 2.5 years now. What I love about this thing is that it is durable as heck-it takes a ton of abuse, and the paint is still mostly intact on it, despite the fact that our son, who is a heavy oral stemmer, chews on its pieces incessantly.This is a cool developmental toy because it does allow for different ways of putting together the blocks to set the train up. [...] He's definitely a boy who knows his own mind about how he wants to do things, and it's not always the way a toy is designed to be used. But that's the beauty of this toy, you can use it for different things...teaching colors, shapes, and orientation of putting blocks on pegs, because some of them have holes in directions our son doesn't expect [...] Overall, I think this is a super cool, fun developmental toy, but by far the most awesome thing about it is how indestructible it seems."
A Cute Bumblebee Set For Practicing Fine Motor Skills
• Recommended Ages: 3 years and up
Montessori toy has a cute bee theme that will pull your toddler in and help them practice key developmental skills. Each solid wooden bee has a hive in a matching color, and toddlers can use the tweezers to place them in and out of their spot.
Kids 3 and up (or younger with supervision) can practice matching, color recognition, counting, and fine motor skills during play. This toy boasts a 4.7-star rating and more than 1,000 reviews. If your little one prefer cars to bees, this is a highly rated
wooden truck and car set that can also can develop fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination. A helpful review: “Great product for our son who is slightly delayed with his fine motor skills. He absolutely loves the bees!"
A Fascinating Wooden Marble Run
• Recommended Ages: 12 months — 6 years
Your little one will be intrigued by this
wooden marble run, thanks to its multi-level design that includes six sliding objects, all made of wood: a clown, a flower, and four balls. This toy has colorful components painted with kid- and eco-friendly paint, according to the manufacturer. This pick can help develop motor skills in children ages 12 months and older, and it even comes already assembled to save you time. A helpful review: “We bought this for our one year old, as we want him to start seeing different things. There is no assembly required, he was very excited to see the balls roll. He's learned that he can't grab it to get up because it will fall. He grabs the different balls and plays with them independently. It seems he'll be entertained for some time before he figures out how to place them on the rack and watch them go."
This Cleaning Set That's A Surprising Cult-Favorite Toy
• Recommended Ages: 3 — 6 years
Toddlers love to imitate what grown-ups do, and that includes household chores. It might seem strange at first, but this set of
wooden cleaning toys is one your kid will absolutely love. As your 3- to 6-year-old sweeps or mops with these mini versions of the real thing, they can gain independence and a sense of responsibility and self-confidence. Pushing and pulling each tool can also aid in practicing fine motor skills while fostering creativity and imagination.
Not totally convinced? This toy has an impressive 4.8-star rating with over 21,000 reviews on Amazon.The upright stand holds a broom, mop, duster, brush, and a dustpan that clips onto any of the wooden handles; water-based paint is used on parts of the wood.
A helpful review: “My daughter LOVES this set! I bought a cheaper set and found out why it was cheaper.... inferior products! Broken in 2 days… THIS set is all wood! Handles and Stand are made of wood. Daughter has been playing for hours with it. It was a birthday present yesterday and she keeps dusting my legs while I sit at my desk and work. She loves it! Well made and worth every penny!”