WHY CHOOSE WOODEN TOYS?
Wooden toys are something that people – adults and children alike are always drawn to. But why is that and what makes wooden toys so special? Here are some of the reasons that we choose wooden toys:
- Wooden Toys are Durable and Timeless
Wooden toys often last throughout generations and have been around for generations because they continue to provide amazing benefits for children.
- Wooden Toys Grow with Your Child
Toddlers may enjoy simple, imaginative play and basic manipulation with wooden toys, but older children can begin to incorporate wooden toys in more complex imaginative scenarios, work them into discussions of geometry and physics, and use them to solve problems. As your child’s skills and mental abilities grow, the uses for wooden toys also grow.
- Wooden Toys Encourage Imagination and Real Life Skills
Wooden toys encourage children to use their imaginations and creativity. Younger children in particular can fit virtually any object into any scenario, and playing with wooden toys also encourages children to develop real life skills by learning through play.
- Wooden Toys are Less Distracting and Better for Learning
When children play with wooden toys, they supply all the voices and sound effects. This allows children to be in control of what they do with the toys and to keep their minds clear as they think through different scenarios or solve problems.
- Wooden Toys Encourage Social Skills
When children use their imaginations and practice real-life scenarios, they often like to bring others in on their play. Toys that have voices or electronics promote more solitary whereas many wooden toys invite interaction with others.
- Wooden Toys Develop Reasoning Skills and Problem-solving
Since wooden toys don’t have voices or electronic parts to tell them what piece to pick up or what step to take next and they aren’t designed to fit a specific activity, children develop their reasoning skills and problem-solving skills as they learn with wooden toys, explore and figure things out.
- Wooden Toys Improve Hand-Eye Coordination and Motor Skills
Wooden toys help children build hand-eye coordination and physical skills in so many ways. As they manipulate, lace, twist, turn, push, pull, sort, match, stack, build and move toys, they learn how to develop dexterity and control.
- Wooden Toys are Tactile and Beautiful
Wooden toys have weight, texture, colours and a feel that is much more sensory and tactile than most plastic toys. What’s more, wooden toys look gorgeous on display and add a lovely aesthetic and energy to the home.
Wooden toys may cost a bit more than cheap plastic toys, but they come with a lot more value and have the potential to last for many years.
WOODEN TOYS ARE EDUCATIONAL
The concept of educational wooden toys is not new. Educational pioneers like Maria Montessori and Friedrich Froebel understood over a hundred years ago that playing with wooden toys helps children learn better. At the time, children learnt through sitting in desks and writing on slates or in copy books with the teacher at the blackboard. Montessori, Froebel and other such innovators realised that when children have the chance to interact and play physically with letters, numbers and such concepts, they learn much faster. Their ideas are now best practice in most preschools and kindergartens, but educators today are realising that children still need to play in the primary school years too.
Some types of educational toys include:
Literacy: toys that involve letters, spelling, writing or reading
Numeracy: toys that involve numbers and learning to count, add, subtract, multiply or divide
Language Development: these are toys that help children develop language skills other than reading and writing. This includes story-telling, sequencing, learning new vocabulary, positional and describing language, role play, rhyme and rhythm.
Mathematical Thinking: these are toys that help children with concepts that are fundamental to maths, but aren’t just working with numbers. This includes problem-solving, puzzles, analytical thinking, patterns, sorting, categorising, matching, spatial awareness, shape and sequencing.
Other: Other toys that can be educational include toys that encourage creativity, artistic and musical skills, observation, noticing difference, engineering, discovering and exploring.
WOODEN TOYS FOR BABIES
Wooden toys are great for babies because they’re durable and long-lasting. They provide the child with an early experience of natural materials, rather than being surrounded by plastic. Wooden toys are also less likely to contain the harmful toxins that many plastics contain and they are much easier to mend than plastic if they do break.
Another benefit of wooden toys for babies is that they provide a much better sensory and tactile experience for little ones than plastic does. The sound, look, weight and feel of wood are things that children tend to resonate with naturally and really enjoy.
Studies now show that toys which are open-ended and inspire creativity and imagination are generally far better for a child’s development than toys involving electronics, battery-powered toys and toys that have electronic noises. Open-ended toys are those that can be used in a wide variety of ways, rather than toys with one main purpose and use. Whilst flashing lights, buttons and noises may distract a baby for a while, it does not provide the opportunity for a baby to explore, discover and learn in the same way that interacting with a beautiful, classic wooden toy does.
Babies 0 – 6 months love to play with rattles, look at mobiles and watch and listen to music boxes. They like simple toys with movement and sound, toys they can chew on and toys that are easy to grasp and explore.
Babies 6 – 12 months are starting to get much more interested in the world and need more stimulation. They still love to play with toys that make sound and have movement. Musical instruments are great, bath toys and toys with simple shapes. Once babies can sit up on their own, they start to love things that stack or can be put inside something else, things to push and pull.
Babies 12 – 18 months are usually walking or almost walking and are into everything. They still love musical instruments, baths toys and all kind of manipulative toys that involve building, stacking, sorting, pounding, making, twisting, turning, rolling, pushing, pulling, moving and figuring out. They are starting to enjoy simple puzzles and shape sorters and are sometimes just beginning to enjoy play with objects like animals and vehicles.
Toddlers still enjoy toys that involve movement and problem-solving, but they are also starting to enjoy imaginary play with dolls, doll houses, wooden food, kitchens, tea sets, cars, garages, animal play sets, dinosaurs and so on. They love to mimic real life and anything that involves exploration.
WOODEN TOYS FOR KIDS
Yes, there’s a place in a child’s life for plastic toys, battery-operated, whiz-bang robots and cars, and even electronic games. But there’s simply nothing that stirs the imagination in a child like a classic wooden toy where the power, the graphics and even the sounds are provided by the child alone. Wooden toys place the child in control and actively engaged with a toy, not just passive recipient. Wooden toys ask the child to use their mind, to solve problems, to get creative and to interact with the world rather than just following instructions.
Traditional wooden toys also create equality when children of different backgrounds are playing together. Each child does not need to have watched a certain television show or know about a particular cartoon character. This brings together children on a basic level and lets them enjoy playing as a group. Wooden toys also tend to encourage much more active play than electronics do!
People often presume that once a child gets to around 5 or 6, they will have outgrown toys but this is simply not true. Children still love to engage in imaginary play such as playing shops, house, cars, puppets, dress-ups, cooking, animals and more. They also still enjoy puzzles, construction, building, blocks and engineering style toys.
When buying toys for children aged 4 – 5 years, look for puzzles of around 36-200 pieces, imaginary play toys such as wooden cooking and kitchen sets, animals, cars, dollhouses and play sets with more detail involved. Children of this age also enjoy blocks, musical instruments, puppets, story-telling, construction sets, things you can build with and toys that inspire creativity. They may start to enjoy simple board games and some educational toys.
Children from 6 – 8 years enjoy puzzles of 100 – 500 pieces, educational toys such as clocks, calendars, maths resources, spelling toys, letters and numbers. They also enjoy problem-solving toys such as mazes and marble runs, construction and building toys with more pieces and detail, more complex card and board games and imaginary play toys that mimic real life in a deeper way, such as cash registers and shopping toys. They will enjoy toys that do real things too, such as a child’s real tool kit and tuned musical instruments.
WHERE TO FIND WOODEN TOYS IN PERTH
Although wooden toys are wonderful, they’re not always easy to find in Perth. Some large department stores now stock a limited range of wooden toys, but these are often mediocre or poor quality. We recommend finding a toy shop that specialises in wooden toys, as they will have a much better range. You’re also more likely to find staff who can advise you on brands and who can make recommendations for toys for certain ages, advise on child development and provide personal service.
If you’re searching the internet for toy stores in Perth, use phrases such as “wooden toy shop perth” or “wooden toy store perth” rather than “wooden toys perth” as this will give you a lot of stores that are online only and often not based in Perth either. Shopping online can be useful at times, but it’s definitely more advantageous to see a product in person before buying if you can.
WOODEN TOY KITCHEN
An example of a wooden toy that is fantastic for children of all ages and provides numerous benefits is a toy kitchen. These come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and detail. Kitchens are great for boys and girls and you will find that young boys like to play cooking and food-related games every bit as much as girls. This is natural because all young children like to mimic real life and play at what they see happening in the home on a regular basis.
Toddlers will play very simply and offer you food again and again, or pour you endless cups of imaginary tea, but as they grow, their vocabulary and imagination grows too, and their games become more complex. They will use the kitchen too cook more interesting things, to prepare food for games of house, for picnics and parties for their toys and as part of a wider imaginative scenario. At an older age again, children will start to play cooking games that involve restaurants, taking orders and serving food as a waiter.
There is a wide variety of wooden cooking utensils and equipment available these days, including play coffee makers and kitchen mixers, toasters and scales as well as more traditional additions to a kitchen such as wooden food and tea sets. The possibilities are endless and a toy kitchen is something that lasts for many years, encourages social play with others, helps language development, encourages creativity and imagination, develops life skills and fine motor skills, promotes hand-eye coordination, increases vocabulary and can even promote early literacy and numeracy when children write menus, shopping lists, orders and weigh food or time their ‘cooking.’
So, next time you’re wondering what kinds of toys and resources are best for your child, think wooden!