Over the last couple of years I’ve taken a keen interest in sustainability and the environment, and I can’t seem to switch off from it. Now I’ve seen, I can’t unsee, and to do my bit to minimise our family’s impact on waste and pollution, I’m changing the way I live. Even if I’m not solving the problem, neither am I contributing to it. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of our favourite wooden baby toys including some lovely wooden blocks, as well as sustainable toys for older toddlers and preschoolers.
This is a post I’ve been meaning to put together for ages, so some of these products are aimed at children a little younger than my girls are now, but the beauty of many of them is that as open-ended toys, they’re actually great for a variety of ages.
For a long time now I’ve attempted to stock our playroom with items I think will suit both our girls on different levels, without overwhelming them with too much choice (try toy rotation!). They both still play with the wooden blocks listed here for example, as well as many of the other wooden toys and, best of all, they (sometimes!) play nicely together.
Personally, my favourite games for children are simple: montessori toys – prompts which promote imagination and learning through play. Being sustainable too is a fantastic bonus.
The majority of these are products I’ve found on Amazon, or seen my nephew playing with and copied because the girls were taken with them. They’re widely available and beautifully crafted, and in seeking to eliminate plastic from our playroom I’ve become aware of a couple of specific brands who are brilliant for creating really lovely wooden toys at competitive prices: Grimm’s, Melissa & Doug, and Lelin are some of our favourites.
And by the way, since it seems necessary to spell it out these days – none of them are sponsoring this post (although the links are affiliate). We’ve purchased all of these items ourselves or received them as gifts, and we genuinely love them.
Here are our favourite wooden toys for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers – (including my absolute favourites at the end – and pretty much the only thing I actively enjoy playing with myself!):
Wooden Baby Toys
This is a simple but lovely toy that’s ideal for little hands and fine motor skills.
Wooden Blocks – With Sound
These wooden blocks are truly beautiful – so much so I bought them twice for double the fun! My fave thing about them is that they were perfect for Elfin as a small baby, but Pixie has not yet tired of them either.
They’re perfect for promoting both joint and independent play, and I love that they encourage sharing and imaginative play too.
Animal Sound Blocks
This one’s lovely to sit and do with babies, but also great as babies become toddlers to encourage problem-solving.
Wooden Toys for Toddlers
Lelin Wooden Posting Shape Sorter
Elfin is nearly two and adores this gorgeous wooden shape sorter. It’s the perfect balance at her age of being challenging yet achievable.
And the roof can be put on in different ways to increase difficulty if your little one gets too clever at completing the sorting by rote!
Beatrix Potter Push Along Toys
Both my girls love these! I’ve been surprised by how much Pixie has enjoyed playing with them at her age, but it’s really nice to see them running about with them together. Perfect for encouraging little legs to practice taking steps to build confidence – though not safe in place of a walker!
Both my girls have loved this forever and I can’t see us ever parting with it!
The specific ELC one we have doesn’t seem to be available any longer, but there’s a similar one on Amazon:
Zoo Truck Shape Sorter
Another one both girls enjoy playing with together, using their imagination to create games with the animals.
Wooden Toys for Preschoolers
Balancing Zoo Animals
This one is fab for little ones, and even better for older children when they’re patient enough to have a go at balancing the animals on the wooden seesaw. The puzzle can be ‘solved’ in a number of different ways, so the fun can go on and on!
Crocodile Nursery Activity Wall Panels
We purchased this Pixie was just a baby, and both girls have loved different panels at different ages. It’s fantastic for children from babies through to age seven or eight I should think, including aspects to promote fine motor skills and problem-solving, as well as a panel for making music.
It’s a really attractive addition to any nursery, though quite large – thankfully the panels can be screwed to different walls if necessary!
Toy House with Dolls, Locks and Keys
My girls love this and I think it’s brilliant on several different levels – it has everything!
Dolls which can be moved and positioned to sit or stand; locks with keys to open and close the four doors; and different doorbells on each door.
Bamboo Marble Run
This wonderful for younger and older children alike, because the older ones enjoy the building and they both enjoy putting the marbles through the run. This model even plays musical notes as the marbles pass through!
And my absolute favourites… Grimm’s:
Beautiful Wooden Toys For Different Ages – Perfect For Siblings
I could wax lyrical about these all day – they’re just beautiful, aren’t they? True, they’re not cheap, but then I think you pay for quality.
And to be honest, I’d rather the girls had a few really lovely items which they play with both together and independently, which are prompts for imaginative play and are sustainable, than tons of cheap plastic tat.
Grimm’s Large Pastel Rainbow
I could not love this more.
Where to start? This is a lovely to look at for a start, and then the versatility! It’s excellent for imaginative play because it can be used in so many different ways. Just this morning, my daughter made it into a cave; yesterday it was a house, and frankly I’m not embarrassed to say I’ve had a go at some of the more complicated and difficult sculptures. For example…
I actually attempted to recreate this flamingo with a less fussy background for the purposes of this photo, but I couldn’t do it again! It’s kind of addictive though and I’ve not given up yet…
Why not check out many more ideas for your Grimms’s rainbow!
Grapat Nins, Coins, and Rings
These are so cute, and they’re perfect for playing with in combination with the rainbow:
We didn’t get all of our collection on Amazon because their range is quite limited, but they do have this one:
For a wider choice, try Babipur which is where we got ours from.
Our Favourite Educational and Sustainable Toys
These are all toys that both my girls play with almost every day and we love them very much. Dan and I made a decision around a year or so ago that if family must buy Pixie and Elfin toys at Christmas and birthdays (I’m such a scrooge – I’d happily build up their accounts and let them have a very small selection of gifts to open myself!) – then they can at least be wooden!
As far as possible, we’ve banned plastic toys from entering our home.
Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty in the house from before, and actually plastic toys are fine so long as they’re not throwaway tat. If they last and they’re passed on (while unorthodox, why not consider regifting rather than buying new?) there’s nothing wrong with that.
But wherever possible going forward, we’ll be encouraging wooden alternatives. This is just one more way in which I’m making efforts to consider the environment and our carbon footprint. Plus in my opinion – they’re beautiful!
Do you and your family like wooden children’s toys? Do you have any of the ones I’ve listed here?