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A Brief History of Wooden Toys

Wooden toys have been around for centuries and with their timeless appeal, it comes as no surprise that they are still popular among parents and kids even in today's age of digital and plastic toys. Here's a brief history of wooden toys.

a brief history of wooden toys

Is it just us or is there really something undeniably wonderful about seeing and thinking that our children are playing with the same toys we did as children. From wooden cars to grandiose doll houses or wooden building blocks and stacking toys, these wooden toys are all amazing that they have been with us all these years. Even if some of these toys have been passed on from previous generations, we can still feel the same sentiment.

How long do you think wooden toys have been played by children?

Like those little dolls, horses and chariots, wooden toys have been played since the Greek and Roman era. Researchers discovered an image depicting an ancient greek wooden toy horse with wheels dating back to 950-900 BC. It is remarkable to know that the same kind of pull-along toys are still being played today.

Another fascinating discovery is that the earliest toys ever found were rattles. Funny though that with all the technological advances, rattles remain one of the most popular toys for babies. This only shows that despite what we’ve learned over the last 3000 years and advancement in technology, the way we play and how our brains develop remains the same.

In a more recent history of wooden toys

In the 1700s, German toymakers started crafting toys to sell to the public. As the years went by, these toys became more elaborate, intricate and evolved in terms of their design and playability. Great examples were wooden doll houses, detailed miniature theatres and the vibrantly colored painted jack in the box.

During the 19th century, some children were not allowed to play with toys on Sundays other than Noah's ark. Even though most factory-made toys were widely available such as puzzles, dolls houses, rocking horses, toy soldiers and wooden train sets, there were still restrictions.

After WW2, wooden toys’ popularity began to decline. They were replaced with cheap plastic toys because producing them was cost-efficient. However, wooden toys are making a comeback thanks in part to awareness of the environmental impact of plastics. While many wooden toymakers closed shop over the years, there are still a lot of companies selling top quality wooden toys online.

There’s no denying that wooden toys are better in teaching children a wide range of skills than electronic plastic toys. For instance, small wooden toys like building blocks help your children develop critical thinking, fine motor skills as well as spark their creativity and imagination. Some of these toys have also been updated to adapt to modern times like Tegu magnetic building blocks. And with their timeless appeal, there’s no wonder why many parents are still choosing them over their plastic counterparts.

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