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There’s something wonderfully old-fashioned and nostalgic about wooden toys. Whether you need to keep a toddler entertained, want to improve your older child’s focus, or are looking for a wooden game the entire family can enjoy, there’s a wooden toy for everyone.We’ve gathered up our favorite nine wooden toys and games for every age from babyhood through adulthood. Our top pick, the Manhattan Toy Skwish Rattle and Teether, has a colorful, appealing design that babies and adults love. Maybe it’s because wooden toys harken back to the days before mass-produced plastic, or perhaps it’s the connection between wood and nature. Whatever the reason, wooden toys are always a hit — not only with the toddler set, but even with adults.They don’t need batteries. They have a vintage appeal. They are often eco-friendly. They’re made from a material that grew right up out of the ground, rather than being mixed or created in a factory. While it’s admittedly not as easy to find wooden toys in today’s sea of plastic as it once was, they’re still out there and they’re still going strong.We’ve gathered up our favorite wooden toys and games for all ages — don’t make the mistake of thinking only babies go for wood. These playtime pleasers all make great gifts, whether you’re buying a present for someone else, or purchasing something fun for yourself–go ahead, you deserve it.Here are the best wooden toys you can buy: Best wooden toy for babies: Manhattan Toy Skwish Rattle and TeetherBest wooden blocks: Maxim Deluxe Wooden ABC BlocksBest wooden ride-on toy: Prince Lionheart Wheely BugBest wooden toy for toddlers: Hape Walk-Along Wooden Pull ToyBest wooden activity center for toddlers: Manhattan Toy Treetop Adventure Activity CenterBest wooden toy for elementary-aged kids: KEVA Structures 200-Plank SetBest wooden train set: Orbrium Triple-Loop 100-Piece Wooden Train SetBest wooden toy for teens and adults: ROBOTIME 3D Robot Craft KitBest wooden game for the entire family: Hasbro JengaUpdated on 10/17/2019 by Lisa Sabatini: Updated formatting, prices, and links.
The best wooden toy for babies
The Manhattan Toy Skwish provides endless entertainment for little ones. They can squeeze it, shake it, teeth on it, and drop it over and over without damage to baby or toy.Manhattan Toy’s Skwish Rattle and Teether has been around for a long time. I purchased one for my own son when he was just a few months old, and he’s now in college. There’s good reason for this wooden, abstract-looking toy’s longevity. It’s practically irresistible, and not only to babies. Even adults enjoy squeezing and manipulating the toy, and it makes a great stress-buster to keep on your desk. Made of super-strong elastic cords strung with colorful wooden balls and rods, along with a few bells, the Skwish, as its name implies, easily squishes down flat, springs back up again, and generally tolerates all sorts of stretching and manipulation. Babies love teething on it, which is not a problem because the Skwish is made of sustainable wood with a nontoxic, water-based finish that won’t wear away, chip, or fade. The Skwish is safe for any age from newborn to adult. Pros: Very appealing design, safe for teething babies, durable, easy to carry in diaper bag or daycare packCons: A very few buyers complained that an elastic band frayed or broke during play
$9.99 from Amazon
The best wooden blocks
Maxim Deluxe Wooden ABC Blocks are big enough for a baby to easily hold and stack, and colorfully carved and stamped with the letters of the alphabet, numbers, animals, and other designs.Wooden blocks are a classic toy for babies and toddlers. Babies enjoy holding them and looking at them. Toddlers like to stack them and then knock them back down. And of course, mom or dad can use the blocks to get a head start on teaching the alphabet and numbers. The Maxim Deluxe Wooden ABC Blocks are perfect for all of those activities and many more. The set includes a total of 40 wooden blocks, each with a carved letter, number, or arithmetic function symbol, as well as a stamped animal, number, or word. These blocks are a little bit bigger than many other sets. Each side measure 1.8 inches, so your child will have no problem stacking them. The blocks are 100% wood and stained with nontoxic, water-based colors, so no worries if baby decides to give one a chew. The set includes a storage bag, so once playtime is over, you can help your little one gather up the blocks and put them safely away. The block set is labeled for ages 18 months and up, although many buyers purchased them for younger toddlers. Pros: Nicely designed wooden blocks without rough edges, large set with many designs, storage bag includedCons: Somewhat expensive, although they are better quality than many other sets
$34.00 from Amazon
The best wooden ride-on toy
What little one wouldn’t love gliding around on the crazy-cute Wheely Bug wooden ride-on toy from Prince Lionheart? Little kids — and not-so-little kids, as well — love ride-on toys. And why not? Members of the toddler set aren’t yet steady on their feet, so generally enjoy a ride. And when that ride is on one of the super-cute Prince Lionheart Wheely Bugs, well, the fun is just getting started. What a great way to keep your young ones happily playing for hours. There are several designs to choose from, including a bee, cow, hedgehog, mouse, ladybug, pig, and tiger. You can also get them in two sizes: small, for children 1 1/2 to 3 years old, and large, which is for children ages 3 to 6. The caster wheels glide silently over just about any indoor flooring without scratching, scuffing, or denting the surface. The wooden base of the toy has a lightly padded seat, so your child can sit comfortably, and the curved handle provides security while racing across the living room. The weight limit for the Wheely Bug is 50 pounds. Pros: Won’t mar flooring, toddlers can ride or push, cute designs, sturdy constructionCons: Your child might quickly outgrow the toy, somewhat expensive
$70.00 from Amazon
The best wooden toy for toddlers
Toddlers love pull-along toys, and when that pull-along is as cute and durable as the Hape Walk-Along Wooden Pull Toy, you’ll fall in love as well. There’s just something about a toy with a leash that lets a toddler pull it along the ground: Little ones just naturally seem to love them. Of course, with the Hape Walk-Along Wooden Pull Toy, your children will enjoy pushing the toy, talking to it, or maybe even sleeping with it just as much as taking their wooden friend for a walk. Made of wood with nontoxic finishes and colors, there are four available designs: caterpillar, crocodile, puppy, and turtle. The turtle has a belly full of water that swirls about as he walks, and the flowers on the caterpillar spin as he moves, but all four designs are toddler-approved and loads of fun. They won’t scratch or damage your floors, either, and glide across both hard surfaces and carpet with ease. For ages 12 months and up.Pros: Very cute designs, appealing to kids up to kindergarten age, helps toddlers learn to walk steadilyCons: Although complaints are few, most regard the puppy not rolling smoothly
$29.99 from Amazon
The best wooden activity center for toddlers
Keep your toddler happily occupied for hours with the Manhattan Toy Treetop Adventure Activity Center. It takes a special toy to occupy your toddler or kindergartener long enough for you to cook dinner, get dressed, or make a quick dash to the bathroom. Luckily, the Manhattan Toy Treetop Adventure Activity Center is up to the challenge and then some. The solid wood activity center is filled with colorful and interesting activities guaranteed to capture your child’s attention: wooden beads that slide along curved tracks, animals that glide down pathways, knobs to turn, spinning flowers, and more. At 22.5 inches tall and 18 inches wide, the activity center is large enough to entertain two toddlers at the same time, and it’s sturdy enough not to tip over if someone uses it to pull up to standing. What a great addition to the playroom.Recommended for ages 12 months to 5 years.Pros: Lots of entertainment for the little ones, big enough to share, helps develop hand-eye coordinationCons: You’ll need to assemble the activity center, and a few customers complained of missing screws
$75.98 from Amazon
The best wooden toy for elementary-aged kids
Encourage your elementary-aged child to have fun and develop thinking skills at the same time with the KEVA Structures 200-Plank Set. Many of the best jobs, today and tomorrow, involve STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, mathematics. But while many kids are drawn naturally to these subjects, others need just a little encouragement. The KEVA Structures 200-Plank Set is the perfect activity for both types of kids. KEVA planks aren’t complex or technological in themselves; in fact, they are merely precision-cut, pine planks that each measure about 0.25 inches thick, 0.75 inches wide, and 4.5 inches long. There are no connectors, no glue is involved, and the planks are natural wood, not colored or painted. So what exactly does your child do with these planks? The better question is: What can’t your child do with them?KEVA planks are widely used in schools, children’s museums, and science camps to teach basic concepts of engineering and physics, and the set includes a helpful guide demonstrating many projects your child can create. Build a tower. Make a bridge. Duplicate a favorite building in miniature. Your child’s imagination is really the only restriction, and you can bet that imagination is going to stretch during the many happy hours spent occupied with the KEVA planks. We’ll bet further that you’ll be joining in at least occasionally. KEVA planks are irresistible fun even for adults, but the target age is 7 through 12 or so. Pros: Fun way to improve your child’s thinking skills, full-color project book, very durable wooden planksCons: Somewhat expensive, some kids dislike building toys
$49.95 from Amazon
The best wooden train set
Choo choo! All aboard the Orbrium Triple-Loop 100-Piece Wooden Train Set, traveling to hours of fun.With the Orbrium Triple-Loop 100-Piece Wooden Train Set, your child gets to lay out not just the train route, but also an entire town. What a great way to boost your child’s creativity, as well as keep them entertained for hours. Along with a variety of track pieces, the train, a bridge, and a crossing, you get several buildings, cars, people, signs, and trees. All of the wooden pieces are nicely constructed from beech wood, and without rough edges, splinters, or cracks. Like most wooden train sets, the track pieces are double-sided, so you can curve them in either direction, and they slip together easily. You can also combine this set with most other popular — and far more expensive — train sets, including Brio and Thomas the Tank Engine. The set includes six different layout ideas, but of course, the versatility of the set is limited only by your child’s imagination. Recommended for ages 3 and up.Pros: Very versatile set that includes a wide range of pieces, compatible with other wooden train sets, reasonable priceCons: A handful of buyers complained that their sets were missing pieces
$42.99 from Amazon
The best wooden toy for teens and adults
With the ROBOTIME 3D Robot Craft Kit, you’ve got something far better to do with your time than stare at the latest app.Wooden toys and building sets are definitely not only for the little ones. At least, not wooden building sets like the ROBOTIME 3D Robot Craft Kit. This intricate wooden set creates your very own robot, “Orpheus,” with a light-up heart, moving gears in his head, and a music box that plays a bittersweet little tune called “Cycle of Happiness.” The set includes everything you need to build Orpheus, including 221 die-cut plywood pieces, glue, music box, batteries, dowels, and detailed instructions. According to ROBOTIME, if you are new to model building, it will take you roughly five hours to finish the robot. Those with more experience can complete the robot in around two hours. That’s either one engrossing binge, or multiple sessions spread out for maximum enjoyment. Either way, it’s a creative way to spend time that stretches your brain a lot more than staring at the tube, your phone, or your laptop.Pros: Very unusual and creative kit, a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, excellent for parent/child projectCons: A very few customers complained they had a hard time assembling the robot
$34.99 from Amazon
The best wooden game for the entire family
Hasbro’s Jenga has been providing family-game-night fun for years. This easy-to-play game combines skill, luck, and laughter for those ages 6 to 100.The basics of playing Jenga are simple: Set out the stacked wooden pieces — the included cardboard sleeve makes it easy —and then take turns pulling one piece out of the stack, and then adding it to the top. The game ends with a cry of “Jenga!” when the tower eventually falls. Of course, while the rules of the game are simple, it gets rather challenging as the game progresses. Once the bottom of the tower is mostly open, it takes a steady hand to keep on building. But that combination of skill, suspense, engineering knowledge, and daring is exactly what makes the game so irresistibly fun for young kids right up through oldsters. You get 54 wooden pieces, a stacking sleeve, and a cardboard carrying case to hold the game between plays. Recommended for ages 6 and up. Pros: Excellent for family night, easy to learn, just challenging enough to be fun, the round storage box is much easier to use than the old square cardboard boxCons: The stacking sleeve is now cardboard, instead of plastic as in the past, so might rip or bend
$16.98 from Amazon
Check out our guide to the best STEM toys
The best STEM toys you can buySTEM toys are not only enjoyable to play with, but can also teach skills that will help kids excel in careers later in life. Many STEM toys lead to development of more than one ability, honing skills in mathematics, logic, problem-solving, and more.The secret to getting the right STEM toy (that’s the acronym for Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering) is to choose one with an angle your child already enjoys. Got a daughter who loves building things, say out of intricate, colorful little plastic blocks? Then a LEGO STEM toy is perfect. Got a son who is car crazy? Then a kit that lets him build little working vehicles will be a hit.Here are the best STEM toys you can buy: Best STEM toy overall: LEGO Boost Creative ToolboxBest STEM toy for younger kids: Snap Circuits Pro Electronics Exploration KitBest STEM toy for robotics: Microduino Itty Bitty BuggyBest STEM toy for basic programming skills: Makeblock Neuron Explorer KitBest screen-free STEM toy: Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst KitBest STEM toy for advanced computing skills: Piper Computer Kit
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