There is something special about the tactile sensation of handling a well-crafted, wooden object. Children seem to understand this better than anyone, given that wooden toys have never really gone out of fashion over the centuries.
Although the date that wooden toys first appeared is unclear, there is evidence that the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks used wood to create playthings. The 1700s brought the onset of educational toys in England with the advent of wooden alphabet blocks. The 18th century also saw the emergence of wooden sleds and carved miniature animals.
And now, wooden toys are enjoying a major resurgence as parents nostalgically recall their own childhood playthings when choosing toys for their own children. And generally, consumers are returning to more traditional toys to balance out the ever-sophisticated toys and gadgets of the digital age.
There is no doubt that toys take quite a battering from their young owners, getting knocked about, thrown around and left out in all weathers. Plastic toys can be brittle, while anything digital or audio-visual always runs the risk of malfunction or obsolescence. Wooden toys, however, can endure rough treatment and last for generations, ensuring these toys can be handed down through the family tree:
One mum says:
“I have a whole set of wooden toys that I played with as a child that I’ve now passed on to my two boys,” she says. “They’ve got a few scuffs and scratches but they’re still really strong, and will last for who knows how long.”