In our modern plugged in digital age, the idea of wooden toys seems foreign, nostalgic even.
However, as the average age a child receives their first cell phone is now 10.3 years old and as access to the internet for children of all ages continues to surge, perhaps a return to simpler times might not be a bad idea.
While there are certainly benefits to electronic devices and they are essential for the modern educational system and workforce, there are significant disadvantages to having constant access to electronic devices when it comes to young children.
Benefits Of Wooden Toys For Children
Before I get into some of the simple DIY wooden toys, I wanted to discuss some of the benefits they have to offer.
The first being that unlike their plastic counterparts propagated by most toy stores, many wooden toys are built to last a long time. So no matter how many times your child plays roughly with their wooden train set, it should last them right into his college years and beyond.
Secondly, while many toys in stores often come with installed voices, music, stories, lights, sounds or other electronic mechanisms to keep your child entertained, wooden toys do not, and this is a good thing!
Therefore, wooden toys foster imagination within your kids, encouraging them to dream up scenarios to incorporate the toys into a story or theme.
While it is true that most toys may come in a preset shape such as a horse, train or block; as children grow the wooden toys allow for greater use of their cognitive skills to create more elaborate games, stories and experiments.
For instance, when your child is playing with wooden blocks and triangles, they can test things like the basic physics principle of gravity through attempting to create buildings, pyramids or castles.
Thirdly, wooden toys have less of a distracting effect on your child, as there are no electronic noises, lights, songs, buttons or things that can deter from the experience.
Your child will supply the sounds for the action they are imagining.
Whether they are shouting out the roar of their animals as they head off to battle on the plains of Africa, or echoing the whoosh of a train as it runs off to deliver coal so the city can get power, they are the conductor of their orchestra.
Fourthly, wooden toys facilitate engagement as there are minimal features and require children to make full use of their imagination and experiences.
They may feel as if they want further input from siblings, friends or parents to help express the other characters voices, or to build their creations. It also contributes to foster better social skills within your child.
Finally, here is a brief rundown of some of the many other benefits that your child may experience when using wooden toys instead of conventional ones
- Hand-eye coordination can be enhanced
- Supports the development of problem-solving abilities
- Increase the capacity of fine-motor skills
- Heaviness of many wooden toys has been found to help children with learning disabilities as well.
5 Simple DIY Wooden Toddler Toys You Can Make At Home
1. Wooden Blocks
If you are hoping to give your child a head start in the mathematical and logical reasoning departments, then a wooden block set is a must-have.
They also offer the bonus of improving your little one’s hand-eye coordination among may other skills.
Here are some simple instructions to make your own wooden blocks courtesy of Envatotuts+
2. Stackable Modular Doll House
Many parents have fond memories of playing with dolls and dollhouses during their childhood.
Why not pass on that feeling to your children through the creation of a modular dollhouse using stackable blocks, to allow her to build and rebuild her ideal dollhouse for her dolls to creatively play the afternoon away.
Since you are making this dollhouse yourself, you can choose any colors you like.
Head over to Ana White’s website to get her full instructions (for free)!
3. Wooden Rattles
If you are searching for a toy with a vintage feel or something to give as a gift for an upcoming baby shower or birthday, then a wooden rattle or teether is the gift for you to make at home.
You can also make them in a variety of shapes and styles, so you can create everything from a lion to a fox or dinosaur for the little one to play.
Be sure to check out Adventure In A Box for some ideas (and instructions) for wooden baby rattles.
4. Wooden Scooter
If you’re tired of the kids always wanting to be inside thanks to the technological age and all the devices found in most homes, then perhaps the best idea is to unleash a colorful DIY wooden scooter onto your toddler.
Just grab a 2×12 inch piece of spare wood that is around 1 ½ inches thick to provide sturdiness, attach four wheels and two handles to the block.
Don’t forget to paint it or have your child paint it in their favorite color to add the magic of this piece.
Pretty Handy Girl has step by step instructions to help you out!
5. Balance Board
Toddlers will love to be able to play on a balance board.
It’s great for coordination, balance and gross motor development!
For added toddler integration, you could get them to help you decorate the balance board.
Perhaps hand prints might be a fun addition – one for each family member who the board gets passed onto?
You don’t need much to make a balance board, just some scrap wood, paint and tools.
Check out That’s My Letter for complete instructions!
Handmade Wooden Toys For Kids Rock!
In summary, one of the best things you can do to help foster your child’s development through play is to invest in wooden toys.
Luckily, this need not be an expensive endeavor as plenty of toys can be made at home by yourself.
Therefore, in a world that thrives on technology and a fear of being away from our phones is growing, maybe it is time to return to wooden toys for our children?
Author Bio: Home improvement used to be a mystery, but after starting The DIY Hammer, Sarah can now share her love and passion for doing DIY projects at home.