One would think with all the bright gadgets and gimmicks overloading children’s senses in today’s toy market, they wouldn’t have any time for the simpler things in life. This is not the case, as wooden toys are still as popular as they ever were. Toys made from wood have a certain straightforwardness about them that encourages a child to use their imagination. It doesn’t matter whether they are painted bright colors or natural, kids love to play with them.
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A Brief History of Wooden Toys
Archaeologists have reported finding spinning tops made from wood as evidence that wooden toys have been around since ancient times. Hand-crafted dolls and animals have been found which were made for children in dating back as far as 1100BC. Wood for toy making would have been their first choice since it is so readily available and not hard to work with. Wooden building sets, dolls houses, jack-in-the-boxes, and jigsaw puzzles are all wooden toys designed in the 1800s which are still very popular today.
It was in the sixteenth century that Germany started producing toys for trade. The men who made them would travel around the country selling them as they went. They were time-consuming to make and were considered a treat or gift for unforgettable events. Some craftsmen were lucky to be enlisted to make toys for the royals and were paid well for their work.
Educational Wooden Toys
Whenever we think of wooden toys we think of the little blocks with the alphabet painted on them or engraved into the wood. Toys that children could learn from date back as far as the eighteenth century in the UK. When adults saw how much a child could develop their imagination playing with the blocks, they sought out more miniature friends for them. Small hand-crafted animals and dolls then became more common.
If you don’t think alphabet blocks then you definitely think of wooden trains when you hear about vintage toys. It was in the nineteenth century that a lot more thought was put into creating children’s toys. Craftsmen developed revolutionary items like the jack in the box, wooden army men, complex houses for girls dolls and wind-up toys with moving parts. They made trucks and trains with tracks and just about anything appropriate they could to make children feel like miniature versions of their parents.
Wooden Building Toys
The twentieth century saw a boom in the building industry, both commercial and domestic. It seemed relevant, with so many fathers are going to work, that a range of toys is bought out for children who wanted to be like their dads. Interlocking and interchangeable pieces that came in sets so children could build things is what they released. Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys are two companies that produced these wooden toys, and they are still around today.
There are so many flashing, plastic, battery-operated toys in stores that it comes to the point where they all seem to blend into one. It is so lovely to see a child surrounded by hi-tech toys and their eyes still light up when a wooden train is introduced. They may be more expensive because they aren’t mass-produced in Asia, but they pass the test of time and have great benefits in stimulating a child’s individuality and creativity. They are also classic decorations as well.
Still, nowadays wooden toys are the favorite for many children. They are great for developing creativity and many are designed to educate them as well. Don’t fall for the hype of cheap five-minute wonder toys, but instead invest in quality that will last lifetimes.
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