Simple toys mean complex learning. Typically, toys that don’t “do” anything are teaching the most.  Wooden or other natural materials (translate: no batteries required) allow for creativity, open-ended play, motor skills, and even language development far better than some of their flashy, plastic counterparts.  For example, a simple wooden fire truck invites children to push, pull, make the wee-o wee-o noises, and imagine the flashing lights.  A flashier, battery operated fire truck might automate so of those features, removing the learning opportunity from the equation.

And those same toys usually last the longest.  The simplicity of a toy is directly related to the number of ways it can be used.  They are more dynamic and more easily grow with a child.  A one or two trick pony might last a year or so in the playroom when a simpler version of the same toy could be loved on for years.

Plus, they’re totally gorgeous.   We don’t know a single parent who has successfully avoided all the eyesores that come along with toddlerhood (we’re looking at you, Paw Patrol Tower), but one of the great things about wooden toys is the aesthetic element they can bring int your home, especially if you don’t have a dedicated playroom.  

WHERE TO SHOP

Bella Luna Toys: A Waldorf-based online shop full of investment-worthy wooden toys (like the Waldorf Rocker Board and totally whimsically figurines) run by a former Waldorf educator.  The site’s “Moon Child Blog” is full of simple, helpful tips to incorporate Waldorf principles at home.

Rose & Rex: Also run by an educator, Rose & Rex offers education-based toys that are as equally beautiful as they are effective.  The learning benefits of each piece are listed, and the items are sourced from artisans all over the world.  Make this your stop for bright and unique block sets. 

The Tot: Celebs love this URL for its wholesome-yet-sophisticated vibe.  Each toy on the site must pass The Tot test: Safe Materials, Mindfully Made, Quality, and Stylish.  Their selection of wooden play kitchens is next to none.

Smallable:  Smallable labels itself a “family concept store,” meaning you get to peruse much more than toys.  That being said, they have a section dedicated to wooden toys, sourced from around the globe.