Friday, December 15, 2017

Educational Wooden Toys are Ingenious, Durable and Productive

January 11, 2007 by  
Filed under Toys

Educational Wooden Toys - photo by Michelle Goh

Believe it or not, educational wooden toys have been around for centuries. And wooden toys that have been discovered in archeological digs in Egypt and Greece reveal that their culture already had wooden toys such as wooden spinning tops, dolls, horses, and chariots some of which date as far back as 1100 BC. Using wood was a natural choice because it was plentiful and easily carved.

Despite the availability of modern, brightly colored plastic toys for children, wooden toys remain highly prized possessions because of their durability and craftsmanship. In terms of stimulating a child’s imagination and creativity, wooden toys can hold their own against their modern counterparts.

In the 1500s, German salesmen not only peddled toy craftsman’s wares all over Germany but also took special orders of custom-made wooden toys to commemorate birthdays and mark special occasions such as a baptism or an anniversary. In fact, members of royalty commissioned craftsmen to make special toys for their children.

Today’s alphabet blocks, made of wood or plastic, are descendants of early educational wooden toys that first appeared and became popular in England in the 1700s. Most of our grandparents, including ourselves, were introduced to the alphabet using these brightly colored alphabet blocks that are still very popular today.

This evolved into the manufacturing of wooden toy sleds animals and soldiers and the more complicated and intricate dollhouses, trains, ships, birds, jack-in-the-box, fire engines and wooden trains as children became more involved in imaginative play, pretending to be grown-ups in a safe corner of their room.

An interesting phenomenon is that children’s toys are reflective of the times they grew in. In the early 1900s, when most countries are gradually industrializing, educational wooden toys included building constructor sets and heavy equipment replicas. In fact, one very popular educational toy during this period is one that allows children of all ages to create entire towns from nothing but interlocking logs.

Nowadays, educational wooden toys are still widely available even if most toy manufacturers use plastic. Although a little bit more expensive than their plastic counterparts, wooden toys have maintained their educational value and popularity. There are pre-cut wooden models of airplane, truck, car, house, birds, animals, etcetera that you assemble and paint. These educational wooden toys range from the simple to intermediate to the very complex and provide long hours of fun even to adults.

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