We have gathered together in these pages some of the finest wooden toys to come out of Europe, and especially Germany. These include wooden, trucks trains, and airplanes, block sets, and wooden games and puzzles. All of these products were designed with the child in mind: They are durable, natural, and just plain fun. All of The Wooden Wagon's toys comply with the rigorous European testing standards.
Why Choose Wood?
When we first started The Wooden Wagon, we were frequently asked why we had chosen to "limit" ourselves to wooden toys. Wasn't there much more selection if we included plastic trucks, or rubber baby rattles, or any number of other items?
My answer to that remains, "No." There is an astounding diversity to the wooden toys produced today. Classic toys—the hobby horse, or toy truck, or baby rattle—continue to be well represented: It is solely a matter of choosing one's favorite design. And our selection constantly grows as we discover toymakers who use the material in unique ways, or approach a familiar subject with a fresh eye.
But our choice of wooden toys is more than just a matter of preference for wood over plastic. Wooden toys have a wonderful power to awaken the child's imagination. They may not beep or speak or flash lights, but watch them in use, and you will see a child's imagination flourishing. With these toys, life is given by the child, not by a battery or computer chip. The simplicity of their design frees rather than restricts the imagination.
Aesthetically wood is the perfect material for toymaking. Just as each piece of wood has its individual grain, so each wooden toy has its individual character. The child's senses are awoken to the natural world and stimulated by the variations in grain, texture, and smell of different woods. And wood has its own temperature, making it pleasurable to the touch.
Finally, there are environmental reasons to choose a wooden toy: Wood is a renewable resource, whereas petroleum-based products are not. Our manufacturers use local woods where possible, frequently from the annual fell from European forests, and promote regrowth. The by-products of production can be recycled. Vegetable dyes and natural varnishes ensure that the toys are not only non-toxic, but natural as well. And a wooden toy can be easily repaired if necessary, or as a last resort recycled.
Limited? Hardly. I would say instead that a wooden toy is the natural choice.