three wooden toys you can’t live without


yhst-maxim toy kitchen

The plethora of plastic toys makes it challenging to equip our children with playthings made of organic materials. I, too, have purchased my fair share of plastic cars, trucks, tracks and dolls/figures. But I have remained true to my goal of having a few well-made, wooden toys in the house—classic pieces that will last a lifetime or more that I can perhaps hand down to my grandchildren some day.

 Wooden Toy Kitchen

 A toy kitchen spans across both genders, and was wildly popular with my boys throughout their toddler years. It does not show wear and tear, so can certainly be passed down to nieces, nephews, cousins, friends or grandchildren. Many toy companies make well-constructed wooden kitchens finished with non-toxic varnish, including one of my all-time favorites, Plan Toys, plus Melissa and Doug and KidKraft.  You can find a range of colors and styles, including retro and modern. Beware: many of them are actually made of manufactured wood. I purchased this sold wood blue Maxim Kids Kitchen Center, which had a compact design to fit into a small space, and interactive features that add to the fun, including two doors and dials that turn. Definitely gear it up with the myriad Melissa and Doug wooden accessories: pots and pans, condiments, fruit and vegetables with velcro that the kids can “cut,” and cupcake, cake and pizza sets.

M and D puppet theater

Wooden Puppet Theater

My boys love imaginative play, so I got them this wooden Melissa and Doug Delux Puppet Theater this year for the holidays. The possibilities for inventing story lines are endless, and can lead to some seriously  choreographed goofing around.  Puppets of your choice to use with the theater can easily be found on Amazon, or in most toy stores. My only complaint is that the theater does not fold, which makes storage a challenge.

plan toys station building

Wooden Train Station

This Plan Toys Station Building with a post-modern look is part of its city series, a virtual wooden city that includes an airport, parking garage, gas station, fire station, cars, buses, and even miniature wooden people whose “legs” can be spun sideways to change from the standing to the sitting position. I purchased this station building for Bs 3rd birthday, and it has been a huge hit ever since. One of the outstanding features is that the tracks at the bottom are compatible with Thomas the Train wooden train track pieces and Plan Toys wooden road pieces, which makes for hours of track/road construction fun.