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The History of Wooden Toys

Agnieszka Calka-Bonczak

Posted on June 25 2019

 Toys have been such an important part of play since early civilization. Archaeologists have discovered an Egyptian tiger toy which is estimated to be around 2500 years old. Even though the approach to play in today’s civilization is very different, the toys remain very similar. Although there are many other modern influences upon play in today’s society like the use of technology and electrical toys, the nostalgia surrounding wooden toys still remains. For many, wooden toys act as something which get passed on through generations and can act as an element of tradition and legacy for families. So, what is the history of wooden toys?

The first wooden toy to be created was the rattle and as time has progressed, this has become a very traditional element of early childhood and still is today.

In the 1700’s toymakers in Germany introduced the craft of wooden toys. At this time, wooden toys were often handmade for special occasions, but this concept then  started to develop across Europe with dolls and animals being popular handmade crafts at the time.

The creativity and level of imagination behind the development of wooden toys then began to evolve through more elaborate and fine details in the craft of the toys. During the 19th century, doll houses and mini theatres became the most popular wooden toy trends. This was something which enabled children to get more creative with their play. Towards the end of this period toys developed through the use of primary colours like red, blue, green and yellow. Toy soldiers continued to be one of the most manufactured wooden toys along with the jack in the box. Trends then progressed into the creation of large train track sets as the process of making wooden toys became easier.

Throughout World War 2, the creation of wooden toys began to pause and because of the manufacturing process being cheaper and more modernised through use of new materials like plastic and metals. Despite this development, wooden toys have made a comeback and become more modernised yet still hold the same traditional elements that a child should get to experience throughout play and creation. Now, it seems that wooden toys act as a traditional gift for young children which is becoming increasingly popular as a mechanism to help parents give their young children some time to play without the influence of technology like playing games on a tablet or watching TV. Children should be able to play just like their parents and grandparents did through having the opportunity to get creative and use their imagination through the simplicity and traditionality of wooden toys as opposed to becoming engrossed in technology.

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