If you are shopping for a 2-year-old’s birthday party or for a special toddler this holiday season, wooden toys can easily win over both children and parents.
Why? They spark serious imaginative play and are safer, healthier, and more durable than most plastic toy competitors. And let’s face it, they often look better, too!
This post will highlight what makes wooden toddler toys so great and where to find the best wooden toys for 2-year-olds in 2022 on any budget.
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What are wooden toys?
Wooden toys are play-based objects formed by cutting and shaping wood. They are typically child-sized replicas of real-world people, animals, tools, and appliances.
They come in all shapes and sizes, from simple blocks to complex climbing structures. Wooden toys can either come unfinished or painted.
Wooden toys are considered classics and have existed for thousands of years. There is evidence of wooden toy animals dating back to the ancient Egyptian civilization!
The Benefits of Wooden Toys for Toddlers
- Spark creativity & imaginative play
- Are built to last
- Are healthier for kids
- Make great gifts (since they appeal to both kids and parents)
Wooden Toys Spark Creativity & Imaginative Play
Unlike many battery-powered plastic toys that beep, play songs, or move independently, wooden toys offer children a “blank slate” for their imaginations to run wild.
Pretend play may begin for toddlers as young as 18-24 months; however, most kids don’t exactly “play together” until later in toddlerhood. By increasing opportunities for imaginative play, wooden toys also encourage social interaction and collaboration. Toddlers love creating their own sounds, movement, and characters.
Wooden Toys Are Built to Last
Durability is a huge win for parents when it comes to wooden toys. Wooden toys are unlikely to break or shatter. Further, Oribel notes that they can even be refinished or repainted to become brand-new again!
Wooden Toys Are Healthier for Kids
Plastic toys may pose a risk of chemicals, such as BPA and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Such chemicals present many health concerns, including an impact on children’s hormone levels.
*Parents should always check with individual toy manufacturers to ensure painted wooden toys are made with non-toxic, child-safe paints.
Wooden Toys Make Great Gifts
Wooden toys can simply be a ton of fun, which is a huge win for toddlers! Without a doubt, the educational, durability, and health benefits of wooden toys are quite appealing to parents as well.
Let’s face it… some battery-powered plastic toys can be a little loud (and a bit annoying for grown-ups!). For this reason, wooden toys are always a safe go-to for toddler gifts. Especially, if you are not certain about parental preferences.
The Best Wooden Toys for 2-Year-Olds in 2022
When you find that perfect activity for your toddler’s stage of development (with just the right amount of challenge), something magical happens. Alas, seemingly endless engagement and entertainment!
That’s the idea behind Lovevery’s stage-based, Montessori-inspired play kits.
You can skip the guesswork and leave it to the professionals. They know how to pick just the right amount of challenge for learning and play.
While Lovevery customizes play kits for toddlers ages 0-4, each box caters to a specific 3-month stretch of development.
Check out this helper kit for 26-28-month-olds! Toddlers love feeling valued and exploring their new independence.
Parents will also enjoy an expert play guide with each kit to understand how to best nurture their child’s growing mind.
Best Wooden Climbing Toys
This Pikler-style triangle by Driddle is made from natural wood with fun primary color accents. It even comes with a tent cover (because what toddler doesn’t love building forts?!)
The best part? It’s budget-friendly compared to most Montessori-style climbing competitors.
Avenlur Indoor Playground Jungle Gym Kids
The ultimate indoor wooden climbing frame… you might as well call it a playground! It’s packed full of gross motor activities to grow with your toddler.
Avenlur’s wooden jungle gym features a mini rock climbing wall, Swedish slide, rope ladder, monkey bars, and a swing.
Add in your child’s imagination, and they’ll be set for hours!
Best Wooden Block Sets
You may know Lovevery as a subscription box for developmental play; however, this incredible comprehensive block set is available to anyone on Amazon!
These 70 beautiful blocks are deemed “heirloom quality” to last generations. The set consists of 18 different colors, 12+ diverse shapes, archways, ramps, bead threaders, and wheels. Your child can even construct a car with this set! Lovevery includes an activity guide to keep your little one busy and learning from ages 18 months up to 4+ years.
My son received this My Town block and puzzle set around 24 months old and played with it daily for about 6 months! It even comes with a fun roadway jigsaw puzzle.
The town blocks themselves are quite diverse and consist of community buildings, helpers, vehicles, trees, along with the ABCs! This set is super affordable and provides a ton of bang for your buck by promoting creative, independent play.
This 24-piece block set by Tegu contains no ordinary blocks…these high-quality magnetic wonders provide a sensory calming effect and tons of imaginative play opportunities!
When working as a school counselor in a Pre-K through 8th-grade setting I kept these magnetic blocks out on my table. Kids of every grade level loved playing with them while we talked!
This stunning Rainbow Tunnel Stacker by Grimm’s undeniably provides some serious aesthetic appeal for any playroom! But more importantly, these hand-crafted arches inspire creativity and solo play.
Grimms’ colorful arches can be used for stacking, tunnels, creating towers…even rocking chairs for your child’s dolls. The possibilities are endless with this simple, classic wooden toy.
This colorful wooden shape stacking toy by Dreampark can help your toddler learn and grow in a variety of ways: Color recognition, shape recognition, counting, problem-solving, and fine-motor skills, to name a few.
Dreampark’s high-quality, non-toxic painted wooden toy also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
An unconventional stacking toy, this adorable forest collection by Le Toy Van provides ample opportunities for both learning and creative play.
Stacking the 9 woodland animals is a fun game for toddlers that encourages eye-hand coordination. Aside from stacking, your toddler will enjoy these little critters by learning animal sounds and playing pretend!
Best Wooden Puzzles
These chunky wooden puzzles by Melissa & Doug are an ideal gift for newly 2-year-olds. My son received this collection for his second birthday and absolutely loves them! Once he mastered the problem-solving features of the puzzles, the wooden animal and transportation pieces remained staples in our toy collection. He loves playing pretend, creating noises for the animals and vehicles, and having them all interact!
Peg puzzles by Melissa & Doug are another fantastic puzzle choice for the 2-year-old crowd, particularly if you are looking to create play-based learning opportunities at home.
The small pegs are ideal for encouraging eye-hand coordination, while the puzzles themselves serve as a fantastic introduction to number, letter, and color recognition.
My 2-year-old adores this wooden jigsaw set from Coogam and I love how light and compact they are! Each puzzle is less than 6 x 6 inches. We just brought a few on vacation with us and they took up virtually no space for travel.
These six small, engaging puzzles help toddlers with animal, color, and shape recognition, along with problem-solving and logical thinking.
Best Miscellaneous Wooden Toys
Wooden threading and lacing toys have become my favorite go-to gifts for 2-year-olds. They are intriguing, provide the right amount of challenge for them to “grow into”, and are excellent for problem-solving and fine motor skills.
This Montessori-inspired wooden apple by Coogam is not only great for any playroom but makes for excellent non-screen entertainment while traveling. Its 30-inch string is long enough to thread the attached caterpillar through all 15 holes!
Looking to add a little music to your toddler’s wooden toy collection? The colorful Hape Pound & Tap Bench with a Slide Out Xylophone is an award-winning, multi-faceted toy suitable for children ages 12-36 months.
The xylophone will reward your child with beautiful sounds after he or she pounds the balls with the included hammer. It also slides out and can be used as a separate musical instrument. This set is phenomenal for fine motor skills and learning cause and effect.
Somewhere shortly after his second birthday, my son became train obsessed. His figure-8 track set is the perfect size for our coffee table as we do not have room for an entire train table!
Unlike many train set competitors, this starter set by BRIO is developed specifically for ages 2 and up. It comes with a 3-piece magnetic train, 14 figure-8 track pieces (compatible to build on later with other BRIO track sets), a movable crossing bridge, a train station, and wooden trees. Trust me, it’s more than enough for a toddler’s imagination to run wild!
The last thing you need to know about buying wooden toys
We love our 2-year-olds so much, it can be tempting to load up under the Christmas tree or for birthdays. But it’s important to remember that when it comes to toys, quality is much more important than quantity.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Infant Behavior and Development examined the relationship between the number of toys and the quality of play in toddlers. They found that when provided fewer toys, toddlers played for longer periods and in more diverse ways, suggesting that fewer toys encourage greater creativity!
By choosing a gift among the best wooden toys for 2-year-olds, you are giving your little one so much more than a toy. You are giving them gifts of curiosity, imagination, learning, and fun!