Wooden Toys


Toys are objects used for playing. Usually toys are associated with children and pets. Toys have been in use since pre-historic times. Pre-historic toys were usually representations of infants, animals, soldiers and other tools used by adults. The term “toy” first came into use during the 14th century. Toys and play are important to the process of learning. The youngsters discover their identity through play. Playing with toys help children grow strong, learn cause and effect, explore relationships and practice all the skills needed as an adult. Toys are much more than mere amusements. The way toys are used influence many aspects of life deeply. Toys are made of various materials. Modern toys are made using plastic vinyl or wood. Wood is one of the oldest and most popular medium for making toys. The wooden toys of Channapatna are very famous.

History of Wooden Toys:

Almost all young mammals play. The play things are often rejected or spare objects. Toys and games have been found on the sites of some of the oldest civilizations of the world. Early toys were carved out of wood or twigs. Wooden toys were replicas of animals or human figurines. Sometimes carts or whistles were whittled out of wood. Some civilizations were so advanced in wood carving, that their miniature toy carts were extremely detailed and accurate replicas of the real ones. The carts even had wheels that could be turned.

Dolls with beautifully painted features have also been excavated. In ancient Rome and Greece, toy weapons like bows and arrows and maces made of wood have been found. In Greece, it was customary for children to sacrifice their toys at the altars of Gods once they got married.

The sacrifice was made on the eve of their wedding. Egyptian archaeological digs have unearthed dolls with jointed limbs and rotating heads. Modern toy manufacturers still use wood for making toys. Nowadays, toys can be made to speak from among thousands of pre-programmed sentences. One of the simplest types of toys are the wooden blocks. Wooden toys are good for developing the minds of children. Playing with toys lets children develop their hand-eye coordination, math skills and science skills. With the increasing use of plastic and vinyl in toy making, only a few toys are made of wood.

Construction Toys:

The oldest and most simple type of construction sets are wooden blocks. They are painted brightly and well polished. They are meant for babies and toddlers. Construction sets have become very popular in the last century. They appeal to adults too. It is fun top use construction sets and make imaginative structures.

Wooden Dolls:

Wooden dolls are carved miniatures of humans or babies. Some dolls are used as decorative or as collectibles. Wooden dolls are usually small in size and may be dressed in actual clothes or may have clothes painted on them. Wooden dolls are mainly targeted towards girls. The dolls are made with great dexterity and attention to detail.

Wooden Toy Vehicles:

Miniature versions of vehicles have been popular ever since ancient times. In those times children played with wooden toy carts on wheels. Nowadays the carts have given way to cars.
Brightly painted wooden cars with rubber wheels are very popular with children between 3-12 years of age. The “Flintstones” cartoons have made wooden cars without wheels a collectible item. They are operated by thrusting the feet through holes on the floor of the car and running around.

Wooden Puzzles:

The earliest known mechanical wooden puzzles come from Greece, 3rd century B.C. The game comprises of a square with 14 parts. The aim of the game is to create various shapes from the individual pieces. Puzzle-locks were made in Iran since the 17th century A.D. The Japanese have a game called “Sei Shona-gon Chie No-Ita”, which is a kind of wooden puzzle. Around 1800 Chinese Tangram puzzles became very popular. Puzzles became very fashionable towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.