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What Are Wooden Toys Made Of?

What Are Wooden Toys Made Of?

How are wooden toys made and what are they made out of?

Let me guess… you’ve dipped your toes into the pool of wooden toys and fell in love. And now you’re wondering: what are traditional wooden toys made of? 

You’ve picked up a few wooden toys here and there and noticed a few things, like:

  • Some wooden toys seem to hold up better than others
  • Some wooden toys have paint that chips and rubs off
  • Some wooden toys splinter easily
  • Some of your wooden toys have a strong chemical smell

    And it’s gotten you curious! Now you’re wondering how wooden toys are made — what makes some wooden toys better than others? Are there certain woods used? 

    Obviously, you want the best for your child, and picking up mass-produced wooden toys from a chain department store may not be that. 

    Now that your love for wooden toys has been established (duh!), you’re ready to take the next step. You’re ready to jump into the pool head-on! This means finding eco-friendly, sustainably-sourced wooden toys from brands that keep the safety of your child and our planet a top priority. 

    While you can find all those things right here at PoppyBabyCo, let’s look at what goes into a quality wooden toy a bit. What is the best for your child when it comes to wooden toys? How do you know what to look for? 

    What is the best wood for making toys?

    There are many different types of wood used for toys. However, not all wood is created equal when it comes to the durability and quality of wooden toys. The main types of wood used for toys are hardwoods, softwoods, and plywood/MDF (medium density fibreboard). Let’s dig into this a little more. Which woods are hardwoods, which are softwoods, and which one is the safest option for toys?


    Hardwood is used the most for wooden toys because it’s durable. Its resistance to splintering and cracking make it ideal for children’s toys. Hardwood toys are more likely to hold up under chewing, throwing, and banging. 

    Because toys made of hardwood are generally better quality, you’ll find that they’re often more expensive. Hardwood is the safest wood for baby toys

    Some of the most popular hardwoods are:


    Beechwood is a common choice for toy makers because it is durable, easy to shape, fine-grained, and beautifully textured. Check out these fruit and veggie dominoes that are carved from beechwood.


    Oak is a great choice for wooden toys because it’s very strong, dense, and durable. It’s also extremely resistant to water, making it ideal for teething babies and children who chew on toys. PoppyBabyCo offers a wide selection of toys carved from oak, like this oak tree puzzle or baby teether.


    This is another great hardwood for toys. With fine grains that don’t splinter easily, maple is a heavy wood that makes durable, long-lasting wooden toys. See our maple and oak stacking toy


    Looking for a hardwood that’s extremely resistant to heavy wear and tear? Well, look no further. Not only is birch durable and resistant, it’s also lighter and less expensive than maple, making it the perfect choice for high-quality wooden toys, like our rainbow sailboat stacker.


    Walnut is a great choice for wooden toys, as it’s hard but not extremely heavy. However, be aware of potential nut allergies when working with or purchasing toys made out of walnut wood. Check out our beautiful number puzzle made of walnut wood.


    Ash makes great wooden toys due to its high shock resistance. It’s also a less expensive wood, and when left untreated, it’s non-toxic. This makes it the perfect wood for toys like our cute Waldorf dog puzzle.


    A sturdy, durable, and reliable choice of wood, poplar makes quality wooden toys. Poplar is an easier wood to carve and is less likely to splinter.


    Common softwoods used for toys are:

  • Pine 
  • Spruce 
  • Cedar
  • Basswood

  • Overall, softwoods aren’t as good of an option for toys as they dent, splinter, warp, and crack much easier than hardwoods do. However, wooden toys carved from softwood can be fine if you have an older child that won’t be throwing and chewing on their toys.


    The last type of wood used for toys is products like plywood and MDF. While some may argue that it’s still eco-friendly, MDF is chock-full of chemicals, including formaldehyde. Formaldehyde causes skin, eye, and respiratory irritation — exactly what you want around your children, right?

    It’s said that exposure to MDF’s toxic chemicals is eliminated once the wood product is sealed. Yet, MDF is weak. It’s prone to cracking, breaking, and swelling once wet. Furthermore, one of the leading causes of formaldehyde in the home is from wood-pressed products.

    So imagine your small child playing with a wooden toy made from MDF. They’re banging it around — throwing it over and over as they delight in the noise it makes. They’re chewing away on it, and eventually, all that slobbering, banging, and throwing wears the toy down. It’s now weakened to the point that it cracks, exposing the chemicals sealed inside. 

    While it may be tempting to purchase toys made from MDF, please remember the risks associated with it aren’t worth the cheaper price. Not to mention, MDF won’t hold up as well as quality woods, so while you may save money upfront, toys made with cheap materials will end up being trashed long before they reach the next generation. 

    What is the best oil for wooden toys?

    When purchasing wooden toys, you want to make sure that they’re finished in paints and oils that are safe for little ones. Most likely, the toy will end up in your child’s mouth at some point, so make sure the oil or paint on the toys is non-toxic. 

    Some safe, food-grade, non-toxic oils to look for are:

  • Tung 
  • Linseed
  • Walnut
  • Hemp
  • Beeswax

    You can rest assured that any toy finished in one of these oils is completely safe for your little one to chew on. If you’re buying wooden toys for babies, it’s best to stick to those that are unfinished or simply oiled.

    Luckily for you, PoppyBabyCo has you covered! We have an extensive line of high-quality wooden baby toys rubbed in linseed oil or beeswax. 

    What is the best paint for wooden toys?

    Sometimes people get caught up in the fact that a toy is made from wood and forget all about the paint that’s on it. Some wooden toys may be advertised as “eco-friendly” or “sustainable”, but they’re covered in stains, shellacs, or paints filled with chemicals.

    It’s important that you look past the surface of a company’s advertisement. Be sure to read the materials used for their wooden toys. If you’re buying painted wooden toys, look for ones with paints such as:

  • Water-based, non-toxic acrylic paint
  • Water-based, non-toxic latex paint
  • Non-toxic milk paint

  • At PoppyBabyCo, we only used water-based paints to ensure the safety of every child playing with our toys. We understand that while the price and design of a wooden toy play an important role in your purchasing decisions, the safety of our children is our top priority. 

    You may see high-quality wooden toys in our shop with price tags that cause you to look twice. You wonder why our wooden toys are so expensive. I get it! 

    So here are a few things to keep in mind: We do our utmost best to provide quality wooden toys for the best value while also maintaining the level of sustainability we believe in. At PoppyBabyCo, we responsibly source our materials, ensure our work is fair-trade, and guarantee our products are non-toxic so that your children can enjoy them for years to come.

    Are you ready to jump into the pool? PoppyBabyCo has any wooden toy you could possibly want, so go ahead… dive on in! Check out Our Story to see a small snippet of the love that goes into our wooden toys.