Plastic toys and electronics have widely grown in popularity since the 1930s, leaving the wooden toys of yesterday in their dust. But with consumers becoming much more eco-friendly and families moving away from TV and video game time towards more active play, wooden toys are making a comeback with good reason. Not only are they more environmentally friendly, but wooden toys are sturdy and can last for generations. In addition, they aren't flashy or noisy, allowing your child's imagination to flourish. Wooden toys just bring us back to basics.

Doll Houses

Some families are lucky enough to have a wooden dollhouse that has been handed down from generation to generation. If you don't already have one, you can begin the tradition! Dollhouses offer hours of imaginative play for boys and girls and help children learn to cooperate and take turns. Each birthday, give your child an additional piece for the dollhouse, such as a new doll or new décor item for the house. You'll be cutting down on adding plastic to our overflowing landfills and while creating a beloved toy.

Blocks

Legos have taken over the building blocks world, but wooden blocks have a lot to offer too. Besides being more eco-friendly, they are great for shape-sorting, learning to build towers that don't fall down, building towers to knock down, and (for those with letters) learning the alphabet. Melissa & Doug makes a great 60-piece set.

Puzzles

We know that puzzles are great for children because they help develop spatial skills. Wooden puzzles are a much more durable option, holding up to years of abuse by little hands and mouths. Plus, they are available in a variety of types including peg and knob, jigsaw, stacking, and geometric mosaic puzzles.

Train Sets

Children love toy trains because of the unlimited places they can take their imaginations. Your child gets to fit the track together, line up the train cars, and build a village for the train to service. She can literally build bridges. A wood train is nearly indestructible, which means your child can pass it down to her children some day. A Bigjigs Rail is a good place to start. They come in a variety of sizes that can be added onto as your child grows, and put together in different ways.

There is an abundance of wooden toys on the market these days. Cars, pull toys, kitchens, and even play food are available in wood. It's not too late to make the change to natural, durable toys for your child. She will get to flex her imagination muscles and you will be contributing less waste to our planet.

Thanks to Bigjigs Toys for providing a Bigjigs Rail for review. My three-year-old loved playing with it, though the tracks on the Bigjigs Rail tend to come apart easily. We used velcro to attach the pieces to the bridge supports.