This is a heady topic to tackle because when it comes to wooden toys, there are just so many great projects to choose from. And new ideas are born every day.
Important Things To Keep In Mind
One of the first things that you need to tackle is the legal requirements for making anything for children under the age of 12 in the United States. There may be other legislations in place where you live, but in the US these laws are governed under the government body called the CPSC, Children’s Product Safety Commission. Every article manufactured for children under the age of 12 needs to furnish a CPC, Children’s Product Certificate.
So what does this mean for making wood toys? It means that you can only use natural mineral oil finishes, for one thing. There are other rules as well, so check them out here. Apparently, there is testing required for each craft that comes around to being rather expensive and is unpractical for any small business to undergo.
However, there are many woodworkers who are selling selling wood toys on Etsy successfully. So there is very likely more to this set of rules. Do ask around and find out. Begin with getting in touch with the CPSC. Getting a professional advice from a CA or a business attorney will be ideal.
Making children’s toys is a wonderful niche for a woodworking business but only if you can work out a profit.
This list of best selling toys covers some of the major and popular categories of wooden toys for children. Many more individual ideas are possible within the realm of each board category. Many different projects and plans and shapes and sizes are possible to make a wonderful variety of each toy, each one unique.
And that's one of the reasons why children's toys continues to be a hot selling category of the woodworking crafts.
There are many companies that demand a premium price for wooden toys because they have become somewhat of a novelty, and are popular with parents and for gifting.
When making toys for children, it is good to have some specific tools that make the job easier. Typically, the same tools will come handy no matter which toy you are making. Remember that a lot of the toys you make will not be big projects and most will have small components. So tools that allow you to do accurate work will be appreciated.
Tools Needed To Make Wooden Toys
- Drill press. A drill press does a very fast job of making accurate holes, and is specially required when the same depth has to made repetitively.
- Lathe / Wood turning tool. Children toys tend to have a lot of curves and round shapes. For example, beads. A wood turning tool will help you do many things fast.
- Sander. You will be doing a lot of sanding to get the round corners and make round shapes, for example wheels. Unlike the usual handheld orbital sander, a fixed based sander serves the purpose ideally. What a lot of people do it is build a sander using a standard drill and putting a sanding drum attachment on it.
- Band saw. It will be wonderful to have a bad saw around to do the cutting work for you when it comes to cutting out shapes and curves. A hand saw can also get the job done. You will just need more than one kind.
These are the 12 best seller wooden toys for children.
1. Train Set. This is an incredibly popular toy with children. They come in all shapes and sizes and can get ridiculously expensive on one side of the spectrum. However there are plenty of projects that allow you to make wooden train sets that are not overly complicated, and retain just as much appeal to the kids.
In fact, if you do this right, you can make a lot is this project quiet fast after you have managed your initial setup. The parts of the train set can be made in one go, for example, lots of wheels, carriage bodies, rails etc. All that remains in the end is the final assembly. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this is the easiest of toy projects to choose from. It is definitely an intermediary to advanced level project.
However, it is equally rewarding monetarily. And if you do it with the right tools with the proper setup, you will be very pleased with how much simpler it gets. This is one of those toy projects that will benefit a lot from finishing touches like bright and happy coloured components. Use child safe and food safe materials is something that goes without saying.
Note: There are parts of children’s toys that can be common to several different toys. Or the same part is used for different variations of the toy. Wheels, is one such example. Plan out your projects a little in advance so you know how many wheels or other parts you will need and make them together in a batch. This will save a lot of time and effort.
2. Automobiles. Gosh, where to start with this one? Cars, trucks in all shapes and sizes are a hit with kids. The ones that are made of wood need to be strong and sturdy because you can assume they are going to be put to rough use. That's actually one of the charms of a woodworking toy.
It's a child's companion everywhere he chooses to take it. Once again, once you have setup the right tools, the work can go pretty fast. There are many techniques of using different materials to keep the cost of the overall project down and yet make it durable. There are many plans available for toy projects online. Do check them out.
3. Planes. Children love aeroplanes. It is the toy that makes their imagination take flight, literally. It's a good thing that there are some great designs to make aeroplanes out of wood. Bi-planes are a very popular woodworking toy. A wooden plane is simple to make once you get the hang of making its different components, and there are quiet a few, some of them small. It’s good to have some specialised tools when making small wooden toys.
4. Doll Set. While you are at it, make a doll house. That’s likely to sell more than dolls themselves. Girls today have many popular options for dolls from some big brand names. But beautiful doll houses are not so common and a big hit. Doll houses made from wood have the advantage of looking like actual houses in a miniature form. They beat the factory made plastic ones when it comes to authenticity, though they might be large and elaborate.
5. Animals. All kinds of animals are popular with children. Put wheels on a wooden dog or a cat and it will go everywhere with the child.
6. Toy Trunk. I remember I needed a box to put in all my toys, as do the kids to day. A wooden trunk for toys is a great wood craft that will be equally appreciated by the child as well as the parents.
7. Puzzles and Educational Toys. There are many ideas for making educational toys for children from wood, depending mostly on the age group. Educational toys for the age group 3 – 6 are very popular since they provide a safe and durable way for initial learning. Examples are wooden alphabets, numbers and picture sets. They help in engaging the child in learning as well as developing motor skills. Puzzles go very well with woodworking. You can make some very durable, fun and interesting puzzles with wood. Big chunky puzzle pieces are attractive and easy to wield for small children.
8. Anything With Wheels. Thats right, put anything on wheels and its a hit with the children. I remember having a wooden dog as a child. It had wheel under its belly and when you tagged it along, the paws moved as if it was walking but actually rolled along on the wheels. It even made a barking sound. I was a hit with all the kids that came over. They absolutely loved it for some reason. Another simple example of woodworking toy with wheels that is addictively popular is a simple box or a cart with wheels. Its almost guaranteed to go with a child wherever he goes.
9. Construction And Building Toys. Construction and building sets are immensely popular with children especially at younger ages. Wood makes safe and sturdy construction games. The age limit for wood building toys is usually for the very young. Older children prefer the complexity of more advanced building sets that is not possible with handmade woodworking.
10. Rocking Horse. This is a classic item that every child will enjoy. Originally most of these used to be made from wood. Even today wooden rock horses for children are a hot selling toy craft.
11. Rocking Chair. Ironically, this wood craft is popular both with the children and the elderly.
12. See Saw. A classic children’s swing that can be made in all kinds of sizes. The small ones can easily fit into a room. You can rest assured that every child will want to have one in theirs.
We would love to hear from you what is your idea for great wooden children toys. Do write in, specially if you have some memory or experience to share about wooden toys. You can tell us about something that you enjoyed yourself or what you know the children do.