When it comes to wooden toys, it is fairly well known that if made well, they are durable and can be kept in the family for generations. What you may not know is that with a little maintenance and care along the way, you can ensure your beautiful keepsakes will easily stand the test of time.
So we have put together a step by step care guide to give you all the knowledge you need but to also provide a reference for you which you can easily refer back to at anytime.
Now, when purchasing a wooden toy, whether it be from us or from any other reputable store, it's important to know what you want that toy for and also have a rough idea of how much you're wanting to spend. For example, are you looking for something durable and affordable or something a little more special that you can display on their shelf and pass onto them when they have their own children?
Toys that are made for everyday use and play will usually require a little more maintenance than the keepsake toys that are mostly sitting safely on their shelf.
Wooden toys that are made from raw wood like our Bartu range don't have any oils or finishes and therefore the wood will behave a little differently to those with wax or oil finishes. You may notice they have a little friction in some areas (usually where the wheels spin) which means they can be a little noisy (squeaky) when played with. This is not a fault and is easily rectified by adding a little oil carefully in the right spot. You can use a dropper or syringe to give you better access to the area where it's needed and 1 to 2 drops will do the trick! You will also find the wheels will spin a little easier once applied and this can be done over time as needed.
Now you may be wondering what makes a toy durable? Well it basically comes down to the type of wood used and whether there are several different parts or pieces involved or if it's made using mostly one piece of wood (eg. Our Pislik Toys). Toys that have several different pieces that are glued together are not designed to survive being thrown or dropped onto a hard surface. The glue used will only withstand a certain amount of pressure before it gives. The good news is, in the majority of cases you can easily glue the piece or pieces back on and continue playing with the toy for many years to come.
In comparison, toys that are made using mostly a single piece of wood are very durable and can withstand some of the toughest toddler tests. It's for this reason that (generally speaking) toys made from several different pieces of wood are more suitable for older children and toys made from one piece of wood are more suited to younger children.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you have lost a piece off a toy and the toy itself is still in working condition then there are a few simple steps that you can take to re-attach the missing piece which are as follows:
1. Using a fine grade sand paper, gently sand the area where the piece came off to remove any old glue that may have been left behind.
2. Wipe away any residue with a dry cloth so that you're left with a clean dry surface.
3. Using a good quality wood glue (available in any craft store or hardware store), add a small amount to both the toy and the loose piece, making sure it's evenly spread over the entire area and then leave it for approximately 1 to 2 minutes to allow it to become sticky/tacky.
4. Carefully take the loose piece and stick it back into place, applying a small amount of pressure. Gently wipe away any excess glue with a dry cloth or tissue.
5. Leave the toy in a safe place (out of reach of small hands!) for 24 to 48hrs to allow it to dry completely before playing with it again.
In terms of wooden toys that have no finish (eg. oil or wax), this is mainly for the purpose of allowing you and your child to paint and create with them, which adds to the playtime experience. You can apply natural oils such as linseed oil or beeswax yourself which can help protect the wood from the elements, so if you think that the toy may end up outside on a regular basis then it's a good idea to consider applying one of these. They will also help to rejuvenate the wood over time as it ages.
To make this process a little easier for our customers, we've put together a 'Care and Maintenance Kit' which can be purchased from our store which includes, natural beeswax, quality wood glue, two grades of sandpaper and oil. It has everything you'll need to care for, and extend the life of your wooden treasures.
[It's important to remember to check your children's toys prior to play to ensure there are no loose parts or missing pieces that could pose as a potential choking hazard, especially if younger children have access to the same toys.]
For some people it may seem a little daunting or inconvenient when dealing with a wooden toy that is in need of repair so it's a good idea to be aware of this when making your purchase and understand the benefits. One of the many reasons why we love wooden toys is because they are repairable and timeless. It's no secret that we are living in a world that's literally suffocating in plastic and unfortunately there are still thousands of plastic toys on the market that are purchased by thousands of people everyday. When a plastic toy is broken, there is no way of repairing it. It will be thrown away and it will end up in landfill where it will stay. By purchasing wooden toys for your child, not only are you keeping them safe from harmful chemicals and toxins, you are saving the environment from even more plastic waste. Another benefit which can be easily overlooked, is the lesson it teaches our children. It helps them understand that if something breaks, we don't have to throw it away. It teaches them special skills and how they can repair things themselves and helps us connect with them while doing so.
So there you have it! Everything you need to know about caring for wooden toys. Did you find this helpful? Still have some unanswered questions? We're here to help! Please contact us anytime - firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we will happily assist you.
Image by: @tarynnwalkerphotography