The 9 Best Wooden Baby Toys of 2019

These playtime alternatives stand out in a sea of plastic

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

First Look

Best Overall: Manhattan Toy Natural Rattle and Teether at Amazon

"Easy for little fingers to grasp, promoting fine motor skills."

Best Budget: Melissa & Doug ABC Wooden Block Cart at Amazon

"Comes with 30 blocks, each featuring letters and numbers."

Best STEM: Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker Classic Toy at Amazon

"Comes with seven brightly colored rings and a round red ball."

Best Musical: Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Xylophone at Walmart

"Creating music teaches them cause-and-effect."

Best Gross Motor: Finn+Emma Play Gym at Amazon

"It’s simple in design, but mesmerizing for kids."

Best Fine Motor: Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze at Amazon

"The18 beads come in a variety of shapes and colors."

Best Pretend Play: Natural Wooden Baby Teether Toys Set at Amazon

"Made of untreated beechwood, which is naturally antibacterial."

Best Building: Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set at Amazon

"They work with other Tegu block sets for even more possibilities."

Best Sensory: Plan Toys Tumbling Toy at Crate and Barrel

"They wobble, roll, and lend themselves to creative sensory play."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy

Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle

 Courtesy of Amazon

While it looks a lot like a scientific model of atoms and protons, this quirky looking little toy from Manhattan Toy is a fun time. A long-standing favorite of parents and children alike, the beads and dowels are made of solid wood and slide up and down the bands to make rattling sounds. It’s easy for little fingers to grasp and promotes important fine motor skills. It also works as a safe teether for sore little gums. 

Looking for more ideas? Read our article on the best baby teethers.

Best Budget: Melissa & Doug Classic ABC Wooden Block Cart

These classic wooden blocks from Melissa & Doug are great for curious little learners. The set comes with 30 blocks, each featuring letters of the alphabet, numbers, and cute illustrations. They all fit neatly into a wheeled wooden box that can be pulled along with a string for on-the-go building.

The blocks are about 1.25 inches across, making them the perfect size for little fingers. Kids can use them stack, build, and develop early reading skills as they learn to identify letters and even start spelling words with time.

Best STEM: Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker Classic Toy

It’s never too early for kids to start building important STEM skills. This rainbow stacker from Melissa & Doug is a fun way to begin. Little ones can sort, stack, and get creative. The set comes with seven brightly-colored rings in various sizes and a round red ball that fits neatly on top of the pole, which is secured in a wooden base. 

It’s recommended for ages 18 months up, so it’s best for older babies, but parents say kids get years of use out of it. Some note that it’s smaller than expected, but most say it’s well-made, fun, and a great alternative to plastic stacking rings.

Take a peek at our roundup of the best toys for 18-month-old boys.

Best Musical: Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone

Hape Pound and Tap Bench

Courtesy of Walmart 

This bright wooden xylophone from Hape puts a fun twist on playtime. Little ones can use the mallet to pound three colorful balls down through the holes where they land on the sloped xylophone for a musical ride down, or they can play the keys the traditional way. As they have fun creating music, they’re also building important fine motor skills, learning about cause-and-effect, and so much more. 

Best Gross Motor: Finn & Emma Play Gym

To get kids reaching and moving, there’s this play gym from Finn+Emma. It’s simple in design but mesmerizing for kids. The frame is made of pure birch wood, and its height can be adjusted as they grow and change.

From the frame hang two sweet plush hand-knit animals as well as two wooden toys, all of which are removable for even more playing options. The materials in all of the pieces are safe and free from harmful chemicals including lead, phthalate, nickel, mercury, and more. It measures 19 x 24 inches and weighs just about 4 pounds, so it’s easy to tote from room to room.

Need more options? Check out our reviews of the best baby play mats.

Best Fine Motor: Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze

To help little fingers start grasping, pinching, and building those fine motor muscles, there’s this fun bead maze from Melissa & Doug. The18 beads come in a variety of shapes and colors, and they all slide and spin as little ones move them along the maze, which is made of soft-coated wire. 

Overall, parents give this toy high marks. Some note that the suction cups don’t stick very well to surfaces, such as a high chair tray, but most say it’s a well-made toy that little ones love.

Best Pretend Play: Natural Wooden Baby Teether Toys

Sweet and simple, this set of wooden forest animal toys stand out in a sea of plastic. Made of untreated beechwood, which is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, they can act as teethers but also lend themselves well to tons of pretend play. There's a bird, an elephant, an owl, and a little fawn, and they’re the perfect size to take along in the diaper bag and pull out for play on the go. 

Best Building: 24 Piece Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set, Tints

For tons of building fun, there are these magnetic wooden blocks from Tegu. Little creations get the extra support of magnets to keep them in place and take them to fun, new heights. They work with other Tegu block sets as well for even more building possibilities. Recommended for kids ages 12 months and older, kids of all ages love these blocks. They present opportunities for open-ended play with no need for batteries or electricity.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best educational toys for 2-year-olds.

Best Sensory: Plan Toys Pastel Sensory Tumbling Toy

Plan Toys Pastel Sensory Tumbling Toy

Courtesy of Crate and Barrel

Stimulate their senses with these sweet tumbling toys from Crate&kids. Three balls come in a set—a yellow one with a mirror, a blue one with a rattle, and a red one with a cotton filling. They wobble, roll, and lend themselves to all sorts of fun, creative, sensory play. Made of rubberwood, acrylic, and cotton fiber, they’re completely safe, and the only cleaning they need is occasional dusting with a soft cloth.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular wooden baby toys on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered more than 20 different wooden baby toys overall, screened options from 20 different brands and manufacturers, read over 150 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 3 of the wooden baby toys themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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