Used Wooden Toys Buying Guide

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Used Wooden Toys Buying Guide

There are few things that seem as natural as the warm feel of wooden toys. Around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, wooden toys come in all shapes and sizes, from farm animals to full kitchen sets for any child to enjoy.

eBay lists an extensive selection of used wooden toys at affordable prices. Amongst their huge range is sure to be a toy any child would treasure. This guide is a quick introduction to some things to consider when embarking on the hunt for used wooden toys.

Classics never die

Unlike numerous electronic pets, soft toys and space robots, wooden toys have been in consistent demand for decades. It's not hard to see why their appeal has endured. Few natural materials are as agreeable to human touch as wood. The simple lines, smooth finishes and plain or bold colours of wooden toys both enliven and soften family living rooms, even if the toys are strewn across it.

At a time when it can seem hard to find a toy that doesn't need batteries and perform a thousand functions, the wonderful simplicity of a wooden toy, and the opportunities it presents for imaginative play have become doubly attractive.

Reasons to Buy Used

Well treated wood will last well beyond a child's infant years, and it's not uncommon for wooden toys to last long enough to be passed down from generation to generation. Used wooden toys can therefore be a great option when buying toys for children for those in search of toys with longevity.

Some environmental pundits credit buying used or second-hand toys as being a more environmentally friendly decision than buying new, citing the reduction in the amount of toys that end up in landfill when toys are recycled. Unlike their plastic counterparts, many wooden toys are biodegradable, reducing their landfill footprint even further.

Used wooden toys can also be an affordable choice when compared with buying new. Many 'used' wooden toys can be found that barely show signs of use at all, and are listed for significantly cheaper than retail prices on eBay. Also available used are rare and vintage items, the sorts of which are no longer in manufacture. These items can be full of character and brilliantly crafted - though as with all toys used and new it's important to safety check them before handing them to a child to play with.

Keep it Safe

When buying anything for children the most important consideration is always safety. If buying a toy: wooden, electronic, soft, new or used, there are a couple of general things to bear in mind to make sure it's suitable for a child.

One of the key risks is small parts - make sure all small details of the toy, including mechanisms, are very firmly attached. Any small part which becomes detached by the wily fingers of an insistent infant could present a choking risk if, as babies are wont to do, the small part is put in their mouths.

For wooden toys, new or used, buyers should make sure that all surfaces are sanded smooth and unlikely to splinter when played with. Similarly, all edges should be sanded off so that no sharp edges which could injure a child if stumbled into, or might crack off under force remain.

Ensure as far as you can that none of the varnishes, stains or sealants used on the wooden toy are toxic. All toys are susceptible to being on the receiving end of a good chew, so it's important to make sure whatever it is being gnawed isn't dangerous.

Similarly, in order to avoid toxic chemicals, some manufacturers of wooden toys use oils such as walnut and almond to seal the toy. These oils generally enhance the natural beauty of the wood and smell delicious, but can be a problem for anyone with severe allergies to nuts.

Finally, one thing to look out for when buying toys is the 'CE' mark. Though it does not guarantee safety, it is a declaration by any importer or manufacturer that they've judged the toy to be safe for play in accordance to the EU's essential safety requirements for toys, so it can be a useful first step in gauging a toys suitability. Remember though always perform your own suitability checks before giving a toy to an infant.

Types of Used Wooden Toys

Wooden toys come in all shapes and sizes. Popular wooden toys include:

  • building blocks
  • pull-along toys
  • castle sets
  • kitchen sets
  • board games such as chess or draughts
  • farmyard sets
  • ride on tricycles, trains, cars and so on
  • jigsaws puzzles
  • teething rings
  • doll cradles

Match the Toy to the Child’s Age

When choosing a used wooden toy suitable for a child it can be useful to consider the child's age. As they grow, children's abilities develop and different faculties emerge. Toys that allow them to experiment and challenge themselves can help them develop these abilities.

Children who've only just learnt to walk will certainly appreciate toys allowing them to play with the new concept such as pull-along toys, whilst infants who've just learnt to grab and grasp may appreciate wooden toys which encourage tactile play.

Secondly, consider to what degree the child may enjoy a passive or an active toy. Passive toys are those with which the child is primarily a spectator, active toys are toys which are activated only through play. Wooden toys usually fall further towards the 'active' end of the toy spectrum, often being simpler and less prescriptive in the possibilities with which they can be played with. It's useful to think about which toys may provide the most fun for a child for the longest amount of time as they grow.

Different Types of Wood

Just as the types of toys made from wood come in all shapes and sizes, there are many different kinds of woods from which toys are produced.

Typically, more affordable wooden toys are made from softwoods, which are easy to carve and plentiful in supply. One of the most common softwoods is white pine, a buttery wood with an attractive thin brown grain to it.

Hardwoods last longer, but are harder to work with and often dramatically more expensive due to the amount of time it takes for hardwood trees to grow. This means there is less of the wood around, driving up its price.

When buying used wooden toys, it's useful to consider that hardwoods can be more resilient. Vintage wooden toys made from hardwood can last a very long time, and due to this, combined with their original cost, they can often command a decent price.

Softwood toys on the other hand, due to the softer nature of the wood, can be susceptible to blemishes such as teething bites etc - useful to bear in mind when buying used. Check the item's pictures thoroughly, and if buyers have got any questions they can get in touch with the seller by clicking the "Ask seller a question" button on their profile.

How to Buy Used Wooden Toys on eBay

Now that you've worked out which used wooden toys you want, find them quickly on eBay. To start shopping, go to the Toys & Games category. Click the Wooden Toys portal.

Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links to shop for Kids or Collectors & Hobbyists, and the ability to refine your search by Brands including Brio, Early Learning Centre ,Chad Valley, Fisher Price, Mothercare and Marks & Spencer. As you refine your search you'll be able to narrow down your choice by subcategory.

Product Finder: Use the Wooden Toys Finder to quickly narrow down item listings by type of Sub-Type, Brand, Character Family, Age Level, Gender, Condition (new/used), Price and Item Location.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try browsing eBay Stores or tell the eBay Community what you’re looking for by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a matching item becomes available.

Buy Wooden Toys with Confidence

Make sure that you know exactly what you’re buying and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know the Item

Read the details in the item listing carefully.

Remember to add delivery costs to the final price. If buying a high value item, check that the seller will insure it until it is delivered to you.

For more information, click the “Ask seller a question” button on the seller’s profile or the “Ask a question” link at the bottom of the item listing page.

Always complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy it Now or Best Offer) otherwise you will not be covered by eBay Buyer Protection.

Never pay for an eBay item using an instant cash wire transfer service like Western Union or MoneyGram. These are not safe ways of paying someone you do not know.

Know the Seller

Research the seller to safe and positive about every transaction.

  • What is the seller’s Feedback rating? 
  • How many transactions have they completed?
  • How many positive responses do they have?
  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? 
  • Are they positive about the seller?

Most top eBay sellers operate like retail shops and have a returns policy.

  • Do they offer a money-back guarantee? 
  • What are their terms and conditions?

Buyer Protection

In the very unlikely event that you do not receive your item or it is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection covers your purchase price plus original delivery cost.


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