It sometimes seems that children are keener to be parents than the parents themselves are.
Role playing makes up an essential part of children's learning and playing activities and trussing up the daily dramas of the kitchen is a game kids are often keen to play. One of the best materials for children’s toys is wood and wooden kitchen sets offer great play materials.
A massive selection of wooden kitchen toys, from brand new to well loved, affordably priced to super rare collectibles, is available through eBay. The purpose of this guide is to get buyers started with a few things to consider when beginning their search for wooden kitchen toys.
Three Cheers for Wood
Perhaps it's due to their natural warmth or great looks, perhaps it's something else entirely, whatever the reason, wooden toys have remained a firm favourite and near the top of every parent's toy shopping list since shopping lists for toys began.
In an age of increased complexity in which toys can have an amazing selection of interactive elements, the simplicity of wooden toys presents an attractive alternative.
Often with bright colours and lovely textures, wooden toys can brighten up the whole house, not just the worlds of the children they're designed for.
One key advantage of wooden toys over their plastic counterparts is that they don't rely on fossil fuels in their production. However, establishing ecological credentials is always a complex game, and saying what may be a more "environmentally friendly" decision, is often hard.
A good starting point with wooden objects is to:
- Check that the wood comes from a responsibly grown plantation, and not illegal logging.
- A number of standards for ethical wood exist; look out for marks such as Rainforest Alliance Certification to check.
- It's also possible to make toys from reclaimed wood, and buying second hand is itself a form of recycling.
One final eco advantage of wooden toys is their durability.
Implements in a real kitchen get a fair bit of bashing around and kitchen toys shouldn't expect to be any different. Fortunately wood is often good at soaking up a bit of rough and tumble, making it an ideal material for kitchen sets. It's also fairly easy to maintain, so if any parts do get broken, no doubt you'll know someone with a little wood-working know how who can patch the toy up as good as new for you. Alternatively you can search eBay for a replacement.
Types of Wood
One of the core considerations when buying wooden toys can be what type of wood you'd like the toy to be made from. There are a huge number of varieties of wood each with different properties. The most resilient woods - hardwoods - are often the most expensive but are extremely durable and often, due to their density, heavy.
As wooden kitchen sets often use a fair amount of wood, it's typical for them to be made from softer, lighter woods. Pine and Poplar are common choices, though MDF, a composite made from wood fibres, is commonly used due to its low cost and availability. MDF does not have a natural wood grain and so is most often painted when used in kitchen toys.
One consideration to make with large wooden kitchen sets is assembly. If you've a large space in which the children can play, perhaps leaving a full scale kitchen set up at all times is not a problem. For others with more limited floor space though, being able to pack up the kitchen and other toys quickly and easily will be a key decision when selecting suitable playthings.
Wooden kitchens can be designed with either situation in mind:
- permanent structure or
- easily folded away
Item listings or pictures should make it clear which category the toy falls into, and whether or not:
- it will arrive assembled or
- require extra work
If a buyer is ever in any doubt, they can check with the seller of the item. eBay makes it incredibly easy to get answers to any questions you have; simply go to the seller's profile and click the "Ask seller a question" button.
Just like the real thing, wooden kitchen toys are susceptible to getting a tad mucky during play. It wouldn't be the first time if your child was to mix pretend implements with real food, or vice versa. Many kitchen toys are designed with this in mind and are therefore finished with glossy paints or varnishes which keep the stains off of toys allowing them to be wiped clean easily.
Wooden toys don't need to be painted or varnished to preserve the wood, but having this extra coating helps protect them from swelling with moisture or being permanently stained with dye from fabrics, fruit or anything else they may come into contact with.
Keep it Safe
Some wooden toys become very valuable collectables, and there's a huge selection of toys from this niche available through eBay.
First and foremost though, wooden toys are made to be played with. When buying anything with the intention of giving it to children for play, making sure it's safe for them should always be the key consideration.
Each global region has own safety standards for toys. In Britain it's required that toys satisfy the Essential Safety Requirements of the Toy Safety Regulations 1995. These stipulate:
Physical & Mechanical Properties
Must be sufficiently strong to withstand the stresses to which it would normally be subjected;
Be designed & constructed so that any edges, protrusions, cords, fastenings or moveable parts do not inflict injury;
Toys & component parts intended for use by children under 36 months shall be of such dimension to prevent accidental swallowing or inhalation;
Toys & their packaging must not present a strangulation or suffocation risk;
Toys are to be composed of materials which are not readily flammable and inhibit the spread of flames.
Paint and Protective Coatings
Levels of Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Mercury and Selenium must not exceed specified maximums.
Toys must not have a power source exceeding 24 volts and must be adequately insulated and protected to prevent shock or burns.
All toys must meet hygiene and cleanliness requirements to prevent the risk of infection, sickness & contamination.
Toys must not contain radioactive elements likely to be detrimental to the health of children
When a toy conforms to these Essential Safety Requirements it qualifies for the ‘CE’ mark. The ‘CE’ mark is a symbol that declares the manufacturer or importer has judged the toy to be safe in accordance with the EU's criteria. It's required that any toy being imported or manufactured within the EU has the CE mark displayed clearly on the toy or its packaging. If a toy isn't suited for children younger than 36 months, the labelling must also state that.
With wooden toys it's as important as ever to make sure the toy has no small parts that can be picked off to present a choking hazard. All rough edges and surfaces should also be sanded down to a smooth finish to avoid splinters or edges snapping off and presenting a hazard for young children.
The final decision that a toy is safe to be played with by a child always comes down to the parent carer or guardian, but the CE mark can be a useful first step in establishing that.
How to Buy Wooden Toys on eBay
Now that you've worked out which 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, 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 Your Item
Read the details in the item listing carefully.
Remember to add delivery costs to your final price. If you’re buying a high value item, check that the seller will insure it until it is delivered to you.
If you want 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 your 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 Your Seller
Research your seller so that you feel 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?
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.