Dragging a small toy car across a mat making ‘vroom vroom’ noises is a classic image of a child at play. As infants and for a few lucky adults too, the world surrounding us holds us in tremendous fascination. The bizarre contraptions created by humans enchant many a youngster, and chief amongst our twenty-first century creations are cars.
It is estimated that there are over a billion cars in the world. That's a lot of wheels. And no doubt the figure would be much multiplied if it took into account the legions of toy vehicles keen youngsters and collectors alike value so much.
This eBay guide will take potential buyers through some key considerations to make when purchasing a wooden toy car.
Wood it Is
When it comes to toys, there are not many things as satisfying as natural materials.
At a time when the technological sophistication of many objects around us is going through the roof, it's of little surprise that many parents are looking in the opposite direction and rediscovering the simple pleasures wooden toys can bring.
Advocates of these classic toys seem to be onto something - there's a wealth of advantages to buying toys made from wood in comparison with other toy types.
As one of the earth's most plentiful resources, wood is used to make all manner of things that we daily take for granted. It can be easy to forget that many of the objects used to be trees. But despite its ubiquity, wood is not an infinite resource.
For those with environmental concerns, buying toys made from wood can be a green decision, but it's important to check that the wood was sourced from responsible forests and not part of destructive logging practices. Various certifications that declare wood to have come from green sources exist, just look out for marks like the Rainforest Alliance Certification.
Wood has an advantage over plastic in that despite being highly durable, wood can also biodegrade. This is an ecological advantage over the landfill headaches plastic toys made from hydrocarbons can present. It's also possible to repair wooden toys, helping them last longer and thereby reduce waste.
Three Cheers for Simplicity
Children don't need much to stimulate their developing physical abilities and young imaginations.
- The simplicity of wooden toys is ideal for growing infants.
- A child's faculties are in constant flux in their early years.
- Finding toys to match up with emerging abilities can provide great enjoyment for them.
- It's typical for the ability to pull and grasp to develop over a child's first year.
From this point on dragging objects around - as well as a good measure of general bashing about - becomes a staple of play. With their wheels which encourage dragging, wooden toy cars can provide great enjoyment and help develop motor skills. Their simplicity also means that cars can be played with in a great number of contexts.
When buying anything that's going to be played with by a child, safety should be of primary concern.
Wooden toy cars encourage:
- being moved around
- playing with motion
It's very important therefore that they're durable enough to withstand a good play session without being smashed to bits. Durability is important, so check out from photos if the toy looks like it'll be up to withstanding the persistent and earnest attention of a young child. If necessary, consider asking the seller for close-ups or photos from different angles.
For modern toys, standards exist to help ensure they're safe to be played with by children. Different regions have different certifications, but within the EU, it's the 'CE' mark is what to look out for. The 'CE' mark is not a guarantee of safety but rather an indication that the manufacturer or importer of the toy has judged it to be safe in accordance with the Toy Safety Regulations of 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
Only once these stringent conditions are met does the toy become eligible for the CE mark - which should then be permanently displayed somewhere on the toy; with wooden cars this is most typically on the underside.
It's key to take safety considerations into account before giving a toy to a child to play, especially if they're to be left to play with it unsupervised. Always use proper judgement to check the suitability of a toy for a child, and if in doubt, consult with a professional.
eBay also make it very easy to get any questions buyers may have about an item resolved. To do this, simply go to the profile of the seller of the item in question and click the "Ask seller a question" button.
Of course not every wooden toy car is going to have to withstand being bashed around - many collectors buy rare and vintage wooden toy cars from eBay's listings.
There's a great array of choice, from collectible wooden cars nearly as old as the Model T itself right up to sleek replica versions of today's racing machines. Many collectors also find enjoyment in restoring old collectable wooden cars that may be looking a little worse for wear to their former glories. If there's a toy you've your heart set on, but don't have much in the way of DIY knowledge or may not need another project to add to the to-do list, local carpenters or craftspeople can usually help to restore a toy for you.
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.