When kick-starting a local toy library, it's tempting to stock your shelves with trending brands and popular characters. With an increasing demand from parents for eco-friendly, BPA-free toy alternatives, adding a range of wooden toys to your toy library is an excellent way to serve your patrons. To help guide your wooden toy library purchases, check out these four handy tips.

Get what you pay for

You would be forgiven for thinking that all wooden toys are equal in offering eco-friendly, healthy toy options for children. Some inexpensive, mass-produced wooden toys may be made from cheaper wood materials that contain toxic adhesive materials, and the paints the toys are finished with can also contain harmful ingredients. To avoid stocking your toy library with wooden toys that contain toxic or harmful glues and paints, take the time to research the toy manufacturer prior to any purchases. Look for ethical producers who use sustainable wood and safe adhesives and finishes such as vegetable-based paints and glues.

Think outside of the blocks

When we think of wooden toys, it can be hard to think beyond conventional wooden blocks and train sets. Modern wooden toy manufacturers offer a vibrant range of options. Consider purchasing some durable wooden musical instruments such as xylophones, drums and small percussion toys. Wooden kitchen toys and play food are great additions for promoting imaginative play. Puzzles and wooden learning toys are wonderful for supporting early learning, and patrons with a Montessori or Waldorf-focused education style will be very thankful for such additions. Small pull-along toys, wooden vehicles and wooden family figurines are popular additions. If your budget extends far enough, you may want to add some larger ride or push-along toys, however the portability and transport can be an issue for borrowers.

Ensure proper care from the start

Wooden toys need to be cared for if they are to last and remain healthy, appealing additions to your toy library. Take the time to establish good cleaning practices from the very beginning of your toy library's inception. Clean wooden toys thoroughly between each borrowing, using either a mild soap or vinegar solution and a microfibre cloth. For hard-to-reach places and small crevices, consider using a steam cleaner. Avoid any harsh cleaning solutions that may make your eco-friendly toys toxic or blemished. Keep the wood hydrated regularly by applying natural wax or oil. Always consult the manufacturer's cleaning instructions, and store your wooden toys in a cool low-humidity environment for optimal longevity.

Promote the benefits to patrons

To help encourage regular borrowing of the wooden toys in your library, take the time to promote the benefits of wooden toys to your patrons. Share articles on your library's social media page about the benefits of wooden educational toys, create an in-house information pamphlet, or chat with parents informally at children's programs. Sharing the safety and learning advantages with parents is highly recommended for your toy library's success.

For more information and advice on selecting quality wooden toys suitable for your patrons, contact companies that sell wholesale wooden toys.