Mentari Wooden Toys for Toddler

By | 20/08/2016

wooden toys for toddler

Thank you to Tender Leaf Toys for partnering with me for this post. It is a review of Mentari wooden toys for toddler. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

The Importance of Play

We all know toddlers’ job is to play, play and more play, it is the nature and need of the children development. (To understand your toddler more, you can find out who they are here.) It is so important to include playtime in their toddlerhood, but have you ever thought about what they are playing with?

Roland Barthes, a French literary theorist, philosopher and critic who described plastic and metal as “graceless” and “chemical.” On the other hand, characterized wood “is a familiar and poetic substance, which does not sever the child from close contact with the tree, the table, the floor. Wood does not wound or break down; it does not shatter, it wears out, it can last a long time.” Okay, let’s be frank, though I am not that strict about banning plastic toys (some of them are great fun, oops Barthes!); deep inside my heart, I am a big fan of natural wooden toys. Being a mom who supports Waldorf education concept and cares much about my child’s wholesomeness, I know well, natural wooden toys are far better than any plastic toy materials. If I were to be given a choice to select only one kind of toys to stay in my household, I would choose the natural wooden toys.

What is So Amazing about the Natural Wooden Toys?

Here come the answers! First of all, the natural wooden toys do not contain high levels of chemicals and toxins; they are safer and more environmentally friendly. Not only known as the “green toys”, they are called the educational wooden toys for toddlers to promote open-ended play. It opens the child’s boundless imagination and creativity to create endless possibilities. Thus, it makes sense when the toddler does not feel bored playing the educational wooden toys. Why? The toys are not thinking for him (serving a fixed purpose of play), but he himself. The child is the creator, he can learn to build, socialize in the imaginative play and develop cognitive skills that he will carry throughout the rest of his life. Besides, an interesting point is that holding or touching something made of natural material such as wood has positive effects on humans. You will find that your toddler stays calmer in an environment with the natural wooden toys than in a room with blinking lights, loud sounds, battery-operated plastic toys.

Why Choose Mentari, Tender Leaf Toys?

the educational wooden toys

I believe it would be wise to know the company and its concept before buying any products. Tender Leaf Toys is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Mentari (means “The Sun” in English), a distinguished wooden toy company in Indonesia that has specialized in designing and developing the educational wooden toys for over 25 years. I think Tender Leaf Toys has chosen the right manufacturer in this industry as Indonesia is a tropical country and has plentiful of rich forest. Therefore, Mentari can produce their toys from several different high quality wood sources, including natural rubber wood harvested from (SVLK- Timber Legality Assurance System) certified timber. In fact, I like the concept that they replant a tree for each tree used for production. This helps to preserve an unharmed natural forest and protect the child’s future. Moreover, Mentari is the only manufacturer where production is centralized and never outsourced. Based on this, you can trust that each production channel adheres to the most stringent quality standards and detailed craftsmanship. Every step of the production process – from wood cutting, drying, polishing, down to fine detailed painting (non toxic) of each product – is closely monitored to ensure the highest standard of quality.

The First Impression

the educational wooden toys

So, Tender Leaf Toys sent play market (two different sets) and mini workbench for my three-year-old-plus toddler, Jaeden. The first impression of receiving the parcel was beyond satisfaction. I normally judge a company’s sincerity and customer care based on the way the company handles the packaging and international shipping. The parcel was shipped fast and I was provided the tracking number. It arrived at my doorsteps within a week. What pleased me – it was professionally packed with bubble wraps, recycled materials and used soy ink for printing, the wooden toys were protected well. Jaeden was overjoyed looking at the attractive boxes of his new wooden toys and rushed me to open them for him.

My Views on Play Market

Educational wooden toys -play market

Let’s learn to cut the foods!


wooden toys for toddler

See, I can cut the tomato! Oops! Did I just cut my finger?

I received two sets of this theme, play market – cutting food set and play market – cutting fruit and vegetable set. The first is a wooden storage box filled with five different foods for your child to explore and cut. This includes a cutting board (cover of the box), wooden knife, lemon, eggplant, mushroom and zucchini. The latter is the same box filled with five colorful fruits and vegetables. This includes a cutting board, wooden knife, cucumber, carrot, mushroom, strawberry and tomato. Both of these sets use the concept of cutting through the Velcro, listening to the “Crunch” sound when sliced and attaching back together with the Velcro. Tender Leaf Toys are called the educational wooden toys as they encourage role playing, imagination, fine motor skills and introduce the concepts of wholes, halves, fractions and names of the foods, fruits and vegetables.

 The results were instant, Jaeden used the wooden knife to cut all the foods, fruits and vegetables into halves and portions. He imitated to play cooking like how I cooked in the kitchen. I reminded him that he had to use the cutting board, “oh, cutting board,” and so he has learned a living skill – “when I cut something in the kitchen, I must use a cutting board”. He started to cook, add flavor, make the sound effects himself, then told me that the food was ready. He served the food using the storage boxes (pretended as bowls?), added a spoon for each.

“Mommy, be careful, it is hot!”

“Let’s have some fruits,”

“Here, vegetable…vegetable is good,”

“If I take vegetable, I won’t have problem to poop,”

“I can become big, strong and tall like Iron Man!”

Jaeden even made a picnic-style lunch and prepared the setting (mat, pillows to sit, plates, etc.) to invite me to have lunch with him the next day, using the play market sets. SEE, the imaginative and creative play using real-life context. Every child has that. They just need the right toys.

Apart from the top-notch wooden quality, only one tiny thing that I am concerned with, the Velcro may not last long due to the frequency of slicing and attaching back the half together. Mentari might want to find a way to ensure the durability of the Velcro concept. But if the Velcro ever comes off, we can always glue it back without any big issue.

My Views on Mini Workbench

the educational wooden toys

I’m the little builder: ready, steady, build!

What first attracted me to this mini workbench were the bright colors. The workbench has every tool your little builder needs to construct his creation. It comes with a drill machine, affixed circular saw, hammer, wrench, screwdriver, nuts and bolts, and a storage shelf for tools and supplies. My husband helped to assemble the workbench for Jaeden using a driller and the diagram attached. The assembly instruction is clear and easy to follow, so Jaeden helped his Dad while learning what to get for him. He was involved in assembling the workbench. After setting up, I was blown away by how detailed and solid the parts are, what I can tell is great craftsmanship. I especially like the bolts that thread perfectly into the nuts and they can be used to fasten the wooden boards.

Jaeden was thrilled to build something on his workbench. He tried out all the tools and learned the names of each tool like “hammer”, “wrench”, and “screwdriver”, “nuts”… Before this, he knew nothing except the driller. He also made an imaginative play, again.

“Mommy, I send you to school now.” (Reversed situation)

“Are you ready, mommy? I need to get back to work” (Work??? He might be thinking about he has a workstation that he can earn money now, lol.)

So Jaeden pretended to send me to school. Then, he went back to his workbench and “worked”. He tried the drill machine to drill the holes for the wooden boards, making sound effects by himself, again. Then he continued to play with the nuts and bolts, this activity is good to improve fine motor skills and color recognition. For example, screwing the orange bolt into the orange nut. Jaeden also utilized the hammer to knock the bolts into the workbench holes. The knocking sound can be heard. To take out the bolts, he used the screwdriver or the wrench. The size of the design was just fit. Jaeden also learned how to put things back in order when a storage shelf is designed. There is a tool organizer to keep the hammer, wrench and screwdriver as well.

If I were to pick a weakness, it is only about the inconvenience of having to assemble the workbench. However, it just needs basic carpentering skills like drilling and reading diagram. My husband took about 15 minutes to assemble that with Jaeden’s help. It is an awesome workstation for your little builder to learn the names of each tool and how they are used.  This encourages creativity, logic skills, and fine motor skills.

Overall Ratings

Without any bias, honestly I would rate the Play Market Sets 4.8/5.0 and the Mini Workbench 4.9/5.0. All in all, these Mentari wooden toys for toddler are not only qualified as the educational wooden toys but also highly recommended gifts to make the earth a better place for children to live! Go HERE to shop for the Tender Leaf Toys now!






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11 thoughts on “Mentari Wooden Toys for Toddler

  1. Heathguy33

    You child looks so happy playing with those toys. It makes me want to give them a try. After reading this I am sold on buying a few for my little girls. Thank you for this wonderful post. You help me so much with this whole parenting thing.

    Do they only come in wooden form?

    1. Jenna Post author

      Yes, he was so happy indeed! All of their products come in wooden form, the quality and concept deserve a thumbs up. Buying the wooden educational toys is a better choice for your daughters compared to the ordinary ones, you can visit their site to have a look. I am glad that this post helps you and we can walk through learning about parenting together.

  2. Egon Sarv

    In our previous kindergarten they only used wooden toys and I personally think wooden toys are child-friendly. After all, that’s the material right from the nature. However, I am not against plastic toys either. There are things that you cannot make from wood.

    As for Mentari, I thought it’s Malay or Indonesian word, and it is. But as I don’t live in the states then I’ve never seen that brand in the toy-stores. But I belive they are good and enjoyable toys for kids. 🙂

    1. Jenna Post author

      Hi Egon Sarv,

      I do agree with you that wooden toys are child-friendly, it’s good if our children can own some. Yes, Mentari is exclusively distributed by Tender Leaf Toys in the states. True, the toys are great fun! It seems that the company only ships within U.S. and free shipping on orders over $99.

  3. Owain

    I like the simple wooden toys for kids. They just got a classic feel that I like. It’s good to know that they aren’t treated with chemicals and toxins. And they can actually teach your child while they play.

    My daughter has got a similar play market and she loves it. The workbench looks great. How long did it take to set up?

    1. Jenna Post author

      Thanks for commenting on another post again, Owain, it shows that you are concerned about your daughter, great dad! Yeah, I believe the educational wooden toys can really help to teach our children while they play. I think the workbench is great for a little girl too, I watched a girl playing with a workbench on YouTube before. Also, it depends on your daughter’s character. It did not take too long to set up, between 15-20 minutes, easy diagram to refer.

  4. Egon Sarv

    In our previous kindergarten they only used wooden toys and I personally think wooden toys are child-friendly. After all, that’s the material right from the nature. However, I am not against plastic toys either. There are things that you cannot make from wood.

    As for Mentari, I thought it’s Malay or Indonesian word, and it is. But as I don’t live in the states then I’ve never seen that brand in the toy-stores. But I belive they are good and enjoyable toys for kids. 🙂

  5. lifebeginswithyourhealth

    Good article on wooden toys for toddlers, I am all for healthy educational toys for toddlers. I noticed these toys appear to be painted, how healthy is this paint for our toddlers if they put them in their mouth like many toddlers do?

    More people should purchase healthy educational toys for their toddlers, education is so precious and the sooner you start the more you can learn.

    Are all wooden toys for toddlers healthy, are there any brands we should stay away from?

    1. Jenna Post author

      Thank you for reading this article, you aim is definitely right. I think the paint is non toxic as they have exceeded a few strict international safety standards including both EN71 (Europe) and ASTM (U.S.) The products also have the CE mark, that will fulfill the high health, and environmental protection requirements. I am not sure whether all wooden toys for toddlers are healthy as you mentioned the paint may not pass the safety tests. But, normally, before buying any wooden toys, I will first google to read some reviews to know more about the toys and consumers’ opinions to make better decision.

  6. Marlaine

    I LOVE that wooden tool set!! I love that it’s so colorful, so detailed, and so solid!
    I have a little guy who is 19 months – perhaps I should consider something like this for Christmas this year. I think his 3.5 year old sister would totally enjoy it too though… she LOVES being just like Daddy!
    I think wooden toys are fantastic – one of my favorite things about them is that (usually) they aren’t all about a certain Disney or Pixar (or whatever other) brand. I prefer my kids learn to develop their own play than to be forced to play a certain character all the time.
    Great post! They look like great toys. 🙂

    1. Jenna Post author

      Marlaine, I am so happy that you love this post about the wooden tool set, I am not an affiliate yet, but I wish to share how good this natural wooden toys are for children development. I think your little guy and daughter would love that wooden tool set definitely, especially when Daddy is the “idol”. A lot of my other friends are asking about that as well!


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