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Celebrating China at Home with Wooden Toys for Toddlers

My kids are half Chinese. Because of that, I’m always on the hunt for ways to incorporate learning about China into play time. We read a lot of books about Chinese culture. My kids eat a LOT of Chinese food and my preschooler practices using his training chopsticks.

We watch shows like Little Einsteins and Justin Time that travel to China. Both my kids play with toys that speak Mandarin. We also have a really cool China Village Playset that my kids adore.

But the toy that has captivated my preschooler’s attention lately is the Panda Village Block Set by Lakeshore. It’s an Eco-friendly bamboo block building toy. We love wooden toys for toddlers and preschoolers. Contains affiliate links.

Benefits of Bamboo Block Toys

My kids love technology. They are dazzled by flashing lights, toys that dance, and the magic of my iPhone.

Wooden toys for toddlers like this are durable and can last much longer than plastic toys.
Bamboo toys like this are durable and can last much longer than plastic toys. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

However, I notice that they are intensely interested for a short time and then they get overstimulated and need a break. For parents hoping to get a few minutes to themselves while kids play, this is quite frustrating.

But, when I present wooden toys to my kids, they play with them for a lot longer. My preschooler usually likes to set up a scene and then show me what he’s created.

I love that wooden toys for toddlers foster creativity because he stays interested in them month after month. These toys also encourage kids to problem solve.

Now that I’ve been accumulating toys for four years, I’ve also started thinking more about their longevity.

I find myself keeping the wooden toys my kids have outgrown to give to friends, but donating the plastic ones.

It’s because the wooden and bamboo toys are much more durable than plastic and they last longer and still look new. They are timeless. I like that they don’t go to the landfill like so many toys that last a month and then break.

Out of all wooden toys, bamboo is the most Eco-friendly. Bamboo is a giant natural grass that can grow to over 100 feet. And once it’s cut, bamboo grows back completely in just three years. It can grow as fast as one foot per day!

That means bamboo has economical and ecological values to the world. Plus, it’s lightweight and perfect for little hands!

Panda Village Block Set by Lakeshore

Ok, so here’s the toy my preschooler can’t stop playing with. This Panda Village Block Set is geared for kids ages 3-7. It contains nine vinyl pandas and 42 building pieces made of 100% bamboo.

The bamboo block columns come in two different sizes. There are platforms, bridges and roofs. And the pandas come in two sizes.

Panda Village eco-friendly bamboo blocks from Lakeshore are amazing woodent toys for toddlers and preschoolers.
Lakeshore’s Panda Village Block Set features eco-friendly blocks made of real bamboo! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We think this bamboo block set work best on a hard surface. It would be perfect on hardwood floors, rubber mats or on a table. My son got a bit frustrated when he tried to build on our ottoman and the carpet because the blocks kept toppling over.

At first, he wanted to build his village exactly like the one on the box. Once he accomplished that, he let his mind create a new village.

One of the villages was a super high tower with lots of levels. Another featured lots of bridges and was quite flat. Sometimes the roofs were used as play structures for the pandas.

Panda Village bamboo block set by Lakeshore are amazing wooden toys for toddlers.
The bamboo blocks are perfect for small hands. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

For our family, the Panda Village Block Set is a great way for us to talk about China. My husband was able to visit a panda sanctuary in Chengdu and hold a panda. He’s been able to answer a lot of my son’s questions about what they smell like and if they are cuddly like his stuffed animals.

While I’ve also seen pandas in China, I like to read stories about pandas to my son while he’s playing with this bamboo block play set.

Some of our favorites are Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas, Little Panda, Panda Pants, and Grandma Panda’s China Storybook: Legends, Traditions and Fun. Sometimes these stories get woven into his play and other times he uses them as creative prompts.

Pay It Forward

My son loves this toy so much that we are donating it to his preschool so his friends can also play with it. His teachers are always on the lookout for wooden toys for their classroom because they teach kids spacial awareness.

Lakeshore's Panda Village uses eco-friendly bamboo blocks and it's one of the best wooden toys for toddlers.
My preschooler was simply giddy while he created his ideal Panda Village. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

It’s a great way for our family to give back and help support education. It would also be a great addition to any Kindergarten classroom.

Bamboo Block SetIf you have more than one child or are donating to a school, I’d recommend also buying the Lakeshore Bamboo Building Blocks – 42-Piece Set as an expansion pack. It gives kids more options when creating their bamboo block village. And it encourages teamwork!

Lakeshore provided me product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

More Educational Toys for Toddlers

Pretend You’re in China with World Village Playsets
Lakeshore Products That Inspire Cultural Conversations
Paris-Themed Holiday Gift Guide for Children
Baby + Toddler Travel Books to Inspire Wanderlust
Take a Toddler’s Tour of San Francisco, Paris, New York and London with My Little Cities!

Panda Village Bamboo Block Set by Lakeshore are amazing wooden toys for toddlers. | Panda Village Block Set - the Best Wooden Toys for Toddlers featured by top Seattle mommy blog, Marcie in MommylandWooden toys for toddlers and preschoolers


Marcie writes the family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. When she's not traveling the world, she's home in Seattle with her husband and two little boys.


  1. This looks like a toy that my son would love too. He’s into building blocks. I love how they have to use the bamboo to balance the pieces.

    • marciecheung Reply

      It’s such a fun toy! He has to be a lot more careful with this set than his regular blocks, which makes it more fun for him.

      • Hi Marcia & all,
        I’m a new Grammy, and my granddaughter is turning 1 . Even though I spent most of my career teaching early childhood dev. for college, I would appreciate your advice. Pandas are a theme in the house. I know it says ages 3-7, but I’m afraid by the time she is 3 , this won’t be around. I know of Lakeshore’s quality, but would any of this be unsafe for a little one, or would it be considered rude to get a toy to have to hold onto for a few years? Thanks!

        • This is such a great question! Personally, we received quite a few gifts for kids ages 3+ when our oldest was 1yo. We just put them in our closet until he was old enough to play with them. We used our judgement and brought things out before he turned 3yo. If your granddaughter tends to put things in her mouth, it might be unsafe if she tried to eat a panda. Otherwise, the rest of the pieces are large enough not to be choking hazards. However, it’s a building set and she probably won’t have the gross motor skills to really use it until she’s 2yo. I know my 2yo loves building and he might have gotten frustrated with this at 1yo. I’d probably get it now (it’s seriously so cool!) and either hold off giving it until next year or let the parents know it’s for later in the year. Congrats on being a new Grammy!

  2. Those are really beautiful and unique! What a fun way to build some world studies into play time!

    • marciecheung Reply

      My son is almost 4 years old and he’s just now patience enough for blocks like these.

    • marciecheung Reply

      It’s definitely durable and the perfect size for smaller hands.

  3. This is such a captivating building toy. I love that it is made from bamboo. The pandas and the shape and textures of the pieces are a refreshing change from plastic blocks.

    • marciecheung Reply

      My son has had a lot more fun with this set than plastic blocks, for sure.

  4. How cute! I love toys that encourage kids to imagine and pretend, a nice break from the constant screens!

  5. Oh my gosh, my 3 year old niece would go nuts for this play set. She is so getting it for Christmas. I love that it is eco friendly bamboo too!!

    • marciecheung Reply

      We just brought it to preschool and it was a HUGE hit!

    • marciecheung Reply

      I know, right? I’ve enjoyed playing with it almost as much as my son!

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