Hard vs Soft Wood
There are many types of wood, and they differ in many ways. Hard wood is hard because it is denser. Density makes wood stronger, more durable, and less prone to breaking and denting. Some wooden objects would never dent by bumping into other wooden objects or by falling on the floor.
It takes much more time and effort to work with harder materials, but we have chosen to use hard beech wood to carve our small world play figurines. As it is very strong, this type of wood is extensively used to make tools, furniture, cutting boards, toy blocks, etc.
Beech gives us the opportunity to create smooth organic shapes, and it also takes and holds colors well, allowing for very thin layers of paint that let the natural wood pattern transpire (we do not want our wooden toys to look like plastic toys).
We use hard beech wood because we would like our figurines to retain their beauty and functionality for years to come.
Heavy vs Light Toys
As it is denser, hard wood is heavier, so toys made of hard wood weigh more than toys of the same size made of softer wood or plastic. In fact, plastic toys of the same size weigh even less because usually they are not solid but hollow inside. Why would weight matter at all?
Playing with heavier toys helps children feel their movements, so they develop not only muscle strength and but also better fine motor skills. Children using such toys are more aware of what they are doing and thus learn how to control their movements better.
Last but not least, children feel heavier toys made of natural materials as more real, so they spontaneously treat them with more respect and care. Besides, children can be taught that wooden toys are special, that gifting such toys is a sign of trusting children that they will use these objects in a more mature and responsible way. This makes children feel special and respected themselves.