It is not about good toy versus bad toy, but about bringing new consciousness to the quality of toys when you are choosing to buy for a young child. We have pulled together our top 5 reasons why we love wooden toys for our kids.
It might be worth your while to consciously do a stocktake of how many healthy, natural materials exist in your children’s play areas. A lot of plastic toys contain harmful chemicals and substances like BPA and phthalates. Some of them may have lead paint. Especially as little ones do tend to put things in their mouths, these chemicals are best kept to a minimum with young children.
Wood is naturally antibacterial, as studies have shown.
Another safety issue is that plastic toys can break easily and leave sharp, jagged edges. It is not to say wood doesn’t break too, but less often and less likely in a way that would be harmful to children.
- Sensory Experience
Wooden toys can be very soothing and appealing to a child’s sense of touch. It is warm and feels good. Whereas plastic feels kind of cold and almost oily. It doesn’t smell the same.
A young child is going to experience toys as part of discovering the world, with all their senses and that includes putting it in their mouth or smelling it and touching. So, we want to give children an experience that will really gratify their sense of touch.
- Quality of Play
Wooden toys encourage more imaginative play.
Wooden toys tend to be simpler and less formed. They leave more room for a child’s imagination and imaginative play is vitally important in early childhood.
If a toy doesn’t have batteries, if it doesn’t have any bells or whistles and makes no sound, that lets the child make the sounds and imagine what the toy is doing. They make the toy move themselves, rather than sit back and watch a battery-operated toy operate without their interaction.
Hands on play is a very powerful learning tool for young children.
There is a very big difference in the quality of play with wooden toys. In the movie Toy Story 3, there is a scene where all the toys have been donated to a pre-school and wait in fear for free play time, because the children come and just start throwing the toys around. This is fairly common practice for little ones with light plastic toys, but they will play very differently with wooden toys.
Wooden toys tend to be more aesthetically pleasing than plastic toys.
Plato, an ancient Roman philosopher and influencer, was attributed to have said “The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things”.
To gift a child something that not only feels beautiful to touch, but is also visually artful and appealing, will surround them with beauty and encourage a sense of serenity in their play.
Just because they are a child doesn’t mean they will not appreciate how lovely playing with wooden toys can be.
They also look delightful displayed in their bedroom or play areas and can be treasured and passed onto future generations with beautiful memories.
- Eco Friendly
Perhaps the most important reason of all to invest in wooden toys for your children is, without a doubt, that wooden toys are far more eco-friendly than plastic varieties.
Wood is a sustainable material. It is recyclable and biodegradable. There was a study that showed 3 months after Christmas, 41% of toys that were given to children were broken and end up in landfill. This is not only in Australia, but world-wide!
Wooden toys, on the other hand, are quite often heirlooms. They are built to last – not really throw away toys. They will invariably be enjoyed by each sibling, as they are quite often non-gender specific. They will stay in families from one generation to another and they can be very easily revitalised with some creative love and care.