Why are Wooden Toys so Special?
We are almost a quarter into the twenty-first century and already three generations on from when the first video games began to show up in homes around the world. It’s also already been some time since plastic began its conquest to overtake other materials used to make toys during our parents' or grandparents' childhoods. Traditional wooden toys should be just a memory of the far-away past, yet still if you have a look at recent lists of best-selling toys you will find that amongst the usual toys like Barbie and Marvel superheroes, there is most of the time a simple wooden train made of stackable blocks. There's a good chance you have one in your home too! It's one of the most popular wooden toys out there but for sure it’s not the only one around. More and more parents, myself included, are choosing to return to wooden toys – the organic & safe alternative to the shiny plastic and flashing digital toys that many of us grew up with. And here is why…
Good for the Body
Wooden toys are a better alternative for your little one. You may already have heard about BPA and PVC which are two chemicals commonly found in plastics. Both are used to soften plastics and both have been proved to be hazardous to babies and children apart from the negative environmental consequences associated with their production and disposal. Studies have linked both chemicals to harmful changes in hormone levels in children and more research is needed to understand more the physiological consequences of a childhood surrounded by these harmful chemicals. Wooden toys have no BPA or PVC and thus make the sensible choice for conscious parents who are concerned about the chemicals their children are exposed to and want to put their children’s safety as their priority.
Good for the Mind
It's difficult for plain wooden toys to compete with noisy and flashing toys but that's the whole point. Wooden toys move away from just ‘pressing the button’ option and instead promote free-play which is open-ended, encouraging children to use their own imagination and creativity to create new and different ways to play with the same toy. Wooden toys promote the development of children’s gross and fine motor skills, language skills, problem-solving skills and crucial early social skills. You won’t find any instruction manual with wooden toys and that’s great! There is no limit to the children’s imagination!
Good for the World
You might be questioning, how many trees are cut down to make a wooden toy? The good news is that nowadays nearly every major wooden toy manufacturer uses renewable FSC-certified wood sources for their production process. Many specifically use wood from rubberwood or bamboo trees. Rubberwood produces latex for around 25 years, after which plantations are typically burnt down and replanted. By diverting this "waste" wood to their production lines, many manufacturers are making use of a wood source that would otherwise be discarded. Other manufacturers opt to use bamboo which is a fast-growing grass that produces a durable, safe, lightweight type of wood ideal for making toys. Wooden toys are the eco-friendly choice for parents because they have a longer durability than plastic ones and even if at one point they end up in a landfill, they would decompose after a number of years unlike other plastic toys which would not.