The Many Advantages of Wooden Toys
Many toy stores sell toys predominantly made from plastic with considering toy safety.
They are considered bestselling because as a product they are cheap to manufacture and come in all shapes and forms. Let’s face it, plastic does provide a lot of design possibilities but is it best for toy safety?
However, if we look back to which toys we remember most from our own childhood memories, most of us will recall having a particular wooden toy among our favourite toys. Don’t you agree?
And which toys have an extensive history that goes back for centuries? Wooden toys, tin toys, paper toys… But for now, let’s have a specific look at the known advantages of wooden toys.
The strength of wooden toys lies in their simplicity
As I mentioned above, plastic provides a lot of possibilities in terms of shapes and forms.
But do we always want that? Isn’t it often the simplicity of wooden toys that is appealing?
Aren’t those the toys that stimulate our imagination? I can sit for ages with my little daughter and play with her toys.
A block can be a little house, it can be part of a cave, a fragment of a castle, a car, a ship, a bed. The creative play possibilities are endless.
We can both sit for ages and get absorbed in the act of creative playing. And each day it is different.
And what about all the melodies, the buttons and lights we find in many plastic toys.
If I go to my GP, who has a little play area, lots of the toys there are blinking, are loud, not really nice to look at and often even broken.
They are not inspiring. Toys have a given purpose and that is all they are about.
They don’t allow the child to create her/his own ideas about how to play with the toy.
To me they are boring.
Another important aspect to consider when buying toys is how safe are they for the little ones?
Wooden toys are generally the safer choice as long as they meet the European/Australian Standards of Safety. To find out more about this important safety standard in toy products read one of our recent articles on Toy Safety.
Wooden toys usually don’t have sharp edges as the edges are polished smooth or rounded.
They are also hard to break, in stark contrast to plastic toys. Maybe give it a try and throw an old plastic toy versus an old wooden toy out of the window to see how they break and which fairs better. Wait a moment...
Did you also just have a pinch in your heart? Throw an old wooden toy out of the window? Why?
That doesn’t feel right and it probably isn’t. There you go!
Another aspect of the joy of wooden toys over plastic toys is the affinity to these gorgeous toys and the aspect of creating lifelong positive childhood memories.
Creating childhood memories
When children grow up they become disinterested in most of their past toys. As a parent, the question is what to do with all the toys. Isn’t the question an easy one when it comes to the ones made from plastic?
Don’t they usually end up in the rubbish bin, on Gumtree or at the local Salvation Store?
But what about the wooden toys? Than the question is raised which ones to keep for the own children as the time might come when they will want their car, their dollhouse or their castle back.
So, once it has been decided which ones will be kept its about the ones that can go. Are they going to be chucked in the bin or does now the question come up which other child in the family, or a friend’s or neighbour’s child or which institution would be happy to receive these toys.
That’s the point. It is hard to let go of wooden toys. They are made to last, they don’t loose their value and the older they are the more loved and sentimental they become.
Play with nature
Playing outdoors in nature, is probably one of the best experiences for a child. All their senses are activated and the health benefits of being outdoors is without doubt. Wooden toys whether played with outside or inside are a bridge to nurture this relationship to nature.
Wooden toys also connect all of the senses within children. Playing with wooden blocks is not only piling one block on the other but also the tactile act of feeling the wood.
And what if a toy is not usable anymore. Than at least it is biodegradable. It won’t pollute our ecosystem because it takes thousands of years to dissolve.
Building social relations
Playing with wooden toys is also a great way to entertain kids and have them connect with each other.
As toys from wood leave a lot of room for the child’s imagination it helps them to become creative individually and collectively with other children. Creativity is part of common sense. So, there you go; wooden toys are great educators.
Wooden toys can be played with in so many variations and as kids are naturally curious and always interested in what the others do they will want to engage with each other.
One stacks the blocks, another one wants to create a snake, the third will want to carry them to a basket and so on. The little ones will create, they will watch, engage, they will learn to share, to be organized, to work together. Everything smart people tend to do is what they will be doing.
Most wooden toys, well not the hammering toys… but most others, are rather quiet toys.
They have a relaxing influence and help children calm down and take a break from the multitude of overwhelming stimulations they face every day. Children in our modern times need toys that help them stay centred - focused.
Have you watched children when they get lost with their toys. It is like meditation. It is how children meditate naturally.
If I play with my own child it is the same for me. I sometimes loose myself and all of the sudden realise that my child has moved on to play with a different wooden toy while I am still solving her puzzle for probably the tenth time.
We can extend this philosophy of the benefits of toys even further.
Having respect for each other and for nature can only result from toys based from natural materials. A child that has grown up to value her/his toys will, later in life, value what is being given to her/him.
This child will live a life in respect for mother earth and will live a healthy, happy life.