One of the many questions parents of young children ask themselves is, are wooden toys really better than plastic? I mean, you've read the reports about plastic toys and heard about the destruction that plastics cause to the environment. But your child seems to be drawn to the bright colors and intricate designs of the plastic toys. What to do?
To answer your question, in my opinion, yes, wooden toys are better than plastic. They may not always attract your child at first glance the way brightly-colored plastic toys can, but those long-lasting wood playthings are the gift that keeps on giving. Wooden toys are safe for your child and the environment, sturdy, and designed to last generations. They are a great choice for many parents focused on sustainability. Plus, for any parent seeking value for the price - wood toys will stand up to the most rigorous play and outlast most plastic toys.
And judging from recent events, big toy brands have awakened to this fact. Melissa & Doug, PlanToys, and BeginAgain all offer beautifully designed, sustainably manufactured wood and wood product toys to delight any child.
Not convinced yet? Here are 5 simple reasons why wooden toys are hands down the best toy option for toddlers and bigger kids.
1. Wooden Toys are Long-lasting
Remember that Taylor Swift song where she and some guy never go out of style? Well, wooden toys are like that. If you've been a parent for a while now, you can attest to the fact that plastic toys are "trendy." It feels like a new toy is always being released, and the one you bought last week is already out of style.
But that's not all. Toys go through some tough times in the hands of kids. The banging, the chewing, the dropping from heights. 95% of plastic toys cannot and do not withstand that amount of roughness. That's why you have a room full of broken toys that nobody likes anymore and why you are always buying new ones.
But wood, oh wood lasts a long time. Your kids can bang and chew all they want, and the toy will endure. If you're tired of buying a new toy every fortnight, it may be time to switch to quality wood toys.
2. Wooden Toys are Better for the Environment
Did you know we produce over 5 million tons of plastic waste each year? Sure, most of that comes from bottles and paper, but all those plastic toys we throw out don't help either. Wooden toys are better for the environment in a variety of ways;
They are extremely durable, so one toy can last several generations of kids before being retired. When the time comes to finally get rid of that toy, wood can be recycled, composted or burned. Plastic and synthetic cloth are not biodegradable, so they continue to wreak havoc on the earth for decades and even centuries to come.
And lastly, wooden toys are sustainably sourced from wood. Many wooden toy companies partner with organizations like One Tree Planted to plant trees for every toy they make.
3. Wooden Toys are Educational
Now, I bet you didn't know that all those flashy, music-making plastic toys claiming to stimulate learning in your child aren't, according to some studies, good for your child's cognitive development. As it turns out, overstimulation can lead to negative neural impact, hindering the brain from forming well and thinking critically.
On the other hand, research shows that playing with natural elements like wood helps kids to calm their nervous systems and concentrate. A 2017 study even found that contact with wood literally induces physiological relaxation. Wooden toys also encourage learning, creativity, and imagination. When your kid is playing with a wooden toy, they are not just having fun; they are learning. These types of toys provide unstructured play that allows your child to tap into their imagination and come up with new games.
That's not all. Studies show that wooden toys enhance a child's numerical and problem-solving abilities, not to mention spatial awareness. As they solve those wooden puzzles, stack up the wooden blocks and build structures and patterns, they are learning STEM.
Imagine your baby playing with these wooden building blocks. They can make anything they want and learn simple concepts of physics and engineering while playing.
4. Wooden Toys are Safe for Kids
Amid all the reports that plastic toys contain toxins like BPA, it's normal to wonder, are wooden toys safe for babies? Well, yes, except on a few occasions where the paint or finish is toxic. Truly sustainable toymakers - PlanToys, BeginAgain Toys, and others - make their wooden toys from rubberwood or natural hardwoods like maple, walnut, and cherry, and use non-toxic stains rather than paints.
Most wood toys don't require any assembly. For the most part, high-quality, eco-friendly wooden toys do not contain phthalates, PVC, or any other toxins.
Another safety issue is loose parts. Plastic toys have a lot of tiny parts that can break off after a few hard bangs on the floor or table. These loose parts can become a choking hazard. These are worries you won't have if you buy high-quality wooden toys.
5. It's Okay to Buy Used Wooden Toys
There is a reason why so many donated and second-hand toys are wooden. Because they are built to last. The material does not deteriorate with time. What's more, a wooden toy can remain in its stellar condition for many years. The only thing used wooden toys come with is a history and character that your child will enjoy and leave for future generations to enjoy. Once you buy the toy, simply wipe it off with a non-toxic disinfectant wipe, and it's good to go.
Your child is looking into a future full of stimulating gadgets and screens. The best thing to do in the early developmental stages is to provide calming, educational, and inspiring toys they can enjoy for years.
I'm not saying you should throw out all their plastic toys. But it might be a good idea to make a plan and switch slowly. For your child's next birthday, buy them one of our best-selling Tractor Stacker Playsets or a PlanToys Slide n Go Doll House. Each of these toys is extremely immersive, so you won't need a lot of them.
Conclusion: wooden toys are indeed better. For you and your child, and for the planet.