Wooden toys hold a plethora of benefits. While plastic toys are easily accessible, inexpensive and seemingly provide the same value as wooden toys, they are generally unsafe for children and do not produce the same benefits as wooden toys. Wooden toys are timeless, attractive, help children developmentally, and look great in your living room.
Wooden toys will not carry toxic materials into your home.
We will first get the dangers of plastic out of the way so we can focus on the benefits. If you’re already well-versed in the dangers of plastic, scroll down to our section how wooden toys provide an educational environment.
The type of plastic that most plastic toys are made with is called PVC.
You can do your own research, but we’ll lay it out for you here as best as we can. PVC contains many toxic chemicals that can easily be released when your child is chewing or touching a plastic toy. One of these chemicals is called phthalates. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the ingestion of phthalates, such as when babies and children are chewing on plastic toys, has been proven to be harmful to children.
Phthalates have also been seen to stimulate the growth of cancers.
Another harmful chemical in PVC is cadmium, which is a known carcinogen and has been proven to cause kidney damage. The list goes on, but we’ll add in one more. Lead is also in PVC, and it’s well established that it has a correlational association with problems relating to not only ADHD, but IQ as well. PVC is common in plastic toys, as well as many other harmful chemicals, which you can read about here.
Many plastic toys take away from the imagination of playing.
They often have an obvious intention and do not allow for a child’s own interpretation of the toy - it is all laid out for them in black and white. Plastic toys are also usually brightly colored, with many colored and can provide too much stimulation for a child.
Children thrive in calm and peaceful settings, and wooden toys are conducive to that environment. A peaceful environment is important for a child’s development. As we’ve stated before, too many choices and too much stimulation causes stress and indecision in children. By introducing natural, quiet toys with room for interpretation and creativity, kids naturally feed more at easy and in control of their playtime.
Wooden toys are better quality.
Wood is a sturdy substance. It’s not going to chip away or disperse chemicals in your home and into your children’s bodies. Because it’s a durable material, it is less likely to be damaged beyond an occasional chip or scratch, so it can be enjoyed and passed down between subsequent siblings or even generations.
Wooden toys help kids be more creative.
Generally, wooden toys have less stimulus. They are simple, usually a shade of brown rather than consisting of multiple bright colors or flashing, blinking lights. They are usually basic shapes as well, and the simplicity of them allows for kids to use their imagination to figure out how to play with them. Without a clear intention as to how to use the toy, children are forced to use their brains to come up with a way to use the toy.
Wooden toys are quiet.
This is more a benefit for parents rather than children, but if you swap out your plastic, blinking, honking repetitive melody toys with a set of wooden blocks and puzzles, you’re going to hear a lot less noise. Kids will be more focused on what they are doing instead of distracted and moving from one toy to the next, declaring they’re bored and pressing obnoxious buttons. Even when wooden toys clank together, it is quiet. You’re setting yourself up for a more peaceful home with wooden toys .
They look better.
There is no question that a set of nice, wooden blocks look better than multi-colored legos. They’re timeless and again, they transcend generations. A good-looking set of blocks or a few stacking toys will look great in your playroom. They blend in with room decor and can almost be an accent to any room. There’s not argument that a child playing with timeless wooden blocks is an adorable sight. Do it for your Instagram.
They're good for kids in urban areas.
Kids who live in cities don’t always have the luxury of getting out and enjoying nature. A lot of times, “nature” is a man-made park with small trees. Children in urban areas don’t necessarily have sprawling forests, prairie, beaches, towering trees and more to explore. Having wooden toys allows them to connect with nature in a realistic way. They are able to appreciate what nature is able to give us and understand all of its elements when they are given the opportunity to explore with wooden toys.
While an inexpensive plastic toy may be appealing when you’re at a Big Brand store running errands and a new toy is always appealing to a child. If you refrain from an impulse buy, or what is seemingly an easier option, and go for the quality investment of wooden toys, you’ll see your kids focus more, be more imaginative, and ask for less because they appreciate what they have.