It can be difficult sometimes to find the best toys for your kiddos. Especially since there are so many toys to choose from! Kudos to you for being here and educating yourself before you make your purchase.
Sadly, the majority of plastic toys are made with unsafe chemicals and paints. It’s important to be careful with what comes in contact with our young ones. Especially since so many children like to put toys (and everything else!) in their mouths, it’s important to know what’s in it will be safe.
Wooden toys are the safest and most sustainable option out of the two. This article will help you learn more about the safety of wooden toys and the dangers of plastic toys!
What are the Benefits of Wooden Toys?
Wooden toys are a great alternative to plastic toys as they are inherently missing dangerous chemicals that make up plastic.
Wooden Toys Can Be Safer
High quality wooden toys do not contain any unsafe dyes, paints, or chemicals that are common in plastic toys.
Wooden Toys are Longer-lasting
Wooden toys are very durable and less likely to break compared to plastic toys.
Wooden Toys are More Sustainable
Wood is natural, biodegradable, and recyclable. Many wooden toy manufacturers harvest wood from sustainable forests that are replenished and responsible. Plastic toys are usually not made from recyclable materials so often end up in landfills when they are broken or no longer needed – and stay there for a very long time. A single plastic straw takes about 200 years to decompose, and even then doesn’t fully disappear. It’s hard to imagine how long it would take for our kid’s toys to fully break down.
Are There Any Play Benefits to Wooden Toys?
Contrary to popular belief – wooden toys can actually be better to skill development in babies, toddlers and young children! Besides open-play elements to toys which allow kids to use their imagination and experiment, studies show that parents communicate more during play time with their littles using wooden toys vs plastic ones!
Develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
Simple wooden toys like blocks and puzzles engage children and prompt them to use their reasoning skills as they build new structures and try to fit pieces together. Plastic toys with music, lights, and audio commands result in much more passive play.
Encourage creativity and stimulate the imagination
Stacking blocks, fitting wooden bricks together and stringing wooden beads all encourage the development of neural pathways between small hands and brains. They are also awesome for a more open-ended play which helps encourage and develop language skills, imaginative skills, and overall is just more entertaining to your child! (which is awesome for parents because kids sit and play longer!)
What is the Montessori Method?
The more modern, flashy, plastic toys can make wood toys seem duller in comparison, but there is a modern play-based learning program called the Montessori Method that emphasizes the importance of natural and simple elements. They use these materials for learning and exploration. It is a very popular method right now and a lot of our toys are used in Montessori schools for this reason!
Chemicals to Avoid in Children’s Toys
While kid’s toys may be the subject of government regulation in the United States, material safety is not something that is often considered outside of a few elements such as arsenic and lead. In the US, materials have to be proven unsafe in order to use them – instead of being proven safe. Even then, despite the many studies on the safety of plastic with young children, only one ingredient has been banned – BPA.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that could be found in children’s plastic toys and is known to cause skin and eye irritation. Also, kids who suffer from asthma may experience heightened symptoms.
PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride, or vinyl, is a toxic chemical that is harmful to our bodies and the environment. It contains additives like phthalates and lead that are quite toxic and have been linked to asthma, allergies, reproductive problems, and cancer.
Many phthalates are known as endocrine disruptors associated with asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, type II diabetes, behavioral issues, altered reproductive development, and male fertility issues.
Recommendations for Wooden Toys
Milton & Goose is handcrafted in the USA with high-quality wood made by Amish toymakers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They make non-toxic and heirloom quality toys that are meant to last for generations!
Tender Leaf Toys is an eco-friendly toy company that makes safe and durable wooden toys out of reclaimed rubber tree wood!
Indigo Jamm creates sustainable wooden toys to inspire imaginative play! Their durable toys are made of 90% reclaimed rubberwood. The toys are also painted with water-based, chemical-free paint. These toys are created to provide generations of sustainable, exciting play.