With a recent study in America concluding that children who have too many toys are easily distracted and therefore, do not enjoy quality playtime; are our children accumulating too many toys and even more worrying too many plastic toys (or tat as we sometimes call it)?
Every birthday and Christmas our drawers and cupboards are groaning with the number of toys our children get given, but have you ever considered that many of these toys could potentially be harmful to your children?
Plastic toys can have BPA, phthalates, and lead in them and some studies show that plastic, even if it is BPA free, can still leak harmful chemicals. Some paediatricians warn of buying toys from China as they have been found to have high levels of lead which isn’t good in any amount (nor is BPA or phthalates) and babies and toddlers are especially prone to putting toys in their mouths.
The best way to avoid this is to choose quality wooden toys for your child and encourage relatives and friends to do the same. There are many advantages to opting for wooden toys over plastic toys including: -
Safety and durability – Plastic toys can easily break and leave sharp edges that would harm a child whereas wooden toys are more durable, don’t fade like plastic and last longer so you can pass them onto younger siblings, cousins or friends and even keep for your grandchildren! Wooden toys are also a safer alternative to metal or plastic if you have a child that is constantly chewing on toys when teething.
Environmentally Friendly- Plastic toys are not biodegradable whereas wood is, so instead of filling our landfills with man-made products we need to consider toys that give back to the environment as wood can also be recycled.
Imaginative Play- Wooden toys encourage imaginative play as children can pretend to serve family at a pretend store or make their own food in a pretend kitchen; all of which encourage children to role play and engage in activities that prepare them for the future and develop their social and emotional skills, language skills and thinking skills.
Educational Benefits – Unlike many plastic toys; wooden toys don’t have electronic parts or voice commands telling children what to do so therefore, mean children can use their reasoning skills to decide what activity they want to undertake using that toy and blocks or puzzles help children to develop their problem-solving ability.
Wooden Toys are more Tactile– They normally weigh more than plastic toys so help children to have a greater awareness of what their hands are doing. This can be beneficial for children with sensory disorders or delayed development of fine motor skills as they need to make more effort to move the wheels of a wooden toy compared to a lighter plastic version.
Wooden Toys look better – Although plastic toys are bright and colourful so appeal to children, they do break and fade whereas wooden toys look more aesthetically appealing and are generally better quality.
Wooden toys have so many more benefits compared to plastic from being eco-friendly (so protecting our environment), robust and safer through to being more beneficial for imaginative play and lasting longer to hand down to future generations.
We need to look at wooden toys as an investment in our children’s future. Although they cost more you are getting quality over quantity, and as mentioned children only need a few good quality toys rather than lots of potentially dangerous plastic toys that could cause them to become whelmed by the number they have (let alone us as parents).