Here we are, two decades deep into the 21st century and three generations on from when the first home video game consoles began to show up in living rooms around the world. Plastic began to overtake organic materials for toys during our parents' or grandparents' childhoods,
Traditional wooden toys should be a relic of the distant past, yet somehow when Amazon published its recent list of best-selling toys, nestled in between the usual suspects like Barbie and Marvel superheros, there was a simple wooden train made of stackable blocks.
That train, by Melissa & Doug, happens to be one of the first toys our newborn received as a gift from a family friend. There's a good chance you have one in your nursery too! It's one of the most visible wooden toys these days, but it's by no means the only one. Conscious parents have embraced a return to organic, safe alternatives to the plastic and digital toys that many of us grew up with.
Good for the Body
Wooden toys are better for your baby. You may already know about BPA and PVC, two chemicals commonly found in plastics. Both are used to soften plastics, and both have been shown by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to hazardous to fetuses and children - which is to say nothing about the environmental impacts associated with production and disposal. Studies have linked both chemicals to harmful changes in hormone levels in children, and more research is required to fully understand the physiological consequences of a childhood surrounded by these troubling chemicals.
Wooden toys have no BPA or PVC. They are a sensible choice for parents who are concerned about the chemicals their children are exposed to.
Good for the Mind
It's hard for a simple wooden toy to compete with a noisy, flashing gadget, and that's the point. Wooden toys promote open-ended free play, encouraging children to use their imaginations to create new and innovative ways to play. Wooden toys promote the development of gross and fine motor skills, the recognition of colours, shapes, patterns and textures, and crucial early social skills. Wooden toys don't come with an instruction manual, and that's the point! Oh, and you won't spend a fortune on batteries either!
Good for the World
Wait a minute, how many trees are cut down to make a wooden toy?!
The good news is that nearly every major wooden toy manufacturer uses renewable FSC-Certified wood sources for their production process. Many specifically use wood from rubberwood or bamboo sources; rubberwood produces latex for roughly 25 years, after which time plantations are typically burnt down and replanted. By diverting this "waste" wood to their production lines, many manufacturers are making use of a wood source that would otherwise be discarded in an incredibly harmful manner. Other manufacturers use bamboo, a fast-growing grass that produces a durable and safe, yet very lightweight, type of wood.
Even better, by specializing in the restoration and resale of previously loved wooden toys, we are diverting even more waste from the landfill and ensuring that even fewer resources are consumed by the production and transportation of new toys.
Wooden toys generally last much longer than their plastic alternatives, and it's common for heirloom-quality toys to be passed down from generation to generation. By investing in wooden toys, you're investing in your baby and your world.
Shop our selection of new and previously loved wooden toys right here!