Before Oliver was born and we started to plan out what our approach would be as parents, one thing we knew was a priority was Oliver’s safety. Yes, I’m sure all parents would say that safety is their number one concern with their children, but it’s not just about keeping a close eye on your child and making sure they are fed, it’s all the things that they touch, put in their mouth and occupy the shelves in their room. Yes, we’re talking about the toys! I know it’s hard to ignore the flashy toys you see when you’re out shopping, but we wanted to talk about why we chose wooden toys, where we buy them, and why wooden toys are the safer choice. Let’s dive in!
Why wooden toys are better than plastic ones
For us, one of the best things we can help encourage Oliver to do is explore his imagination. Many plastic toys are characters on TV that encourage children to mimic behavior rather than create their own playful moments. Plastic toys tend to be definitive objects, and thus, box kids into playing traditionally with them, while wooden toys are more likely to be a little less obvious and therefore encourage children to use their imagination. Wooden toys encourage unstructured playtime, which research has shown to be extremely beneficial and valuable for the child. Another obvious plus, is that wood is more durable, will last longer, and creates less waste than plastic.
Reasons to avoid plastic toys
Plastic toys may be more eye-catching than simple, wooden toys. They are often representing characters from movies and tv shows that kids watch and enjoy, they can even make noise or light up, so it’s hard to compete with. We haven’t exposed Oliver to any tech/television, and plan to put it off for as long as possible, but with the television conversation aside, plastic toys can be just straight up harmful for your child, and that’s reason enough to try to avoid them whenever possible. Many plastic toys contain the chemicals bisephenol, which has been linked to hormone distruption, and PVC. These are especially dangerous for young children and babies who are willing to put just about anything in their mouth, which is what makes these toxic plastics so dangerous. However, if you are buying plastic toys, check the package for phrases like “PVC Free”.
Where to buy wooden toys
Here’s a few of our favorite wooden toys we have found for Oliver, below. Some are more advanced and things we have tucked away in the closet for later on, and others are ones he’s enjoyed since he was a newborn. What we loved the most about choosing wooden toys for Oliver, aside from the health concerns that come with plastic toys, is seeing how differently he uses and interacts with certain toys from one month to the next. He is constantly developing new skills and you can tell he is proud of himself. One of our favorites (and his) is the Skwish toy. It is a little large, but after just a few weeks old we gave it to Oliver to interact with. We’ve seen him go from staring at it and reaching for the Skwish toy, to shaking it, rolling it, biting on it during teething, and even taping it against his other hand almost as a tambourine.
There are some incredible makers out there, creating beautiful handmade wooden toys for children. When researching wooden toys, be sure to double check they are made with safe, non-toxic, and natural paint.
Check out some of our favorites: