If you look in the department stores these days the shelves are usually full of plastic toys with wooden toys proving hard to come by.
Although plastic toys are cheaper, they are not necessarily the best option when it comes to childhood development or the environment.
Let’s look at the difference between plastic and wooden toys.
• Less durable
• Can break easily
• Edges can become sharp when broken and become a hazard
• Often have many small parts
• Often have flashing lights and sounds which can be over stimulating to a child. This can also reduce a child’s ability to use their imagination and problem solving skills.
• More carbon dioxide is emitted into the environment when making plastic toys and they are more difficult to dispose of and recycle.
• Are more durable, last longer and can be passed down, sometimes through generations.
• Sturdier and safer
• Have fewer small parts
• When wooden toys are purchased that are FSC Certified (Forest Stewardship Council) the wood is sourced responsibly and not taken from natural plantations.
• Wooden toys made with FSC Certified wood are more biodegradable and recyclable
• Wooden toys have a more interesting texture
• Better for imaginative play which means children have an opportunity to develop their cognitive and problem solving skills.
Although wooden toys are usually more expensive, the benefits certainly outweigh the cost, a wooden toy is likely to recoup its value ten times over during its lifetime as well as helping the environment. When purchasing wooden toys, aim to purchase toys where the wood has been sourced responsibly, you will normally find a label or stamp that identifies this.
However, if you find wooden toys are still too expensive, why not try visiting an op shop to see if you can score a bargain. Children won’t know it’s second hand unless you tell them, to them it’s just a wonderful new toy!
So if you’ve just started the task of buying your children’s Christmas presents this year, why not consider the benefits of wooden toys. They're sure to bring years of joy to your family and will give you the satisfaction of being able to help the environment.