Every parent shudders at the sound of them: those obnoxious, screeching toys clamouring for attention, breaking the peace and seemingly designed to bring out the most challenging traits in a child.
Accompanied by whirring, flashing lights and bells and haphazardly crashing into walls, it’s no surprise many of those annoying, battery-operated toys seem to mysteriously “disappear” after the first flush of excitement wears off for little people.
So many loud, expensive, plastic toys seem to capture the imaginations of children for a only a fleeting few moments, before they’re abandoned and left forgotten in a toy box.
It’s toys with creative longevity that inspire children to use their imaginations and are worth the investment for your family.
Good quality wooden toys boast a longevity spanning generations and encourage freestyle, play- based learning that sees children explore an imaginary world they alone create.
Great brands that sell these types of wooden toys include Djeco and automoblox.
There are plenty of themes to choose from too: from construction, train sets, jewellery-making, billy carts, blocks and doll houses, there is an enormous range of wooden toys on offer, for children of all ages.
Kitchens and play food, magnetic sets, water play toys and car garages; there are beautifully- crafted wooden versions of imaginative toys, more commonly seen in plastic form, yet handcrafted wooden sets have longevity and are unlikely to contain harmful chemicals.
Safety features are vitally important to parents and many modern toys are made on the cheap using poor-quality plastic and metal parts, which haven't been built to last and contain chemicals and paints that may not pass safety tests.
The chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) has been used to harden plastic products since the 1960s. In 2010, US authorities conceded that babies and young children were most at risk of harm from BPA commonly found in eating and drinking utensils. Studies indicated the presence of BPA in children could adversely affect their behaviour, in addition to their brain development and prostate gland.
Traditional wooden play equipment made from safely-produced and harvested timbers and child- friendly paints, are a great choice for parents wanting a safe alternative to plastic toys. Many parents are alert to the risks of BPA and remain cautious about plastic toys and the possibility of contamination.
Babies and toddlers love to taste everything they handle. Wooden chew toys are sanded and finished safely so babies still get to explore the textures, while plastic toys can be a potential hazard, with the risk of pieces breaking off, or battery leakage, which are life-threatening hazards.
Not only do they reduce the likelihood of an outbreak of allergies to chemicals and plastic additives, but wooden toys are very sturdy, making them less likely to be a choking hazard for tiny tots.
Yet wooden toys aren’t just for very young children. Wooden construction kits, jigsaws, puzzle challenges, memory and tumbling games are just a few of the activities and games suitable for middle primary school children.
Billy carts and wooden tricycles keep kids on the move and with regular maintenance and fresh paint, they’re bound to become firm favourites, they can be personalised and decorated, with kids choosing their favourite themes to make their wheels their very own.
Many parents have passed their favourite childhood toys to their own children, with long-lasting wooden favourites filling the play areas of generations of young ones. Those rocking horses, dolls houses, train sets and pull-along toys have stood the test of time, a wonderful reminder of happy playtimes in the past.