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25 August 2014

Why Wooden Toys Are Making a Comeback

Building blocksRecently, there has been a resurgence in the demand for wooden toys. This is especially true for those made from sustainable woods using renewable energy resources, and painted with non-toxic paints, like eco wooden toys we sell at greenBee. We'd like to share some of the primary reasons for this with you.

Wooden Toys Offer Protection From Industrial Poisons
Wood is made by Mother Nature. It is 100 percent natural and does not contain toxins to humans. Plastics are produced artificially in industrial labs by people who must wear face masks just to do their job because the materials they work with are so incredibly toxic. Wooden toys, if left natural or painted with non-toxic paints, do not expose your children to toxins. Plastics leach out toxins 24/7, sometimes directly into the little mouths that chew on them.

The only reason large toy manufacturers use plastic to make toys is it is cheaper to mass produce toys from plastic than wood, i.e. their profit margin is higher. However, savvy Mums have begun to realize that their children may pay a dear price later in life if overexposed to toxic plastic toys. For this reason, they and others have begun to seek out eco-friendly wooden toys in droves.

Nostalgia For Passing Down Legacy Toys
It used to be considered a sin to throw out a toy. Instead of tossing toys out with the trash, they were handed down through all the children in a family. Then, when parents became empty nesters, they would pass these same toys on to their grandchildren or to their neighbors' children and their friends' children. It was considered an honor to receive such a precious gift. It was just like receiving antique wooden furniture that has increased in value with age. In some cases, the parents would save the toys for their children until they started raising a family of their own. This was an honored tradition that was practiced by the majority of families.

Wooden rocking horse

For everyone concerned, there was sentimental value both in receiving and giving such a legacy wooden toy. These wooden toys were treasured family heirlooms. The perceived value of such an old toy was greater than a new toy because the old toy was something that Mum or Dad used to play with. Wood also ages with grace and dignity. The grain in the wood as it ages only looks better with time. A few nicks here and there that wooden toys receive when played with only make the toy seem more venerable. It's almost as if the joy of playing is also passed down in a legacy toy. Wooden building blocks, wooden rocking horses, wooden puzzles, wooden tops, wooden dolls, wooden animal figures, wooden rattles, and other wooden toys were all considered precious links to the past. In contrast, what happens to plastic toys? They often break and just seem to look like old junk as they pile up in a corner before they are sent to the landfill. Children don't seem to bond to a plastic toy in as personal a way as they do with wooden toys. Plastic toys are basically a toy one day and trash the next. Wooden toys endure.

Wooden Toys Inspire an Industrious Imagination
With wooden building blocks, kids could build anything they wanted. When the family took a car trip and crossed a suspension bridge over a waterway, an excited young boy could go home and build one to understand how they really work. A young girl dreaming of one day going to Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower could build one. Such projects often became family projects with Mum, Dad, Grandparents, and siblings joining in to figure out the best way to build it... and debate the subject of course! This taught kids at a young age how to problem solve and how to work as a team. It also showed them how working together can often produce something much more sophisticated than if one works alone.

Wooden toys play

Wooden Toys Engage a Child
Today's electronic gizmos have cool multimedia with action video, authentic sounds, and even cooler synthesized sounds. However, even with this sophistication, they rarely amuse a child for long. Often times in fact, they are tossed aside within a day, and almost never do they hold a child's attention for more than a few months. They simply do not engage a child's imagination. They play at a child instead of allowing the child to be industrious and create something himself or herself. For example, a child that watches a video about how the Eiffel Tower was built does so passively. On the other hand, a child that builds an Eiffel Tower out of wooden blocks, or a wooden kit like Tinkertoys, does so actively and she can take pride in her masterpiece. Her parents and others can admire her work and praise her for it giving the child a sense of accomplishment. 

Wooden Toys Encourage Pretend Play
Unlike modern electronic toys that talk back at a child, a wooden train set can evoke a loud "Choo Choo" from a child! They can rearrange the train cars and come up with different scenarios for where the cargo and/or passengers are headed. They can find different cargo. A wooden car can get a child imitating what an engine should sound like. A child can "drive" the wooden car to thousands of destinations in their mind. They can decide with their friends where they'll go or how to crash the cars into each other. With a wooden excavator, they'll have to think about how this sounds different than a car and what they'd like to excavate... dinosaur bones or building a lake? With a wooden police car, they can imitate the siren and pretend they are the police chasing the bad guys. When a child pulls along a wooden duck, they can quack like a duck. With wooden food and wooden dishes, a child can prepare cuisine from around the world.

In conclusion, wooden toys have more cachet than plastic toys and always will. They are timeless and classic. In fact, wooden toys have been around for thousands of years. Archaeologists have unearthed wooden toys from the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Phoenicians. These include wooden chariots drawn by wooden horses, spinning toys, and alligators with moveable mandible parts!

Discover eco toys - made of natural materials and painted with non-toxic colours.