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Why Are Wooden Toys Better Than Plastic?

Why Are Wooden Toys Better Than Plastic?

4 Advantages of Wooden Toys For Your Child.

As a parent, you’ve probably heard about wooden toys time and time again. Maybe your knowledge goes as far as big brand names that mass produce. You know people like wooden toys, but you don’t really know why.  

Or maybe you’ve been gifted a wooden toy, and you liked the simplicity of it. You noticed that your child seemed to enjoy it too. You’re interested in turning your plastic toy collection into a wooden toy investment, but you’re not sure where to start.

You hate the overwhelming noise of electronic toys and the mess of plastic toys scattered everywhere, but you want to know how wooden toys are different. 

You want to know — 

Why choose wooden toys? 

Why are wooden toys better?

What are the advantages of wooden toys?

I know it’s a lot to think about, and it can be overwhelming! So let’s look into a few reasons why wooden toys are better than plastic toys.

wood toys

Wooden Toys Are Durable and Versatile

Surely you’ve experienced the heartbreak of a new toy that breaks right off the bat. Maybe it’s a toy you were excited to give your child, and they turned around and threw it. Been there, done that!

Or maybe in the course of playtime, a cheap plastic toy didn’t hold up. Your child comes to you begging you to fix it. Yep, familiar with that too!

When it comes to durability, wooden toys are the winner. When wooden toys are carefully crafted from high-quality materials, they last through even the roughest play. Whether your baby is using it as a chew toy to relieve those impending chompers, or your toddler is pretending it’s a hammer, you can guarantee your wooden toy will hold up.

Well-constructed wooden toys have the potential to last through generations. You may pay a higher cost upfront, but wooden toys provide plenty of value. A few of the benefits high-quality wooden toys have to offer are:

  • Durability
  • Entertainment
  • Longevity
  • Beauty

    Wooden toys can be special heirloom pieces that are passed from your child to their child, etc.

    best wooden toys

    Wooden Toys Encourage Imaginative Play

    Imagine your child sitting with a toy tablet. It’s speaking to them, telling them what buttons to press, and making sounds based on the action taken. 

    Now picture your child with a set of wooden blocks like these ones. Imagine them stacking the blocks and laughing as they fall over. Picture them making a house, bridge, or animal pen out of the blocks. 

    Which toy has more ability to teach and encourage creativity while still entertaining? I think we can collectively agree the blocks do.

    Wooden toys are better than plastic toys when it comes to imaginative play. Because they are simple by design, wooden toys allow your child to take the lead. There are no voice commands telling your child what to do — this means peace for you and education for your little one. It’s a win-win for everyone!

    Wooden toys promote open-ended play, which gives the opportunity for one toy to hold your little one’s interest longer. Open-ended play lets children become the leader and practices their decision-making skills.

    Open-ended play is any type of play that allows your child to make their own rules and create their own outcome or solution. Let’s use the block example again — playing with blocks is considered open-ended play because there is no one course of action and no final solution.

    wooden birds tree

    Wooden Toys Are Safe

    Did you know that most plastic toys are packed with harmful chemicals? These toxic chemicals are linked to many different health disorders in children, with the most common ones being suppressing hormones and disrupting normal development.

    A few of the toxic chemicals residing in plastic toys are:

  • Phthalates
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

    Generally speaking, wooden toys are a better choice because they are non-toxic. This is not true across the board, so make sure you’re purchasing from a brand that lists the materials used.

    For instance, PoppyBabyCo only uses products that are safe for your little ones, such as water-based paint and food-grade oils. Some larger companies may offer wooden toys at a fraction of the cost, but they coat their wooden toys in paints containing harmful chemicals or use low-quality wood, like cheap plywood.

    As with anything, it’s important to do your research when it comes to the kind of toys you let your child play with.

    Wooden toys are better for the environment, too. They are longer-lasting and biodegradable, which leads to less waste in landfills. And, as previously mentioned, they can be passed from generation to generation.

    Some people argue that wooden toys will fade easily and become scratched and nicked. This can happen, especially if the toy is played with hard, or if it’s created out of softer wood.

    But what if all those scratches, dents, and nicks are simply signs that a toy has done its job well? What if the scuff marks and chipped paint are proof that your child has been inspired? 

    Those marks of imperfection are signs of learning, imagining, and creating!

    Has your child ever broken a plastic toy and brought it to you, asking if you can fix it? Maybe it was the leg of an animal or some other small part. You tried to glue it, but within minutes of playing it broke again. Now the toy is trash.

    The advantage of wooden toys in this scenario is that they’re easier to fix. You can always refresh worn-out wooden toys by:

  • Sanding and refinishing
  • Repainting and resealing
  • Patching
  • Using wood glue

    And in the end, is there anything wrong with a well-loved wooden toy? Love gives wooden toys character.

    Waldorf toys

    Wooden Toys Promote Learning

    Wooden toys promote learning through…

  • Hand/eye coordination 
  • Fine motor skills 
  • Visual-spatial reasoning 
  • Cause and effect
  • Object permanence 

    …and much more.

    Maria Montessori once said, “Play is the work of the child”. This statement indicates that much more is happening when a child is using a toy than simply playing. We see our children busy with toys and think of them as just entertaining themselves. 

    What’s really happening is the gears in their mind are turning as they reason, deliberate, and communicate with themselves over each action they take.

    If I do this, this will happen.

    If I put this on there, will it fall over?

    Can this fit here?

    Children are learning every time they stack a pile of blocks and they fall over. They learn when they bang something on the floor and hear the noise it makes. They learn coordination as they carefully balance one toy on top of another.

    Wooden toys often encourage learning more than plastic toys do because of the simplicity and open-ended nature of their design.

    On a final note, I want to make it clear that not all plastic toys are bad. In the world we live in, it is very challenging to own only wooden toys. It’s inevitable that our children will desire some plastic toys. 

    However, it is good to try to limit plastic toys, remembering they certainly pose a bigger health risk to our children than wooden toys do. It’s also important to avoid toys that are flashy, noisy, and commanding — all things that take away the opportunity for imagination.

    At PoppyBabyCo, toys that educate and inspire are our top priority. Being a small woman-owned company, we understand the importance of prioritizing quality over quantity. We believe our focus should be on providing handcrafted, high-quality toys with materials that are free of toxins. The safety of our little ones is hands down the most important thing. 

    You can shop our line of unique, educational wooden toys here.