Surely you have heard a lot of times that wooden toys are better than plastic ones. But why? Is it just another fad or are there well-founded reasons behind that statement?
Today I want to tell you the 8 main reasons why we use, above all, wooden toys: a quality material for learning and development in the early years.
- Weight and presence. Wooden toys do not have the lightness of plastic toys. They are toys with a greater presence. Children have to hold them conscientiously and firmly, stimulating, in turn, the motor skills of their hands.
I also believe that ultralight toys seem to downplay the object itself and the game. Do you feel the same in your hand with a very cheap plastic car as with a wooden car?
- Stimulates the sense of touch. Wooden toys, especially if they are not lacquered, provide a pleasant feeling to touch. Also, not all wooden toys feel the same. There are more sanded, less, some in which the irregularities of the wood are noticed, others that do not … all this offers sensations that the children’s brain registers, almost without appearing, while they play.
- They favor the imagination. Wooden toys are much less worked than plastic ones, they do not incorporate lights or sounds. It is the child who has to imagine everything he wants that toy to do, nothing is given or done. In addition, being less structured they are more versatile.
- They reduce consumerism. Plastic toys tend to be more fragile, break more easily (especially if they are inexpensive) and lead to the need to buy new replacement toys. On the contrary, wooden toys are more expensive, we buy less but of higher quality. Something that is essential to avoid entering the wheel of buying, using, throwing away.
- They age better and are intergenerational. Wooden toys, far from breaking or becoming ugly over time, age marvelously. And in case they break… they can be fixed more easily than plastic toys. They can be passed from generation to generation , because the toy remains just as beautiful and functional.
In the image on the left you can see the roll with which my brothers and I played as babies. It’s from 1978. The one on the right is current. Apart from the time marks … don’t you think it’s exactly the same toy?
- They accompany the child during different stages of its growth. Wooden toys, being less structured, tend to be more timeless. By this I do not mean now that the same toy can be passed from generation to generation but that it is used for many more years by the same child, since rarely a toy of these characteristics looks very childish or very adult .
- They save money. Really? With how expensive they are! Well yes, because as I have already been telling you, we buy fewer materials but of higher qualityand also the same toy can last several generations . All this ends up assuming financial savings.
- They connect with nature.
Wood is a natural material that responds to the biological expectations that children have at birth (in relation to the sense of touch). Our brain hopes to touch our mother’s skin and natural materials (trees, stones, earth…). Certainly not plastic.
In addition, using materials that come directly from nature helps children understand the relationship between nature and the production of everyday objects . With the wood of the trees you can make toys, kitchen spoons, furniture, etc. Explaining to a child where their plastic toys come from is going to be much more complicated, without a doubt.
HOW TO CHOOSE WOODEN TOYS
Actually it is not that it has any mystery … but if I would like to comment two things about it.
- There are many wooden toys on the market, but not all of them are safe. Quality comes at a price, even if we don’t like it. Sometimes we have had wooden toys painted with who knows what paint, which came off easily.
That is why at home we are in love with Grimm’s brand toys (as they are not lacquered, the wood shows 100%). We also like other cheaper brands, like Hape , which uses sustainable woods and water-based paints.
- Whenever we can, we buy the most natural toys possible, since the less color they have, they will also be more timeless and versatile. Although children prefer painted, of course, and some also go well to color the home!
AND ARE PLASTIC TOYS “FORBIDDEN”?
Not at all! At home we always prioritize wooden toys, but we are not radical either, hehe. There are some excellent plastic toys, such as duplo or lego that allow to develop imagination, concepts of logic, composition of space, etc.
And besides, there are times for everything. Plastic toys are ideal for :
- Go to the beach, the pool or on a trip
- Use in the bathtub
- Play outdoors (they resist rain and inclement weather better)
I think I was a very lucky girl and at home, many years ago (well, not so many that I’m not that old, hahaha), the quality of the toys prevailed over the quantity. I had several wooden toys that my mother has kept to this day, such as the train in the picture.
Now I am excited to have rescued them from oblivion so that I can play Earth with them and reaffirms that wooden toys, for us, are the best option. And for you?