Wooden Over Plastic Toys – What’s the Difference?

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Image from Pixabay via bykst

It’s difficult to remember a time without having plastic toys. Any toy store that you simply enter today is lined from floor to ceiling with all types of plastic toys. It’s correct that plastic toys have allowed children to get new kinds of toy which could not have been possible with wooden toys. Even so, wooden toys have existed for centuries, plus they continue in existence today for a really good reason; they are able to, sometimes, be much better than plastic toys. Why?

Wooden toys are by their very nature more demanding of imaginative play. Plastic toys are often battery powered, and children press a button or push a switch in order for the toy to react in a certain predetermined way. This is all well and good, but it limits how much imagination is being used by children. A simple wooden toy has no such button – in order for the toy to move, you must imagine it. That is no bad thing, and leads to more active minds.

Wooden toys are inherently safer for young children. Plastic toys contain a number of toxins, with many of these being harmful to children. Wooden toys are natural, and while neither should be ingested, simply sticking a wooden toy in your mouth won’t cause you and damage. Depending on the type of chemicals used in a plastic toy, licking it could be very harmful.

Wooden toys are also kinder to the environment. Spent batteries can be very dangerous, while some plastics take hundreds of years to break down. While it is important that we are aware of deforestation, wooden toys made from sustainable forest plantations are entirely environmentally friendly, and are immeasurably preferable to the resources consumed to make plastics for toys.

The element of touch should also be considered. Learning of a toy by feel and touch is something that has been shown to be beneficial for children, and yet it is something that very few children do any more as a result of the overwhelming popularity of plastic toys. Do plastic toys serve a purpose? Of course they do – there are some toys that we simply could not have were it not for plastic. However, in many cases, we are choosing plastic toys when wooden toys would be just as good, if not superior. They are better for children’s imagination, kinder on the environment and pose no chemical risk to children. And when you consider all that, it really does seem obvious which kind of toy we should be choosing.