Wooden toys often get touted as one of the safest options when it comes to playthings for children and the environment, but why? Are they really better than the alternatives? Many times, the answer is yes. Most wooden toys are free of many of the toxins sometimes found in plastic toys, and if they are made mindfully, they will be welcomed back to the Earth at the end of their life, instead of their broken pieces sitting in a landfill forever more.
To give you more insight into why you might want to consider investing in this eco- and child-friendly type of toy, we’ve broken down what we feel are the prime benefits.
They’re safer for children.
The top priority for parents is their child’s safety, which is one of the main reasons wooden toys have become so popular. As young children put pretty much everything in their mouths, it’s important that they’re not given access to objects laden with toxins and chemical residues.
Plastic toys can expose children to such dangers, as they frequently contain the chemicals BPA and PVC. BPA, bisphenol A, is a chemical the Food and Drug Administration has found to be hazardous to fetuses and children. PVC, polyvinyl chloride, can be harmful because phthalates must be added to soften it. Phthalates are a potential hormone disruptor that can end up in the bloodstream and cause developmental and reproductive toxicity. Phthalates have also been connected to asthma.
In addition to these potentially harmful ingredients, plastic toys are often cheaply made, making it easier for pieces to break off. These pieces can result in choking hazards or sharp edges.
On the flip side, well-made wooden toys are free of chemicals like BPA, PVC, and phthalates, and are typically much sturdier, meaning they’re less likely to result in choking or injury. See below for a guide on buying wooden toys.
They’re more eco-friendly than plastic toys.
Wooden toys are much friendlier to the environment than most types of toys, as they’re usually biodegradable, recyclable and much easier to upcycle. This means that instead of clogging up a landfill for hundreds of years, they’ll break down and be absorbed by the Earth when they’re no longer in use. In addition, if you follow our guidelines for buying wooden toys (see below), the items you purchase will be free of toxic glues and dyes that could harm the Earth.
They’re good at preventing the growth of bacteria .
A pretty cool thing about wood is that the porous surface often prevents the growth of bacteria, as it deprives it of the moisture it needs to thrive.
They’re cost effective.
Although wooden toys can be more expensive upfront, you won’t have to replace them as often as plastic toys, saving you money. Wooden toys are often able to be passed from one sibling to another, or one family to another, for many years, as they’re hardy enough to survive many children. And, because wooden toys don’t require batteries, or have electrical systems that break, you’ll be saving even more money, and frustration.
Tips for Buying Wooden Toys
Now that you have the low down on why wooden toys are often preferable to plastic toys, here’s what to look for when buying them.
- Made of woods like oak, maple, rubberwood, alder, lime, or beech
- Toxin-free glues
- Water-based, solvent-free dyes
- Biodegradable, EPA certified ink
The gist is wooden toys really are as great as they’re cracked up to be. By providing safe, eco-conscious, and long-lasting benefits wooden toys offer a product you can feel good spending your money on, and giving to your children. Opting for simple, beautiful and long lasting toys and playthings is an excellent step towards a cleaner, kinder future for our children.