Wooden toys are enjoying something of a resurgence just now, with many parents choosing to fill the playroom with a traditional alternative to the all-singing, all-dancing, battery operated plastic that has filled the shelves of toy shops for the past 30 years. But this trend is about so much more than nostalgia. Here are our top five reasons why wood is a better choice for your child.
It may appear that electronic toys hold our toddler’s attention for longer than a set of building blocks, but while flashing lights hold baby’s gaze, they do absolutely nothing to extend it. An ever-growing number of school-age children show a shorter-than-expected attention span, and technology is increasingly held to blame.
Simple toys like building blocks, stacking cups and rainbows encourage and improve motor skills and spacial awareness, providing the foundations of STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Learning how to stack blocks provides building blocks of understanding about our world and the boundaries of possibility.
Wooden toys grow with your child; building blocks become castles, farms, villages, space rockets. Add a few props such as scenery and animals and you strengthen your children’s play by prompting language acquisition, vocabulary extension and developing their imagination. Small world role-play of this sort is vital in helping children make sense of relationships and evolve social skills.
Wooden toys are obviously better for the environment than their plastic equivalents. Wood is renewable and biodegradable. A broken plastic toy has nowhere to go but landfill, where it will break down over years until the resulting microplastics filter into the water table. A wooden toy can be sanded down, glued with non-toxic wood glue, screwed back together – mended and reused. And if it does end up in landfill, it will biodegrade with zero poisonous residues left behind.
Wooden toys can also be sustainable – sourced from FSC-certified forests – organic, and finished with non-toxic dyes, paints, stains or sealants, making them even greener choices.
A connection to nature is crucial to our wellbeing. Beyond the basics – our need for Vitamin D, our daily dose of sunlight – research increasingly proves fresh air and time spent in nature are vital for good mental health. This extends to our environment, where growing evidence suggests exposure to wood grain and natural light are conducive to accelerated learning and creativity. The tactile nature of wooden toys may even prompt feelings of calm in children and adults alike, allowing us to start from a place of greater relaxation and therefore access creativity sooner.
While electronic toys and computer games are usually played in isolation, wooden toys invite social interaction. Children build and explore small world play together, learning social skills along the way. Wooden toys can also be appealing to adults, encouraging us to play with our children to create mindfulness mandalas or complete stacking challenges. The benefits of taking ten minutes for mindfulness are only increased by spending those ten minutes with our children.
Beyond the poisonous nature of some plastics, they certainly break more easily than wood, leaving sharp edges, exposed electronics, and even loose batteries. And as we have said before, plastic has nowhere to go but landfill. We still know so little about the long-term effects of plastics on our health, but we do know that they are poisoning our planet. Wood, on the other hand, remains sustainable, renewable, biodegradable – and poison-free!
Start your children’s wooden toy journey at Yes Bébé, a sustainably and responsibly sourced retailer. With countless, beautiful eco-friendly products across different categories including Eco Home & Living, Books, Toys, Babies, sustainable Cloth Nappies and Organic Clothing, Yes Bébé is committed to promoting the end of plastic pollution.
Yes Bébé are a team of eight hard-working mums and dads working from a warehouse not far from our home, who are dedicated to living environmentally friendly lives, and share a love of nurturing children; both in play and education.
Visit https://yesbebe.co.uk/ for more information.