Our son recently turned one, so we were excited to buy him some new toys! We have chosen wooden toys for Oskar since he was old enough to play with them, but him turning one coincided with us feeling he needed some new ones to better suit his developing skills.
We chose Grimms 12 piece and 6 piece Rainbows, Grimms Waves and a wooden snail (along with a cuddly Whale these made up a Snail & The Whale story sack), some Grapat Nins, Mates & Coins, a wooden camper van, Plan Toys Racing Duck and Sort & Count Cups, a wooden walker & blocks, and some Bajo pebbles in Respin jute bowls. His favourite play methods currently are sorting things one from pile/container to another, and pushing things back and forth, so we chose toys that would be incorporated into those skills, and develop new ones.
With wooden toys not being the usual choice, we often get asked why we choose them over plastic toys, so we thought it would be nice to give an explanation. So here are our ten reasons for choosing wooden toys!
Wooden toys often have no set purpose, unlike many plastic toys that have a sole use such a pressing three separate buttons, or items that are replicas of adult life items such as a cash register. This encourages children to think up their own ways that the toys could be played with. For example a wooden rainbow is not just a rainbow, it can be stacked into towers, made into a marble run, arches to roll balls through, used to make pens for animals, houses for people, or bridges for vehicles.
2. They last longer as they are durable
Wooden toys are less likely to break than plastic toys, and although they are sometimes more expensive, they are a lot more hard wearing.
3. They also last longer as they grow with the child. The ways that wooden toys are played with often evolve as the child grows and develops new skills. For example, Oskar has a wooden camper van that he currently likes sorting wooden figures in and out of, and pushing back and forth, whereas when he is older, he can act out scenarios with the camper van and people.
Wooden toys have no sharp edges from the toys breaking, and also none of the chemicals that lot of plastic toys have. They also have no batteries!
Wooden toys aren't a going to sit in landfill like plastic toys do - many plastic toys contain PVC, a type of plastic that does not readily degrade (and when it does, it gives off toxic chemicals)
Wooden toys have great educational value - they encourage fine motor skills and problem solving, and are also less distracting that plastic toys that have lots of lights and/or noise.
Not the most important of reasons, but a bonus to buying wooden toys is that they look so beautiful on display!
Another benefit for parents, is that wooden toys usually make a lot less noise! This is also useful when taking toys out, for example if needed to occupy a child at a dinner table in a restaurant.
Unlike many plastic toys that are based around popular current characters and trends, wooden toys are often timeless, meaning that they won't go 'out of fashion' and are even perfect to pass on through generations.
10. They fit in with Montessori and Waldorf play and education
We loved the principles behind Montessori and Waldorf play/education, and they are something we hope to incorporate into Oskar's future education. For those unfamiliar with the terms, here are some brief explanations:
Montessori is an approach to education and play that encourages independence and individuality, whilst developing and utilising the child's natural interests. It uses self guided learning rather than formal structured learning. Learning through discovery gives confidence, and learning through something the child is interested in gives an enjoyment to learning.
Waldorf, or Steiner education, like Montessori places an importance on a natural learning environment, but Waldorf focuses on the child's imagination, fantasy, stories etc rather than Montessori's application of learning to real life. Waldorf is more routine based, but more playful than Montessori.
Do you prefer wooden toys? What are your favourites?
All of the beautiful toys mentioned (apart from the camper van) are available from Babipur - you can get 10% off site wide with code 'buddy'.
All toys featured purchased by ourselves, or received as birthday gifts for our son.
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