With such a huge supply of ever-changing toys on the market these days, many parents often have the question “Which is better for my child, wooden or plastic toys”? Let’s explore some of the perks and drawbacks of each material.
Pros: Wooden toys are durable, last a very long time, and are generally much better for the environment when compared to their plastic counterparts. Did you have a family heirloom toy that’s been passed on for generations? Was it made from wood? At the end of the day, when a wooden toy finally does break or become unwanted and is sent for landfill, it will degrade quickly compared to those made from plastics (or also become recycled wood, or used as firewood in the home). Wooden toys can also be beautiful, traditional alternatives to other toys, especially in our ever-increasing tech-savvy world. Give a child a set of wooden blocks, and their imagination will thrive.
Cons: Wooden toys tend to be a little pricier compared to plastics, and great care should be taken when deciding which wooden toys should be purchased. Always make sure your toy manufacturer uses sustainably sourced timber, and that their toys pass all safety standards. No one wants your little one getting splinters while they play!
Pros: Plastic toys are simple to manufacture, they’re easy to obtain, and they’re usually relatively cheap. Another great thing about plastic toys is their ease of cleaning and sterilising. Most plastic toys these days have been rigorously safety tested, and are available at almost all toy retailers.
Cons: Plastic toys can be extremely dangerous if they snap, as plastics can be quite sharp. It’s also important to check what kind of plastics the product is made of. Sadly, some plastics can take over 1000 years to decompose, and we certainly don’t want to be leaving that around for future generations to deal with.
Although plastic toys are considerably cheaper and easier to produce, when they’re no longer wanted they do a lot more damage to our planet when compared to their wooden alternatives. Wooden toys are sturdier, last longer, and can become family heirlooms passed down from generation to generation. But at the end of the day, the main priority is that whatever toys you choose to provide for your children should be fun, educational, encourage their imaginations to flourish, and provide hours of interaction so you get your money’s worth. The ambiguity of simple, classic wooden toys provides so much more than the gimmicky “new plastic thing” on the market most of the time, but of course, kids thrive when they’re challenged and are learning, so that’s the most important thing to consider.
Article by Sarah Crowe