Written by Chloe Alice Wilson
Plastic toys cannot compare to the natural beauty wooden toys bring to the party. This is why despite being thousands of years old and having to compete with more sophisticated toys, they still survive as popular toys today.
They are simple and elegant and have a quality feel to them, so end up being passed onto to younger siblings as well as future generations.
Early toys, being those made about 4,000 years ago, were mostly made from wood. Small carved pieces of wood were used in games similar to chess and larger models of horses and chariots were used as role play toys by Roman children.
The first jigsaw puzzle was also wooden, having been invented by a mapmaker called John Spilsbury, to help with teaching geography. In the Middle Ages, wooden puppets saw work being used in street shows for children. Victorian times saw the advent of wooden doll houses which were very elaborate and costly.
And after the First World War, wooden models of aeroplanes and other vehicles became popular.
Nowadays with society being more environmentally aware, wooden toys are receiving renewed interest. They are made from a sustainable and renewable source, generally do not require batteries and can be recycled easily.
Wooden toys are a lot safer for our children too. Plastic toys can release toxins if they are chewed by younger children but wood is germ-free. They also encourage more creative thinking in our children by being adaptable to so many different games.
They are not a single purpose toy that limits imagination and encourages a short attention span. They are available for all age groups in a huge range of toys, from shape sorters, to building blocks, to model craft kits. Most are educational in nature allowing your child to develop their motor skills or problem solving skills through fun play.
As with everything in life, there are always those people who are trying to circumvent the proper procedures for making safe and environmentally friendly toys. So do not just assume that because a toy is wooden it has been manufactured appropriately.
The wood may have been acquired illegally or the paint may be toxic. Buy from reputable manufacturers who use FSC-certified wood and water-based paints.
Children learn through play and the toys they use during this play time shape they way they perceive the world. Many toys mimic real life such as play kitchens, houses and vehicles so children can learn skills and how to function in society through a fun medium.
Chloe Alice Wilson is the founder of Gr8BoysToys.com – an independent review website of toys for boys. She has recently discovered the wonders of wooden toys and discusses everything from wooden baby toys to toy trains and ride on toys on her blog.