I’ve always loved wooden toys.
I can’t quite put my finger on why, but wooden toys have always seemed that bit more special than their plastic and cuddly cousins. I love the warmth, weight and feel of real wood in my hands. And I still delight at the unmistakable clunk of wooden blocks knocking together.
Recently I’ve discovered a new reason to love wooden toys. A reason I wouldn’t have been conscious of as a child: the timeless durability of well-made wooden toys.
My son and I spent much of the Christmas holidays at my mum’s place. It’s the same apartment I grew up in and, being the hoarder that she is, still houses many of the toys my siblings and I played with as kids.
So out came the old toy chest and – to my surprise and delight – the newer, shinier, fancier Christmas presents were eventually abandoned in favour of our old simple wooden classics. The ride-on trike, the hammer and peg board, the chunky racing cars, and the pull-along animals were always first out of the box.
It was so great to see the classics being played with again after all these years. It brought back some fabulous memories, I can tell you.
Admittedly they’re not all in the best condition. A bit of chipped or faded paint here, a bite mark from the family dog there. But overall still in good enough condition to keep a toddler entertained and stimulated for days on end. Considering they’re about 40 years old and been heavily played with by me, my elder siblings, my niece and nephew, and now my son, I’d say they have stood the test of time remarkably well.
As kids, we also had a whole variety of plastic, cuddly, electronic and even cardboard toys, but only a couple of these have made it to the next generation intact.
The whole experience has been a great reminder of why I don’t mind investing in good quality wooden toys.
Of course the many advocates for wooden toys have been saying this for years. And it’s thought that the more simple forms of wooden toys stimulate creative and imaginative play in a way that toys with all the bells and whistles aren’t able to. What’s more there are numerous environmental reasons for avoiding cheap plastic and throw-away electronics.
I do believe there is a place in the toy box for good quality plastic toys, especially from companies such as Zoë b Organic doing an amazing job with environmentally friendly plastics. Wooden beach and bath toys just aren’t the same!
But on the whole, I’m sticking with wood.
So when looking for children’s toys, consider how lovely it is to give a kid something solid and lasting that could even become an heirloom for their own children to play with.
EarthKid stocks a wide range of beautifully designed wooden toys. Classics and originals, stimulating, fun and educational – all are made from sustainable timber sources, all are high quality and reasonably priced, none of them will cost the earth.
Drop into the store to test them out or have a browse on our website.