15 Wooden Toys Your Kids Will Actually Love
In an industry that’s still quite unregulated, a lot of potentially harmful ingredients can be found lurking in plastic toys, especially when they come from overseas. If you’re like us – after safe alternatives – then you’re going to want to check out these 10 wooden toys your kids will actually want to play with!
When buying new toys for our little ones, it’s easy to become entranced by shiny plastic, flashing lights, and other bells and whistles. Add to that our children’s demands for the latest fads (LOL Dolls, Beyblades and fidget spinners, anyone?), and it’s no wonder we end up with a living room full of broken plastic gadgets. The worst part: plastic toys can be full of harmful ingredients like lead, PVC, phthalates and bisphenols.
Even though the US has cracked down on the use of these ingredients in household paint and feeding products, they’re often wildly unregulated overseas and can be found contaminating other materials. Since most toys end up in your baby or child’s mouth, it puts them at risk for exposure to neurotoxins, carcinogens and endocrine disrupters.
Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives, starting with wooden toys.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- The benefits of wooden toys
- Chemicals to avoid in kids toys
- The best non-toxic wooden toys for kids
Scroll down to learn more!
The benefits of wooden toys
Wooden toys can seem old-school and simplistic compared to the latest generation of battery-operated gizmos, but modern play-based learning programs such as the Montessori Method and the Reggio Emilia approach emphasize the importance of simple and natural materials to enhance learning and discovery.
Here’s why we love them:
- Safer: They don’t break as easily as plastic toys, so they’re less likely to harm your child with small parts and jagged edges. They’re also less likely to contain unsafe dyes, paints and chemicals.
- Longer-lasting: Wooden toys rarely break or fade. They’ll not only be enjoyed by your children, but they can also be passed on to friends or handed down to future generations.
- Timeless: The classic designs and heirloom quality of wooden toys mean that even your great-grandchildren will delight in playing with them.
- Sustainable: Wood is natural, biodegradable and recyclable, whereas plastic ends up in landfills.
- Encourage creativity and stimulate the imagination: Whether they’re basic blocks or in the shape of everyday items, wooden toys encourage children to build, create and engage in imaginative play. These types of activities often simulate real-life situations and prepare them for the future.
- Develop reasoning skills and problem-solving: Wooden blocks and puzzles engage children and prompt them to use their reasoning skills as they build new structures and try to fit pieces together. Plastic toys with music, lights and audio commands result in much more passive play.
- Develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination: Stacking blocks, fitting wooden bricks together and stringing wooden beads all encourage the development of neural pathways between small hands and brains.
- Pleasing to the eye: Some wooden toys are so beautiful that they double as decorations in your home.
Chemicals to avoid in kids toys
As mentioned before, plastic toys can often be harboring dangerous chemicals. Even though wooden toys are a much safer option, you still want to ensure they haven’t been made with wood that contains formaldehyde nor any toxic finishes.
At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Safety Test. This means we’ve reviewed third-party testing, examined ingredients lists and asked in-depth questions about a product’s composition. To help keep your family safe, below is a list of ingredients we avoid and why:
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and very low levels can irritate and burn the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. Those with asthma may have exacerbation of symptoms when exposed to formaldehyde.
PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride, or vinyl, is an incredibly toxic chemical that is harmful to our bodies and to the environment right from the production phase through to disposal. It contains additives like phthalates, lead, cadmium, organotin that are quite toxic and have been linked to asthma, allergies, reproductive problems and cancer.
Many phthalates are known endocrine disruptors associated with asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity, type II diabetes, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.
BPA + BPS (bisphenols)
Bisphenols mimic the hormone estrogen and have been linked to prostate cancer, breast cancer, female infertility, and obesity. BPA is an especially dangerous endocrine disruptor since even small amounts of this chemical have been shown to cause serious reproductive damage, especially when the exposure occurs in utero.
Lead and other heavy metals
Exposure to heavy metals can cause nerve damage, learning and behavioral problems, reproductive damage and irreversible brain damage.
The best non-toxic wooden toys for kids
From an oversize outdoor block set to heirloom play food sets, the below toys are all Tot Safety Test approved and tried & trusted by parents at The Tot!
- Lead, phthalates and BPA?! Here are the Toxic Materials You’ll Be Shocked To Find In Toys
- Struggling to feel productive? Here’s How To Work From Home With Children During Isolation