Why wooden toys are better than plastic

Want to know the hard(wood) truth why wooden toys are better than plastic toys?

If productive, safe, and meaningful playtime for your children matters to you—in other words, playtime that provides your kids with the skills and knowledge that’ll help them succeed as they grow—consider these proven benefits in choosing wooden toys over plastic ones:

7 Reasons why wooden toys are better than plastic

A plastic toy car, broken into sharp pieces

👛 Wooden toys cost less over time

Wooden toys made of hardwood (like maple or beechwood) are durable and last much longer than plastic toys.

Plastic is brittle. It’s prone to chipping, cracking, and snapping. Every time you toss out a broken toy, that's your hard-earned cash going straight into the trash.

Broken toys also lead to inevitable tears of sadness and frustration streaming down the cheeks of your little one’s face as their favourite toy has become unplayable junk, doomed to the curb side for garbage pickup and gone forever.

Let’s be honest: are you willing to replace a plastic toy if the odds are high that it’ll just break again?

Although wooden toys can be a little more costly up front than plastic, you'll spend way less in the long-run on quality toys that last a lifetime, which means...

Toddler on a wooden toy rocking horse

💍 Wooden toys can become treasured heirlooms

Did you ever receive a toy that had been passed down from your parents or grandparents? If so, was that toy made of plastic? (Probably not.)

When I was 3 years old, my parents gave me a wooden rocking horse that my grandfather had made for my mother. I rode the heck out of that horse. In my imagination, I was a fearless cowgirl. I just loved it.

I’m proud, honoured, and privileged to be able to share the legacy and history of that rocking horse as my family tree branches out over time. I hope it’ll be loved by my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren (and so on) as much as I loved it as a child.

Investing in high-quality, durable wooden toys creates an opportunity for you to create priceless, treasured heirlooms that are passed on with love to the future generations of your family.

A little girl with pigtails and brown hair covering her mouth with her hands

👌 Toys made of wood are much safer than plastic

Not to sound alarmist, but I said I’d share the hard(wood) truth: plastic toys can be harmful in two ways.

Recall that plastic toys can split, crack, and chip, transforming them into objects with sharp edges and small pieces that can become a choking hazard. Ick. Not ideal for children under the age of 5!

There's also the harmful health effects of the chemicals used in the manufacturing of plastic toys. Phthalates (a chemical used to soften plastic toys) has been linked to developmental and behavioural issues in children, which is problematic for little ones who like to put toys in their mouths.

In contrast, wooden toys can withstand a child's mighty wallop. They're also made of safe materials and can go into mouthes without worry. Our toys are made of beechwood with environmentally-friendly, water-based finishes that are non-toxic.

Wooden toys can quell other worries, like ecological concerns, because...

A wooden globe in the hands of a toddler

🌱 Wooden toys are far better for the planet

It’s undeniable that plastic is a huge part of the toy industry. Ninety percent of toys include plastic and most of it is impossible to recycle. This plastic poisons marine life, it disrupts floral and faunal habitats, and it seeps into our groundwater.

Fewer wooden toys end up in landfills because they’re less likely to break. In the unlikely event that a wooden toy is broken and destined for the trash, it’s made of renewable materials that will biodegrade.

By purchasing a wooden toy that’s sustainably sourced, you’re no longer contributing to the growing problem of plastic waste. If you already choose wooden toys over plastic ones, take this moment to congratulate yourself. Be proud of your conscious choice to buy wooden toys because you are having a positive impact on the earth. And if you’re thinking about switching to wood, there’s no better time to start than right now.

If cost is a factor, wooden toys can also be bought second-hand. In other words, you’re reusing environmentally-friendly materials. It’s a triple-win for your kids, the planet, and your wallet.

Wooden blocks on the floor

🎨 Wooden toys make playrooms look like art

Plastic toys are just plain ugly. There, it's been said.

Whether it’s a playroom or your living room or your child’s bedroom, a room covered in tacky, garish, contrasting toys can be hard on the eyes.

And even when tidied away, plastic toys still make a room look... junky. When you’re in a space full of plastic toys, what words come to mind?

How about cluttered, awkward, stressful… The best you can do is come up with a storage bin system to hide away the mess.

On the other hand, wooden toys reflect the care and love that went into their creation. Simply put, they're beautiful and lovely to display. They're also often designed to be stackable and self-contained, making for easy, enjoyable clean-up.

Some parents might even find it therapeutic to help their kids tidy away coloured blocks, shapes, and puzzles.

Speaking of mental health benefits...

A toddler playing with wooden figurines

🧘🏿‍♀️ Wooden toys reduce children's anxiety

Research suggests that toy design promotes good mental health. Wooden toys that are aesthetically pleasing—toys with clean lines, precision, order, and muted colours—are actually soothing to the hands, eyes, and mind.

Their "softness" enables children to explore and play without being stressed or tired out from the overstimulation of bright plastics.

A 2017 study from the National Institutes of Health actually found that “contact with wood induces physiological relaxation.”

Try it for yourself: hold a wooden toy and close your eyes. Breathe deeply for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, and then exhale for 5 seconds. As you breathe in and out, focus on the feeling of the wooden toy in your hands. Are you feeling more relaxed than you did a few moments ago?

Wooden toys help promote a calm environment for learning and living, which is a huge benefit to the cognitive growth of small children. The result is a child quietly and deeply engulfed in quality, imaginative play.

A girl playing with wooden blocks

🏆 Wooden toys help your kids get ahead in life

Dr. Maria Montessori stated that, "Education begins at birth." This statement could not be more correct.

In your child's earliest years, every chance to play and explore is an opportunity for them to obtain knowledge and master skills that they'll need for the rest of their lives. And it takes the right tools to support building those skills.

A brief list of the educational benefits of wooden toys:

  • Wooden toys enable sensory development. The natural experience of interacting with and sensing surfaces, shapes, volumes, and weights helps your child's brain to develop complex neurological connections and boost memory.

  • Wooden toys promote creative play. Simple materials enable imagination, which allows children to process the world around them, whether they're pretending to be head chef at a Michelin restaurant or pushing a little wooden train along a cross-country adventure.

  • Wooden toys help teach cause & effect. For example, a small child pays attention to and grasps the logical connection between a toy being dropped and the sound it makes when it hits the floor. Noisy, flashy toys are distracting and can interfere with a child's ability to make these logical connections.

    Siblings playing with wooden toys together
  • Wooden toys promote cooperation, sharing, and teamwork. They create opportunities for families to team up and work together, like siblings or a parent and child that collaborate to build a block castle or solve a wooden puzzle.

  • Wooden toys help kids to master their fine motor skills. This is a very important foundational piece of a child's early years. Fine motor skills are the coordination of the hands and fingers with the eyes, which supports tasks like eating with cutlery, tying shoelaces, zipping up coats, and holding pencils.

  • Wooden toys encourage language development. The combined result of sensory development and creative play. These activities naturally lead to your child's desire to express themselves verbally, discuss topics and observations, and share their thoughts and feelings.

🪵 Quality over quantity

All in all, there are significant benefits that justify why wooden toys are better than plastic. Don’t be dissuaded by price or the idea that simplicity equals boring. There’s a lot of truth in the adage of quality over quantity.

Bring a wooden toy or two home for your children to see the difference for yourself. Your kids will thank you for it.