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To think wooden toys aren't necessarily better than plastic

(170 Posts)
BleepingSooty Wed 24-Oct-12 06:55:32

I was reading a blog where the author told a story about how she had an unexpected visitor and was worried because her son's toys were still lying out in the living room. Rather than be put out by the mess, the visitor praised her for being such an excellent mother for buying her son wooden toys. She then went on to list the benefits of wooden toys and how they last longer and have more educational value. She did make an exception for Lego.

Now, my kids are very hard on their toys so I feel somewhat qualified in this subject. We have had a mixture of wooden toys and plastic, cheap toys and expensive (mostly gifts) and I have to say I see no difference. The wooden toys break just as much as the plastic ones. We especially have problems with paint flaking off. I also don't get how wooden toys have more educational value at all.

I know I probably should have written this on her blog but don't want to upset her. And yes, her blog is a tad self absorbed but I love reading it!

GwendolineScaryLacey Wed 24-Oct-12 07:01:18

It's a nonsense. Wooden toys look more olde worlde and therefore more 'intelligent' and more expensive. They might be more expensive alright but children love coloured plastic. Unless its a railway track or some such, wooden toys are a bit dull for them. Might as well give them a lump of coal wink

catgirl1976 Wed 24-Oct-12 07:01:19

I like the look of the wooden ones better.

DS likes plastic tat though...the boy has no taste <shrug> grin

PosieParker Wed 24-Oct-12 07:03:13

I think you, generally, have more room for imagination with wooden toys and they last better.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Wed 24-Oct-12 07:04:12

Wooden toys that are of half decent quality are so expensive, and are therefore considered to be better quality, and more educational blah blah blah. Nonsense. It is snobbery and elitism, says me, the socialist in the making.


quesadilla Wed 24-Oct-12 07:05:51

Of course they are not better than plastic ones. Its stealth snobbery wrapped up in a very thin gauze of pretending there's some educational/health superiority (like so many other modern parenting canards.)

forevergreek Wed 24-Oct-12 07:08:23

Most are deemed more educational as they have to use their imagination more. You don't really get many wooden things that light up/ talk so have to create events in their heads themselves

Also to do with natural textures etc ( but most kids even with 100% plastic toys still experience natural fibres through other ways ie outdoor play)

silverten Wed 24-Oct-12 07:09:18

It depends I think on the actual toy.

Some plastic stuff is basically a miniature version of adult items with no actual features other than resembling an item (so you don't even need an imagination!) some of it is fine.

Likewise some wooden stuff is great because the lack of sophistication means the child has to make a bit of an effort with it. But some is rubbish that's jumped on the bandwagon. DD has an alphabet jigsaw that is very poorly made, so much so that it is possible to force the pieces together in the wrong order, and the font is such that you can easily get letters mixed up. Not a good toy.

What I do like about wooden stuff is that it is rather more mendable- often once plastic stuff breaks, that's it, straight in the bin.

quesadilla Wed 24-Oct-12 07:11:56

sorry but this idea that wooden toys allow more to the imagination just doesn't stand up for me. Why should the material from which a toy is fabricated have such a crucial impact on the look, if you can paint the surface, or put lights and noises and buttons into wooden toys just as easily as you can plastic ones? (the child doesn't even know what the material is).

xkcdfangirl Wed 24-Oct-12 07:14:15

I like wooden toys because they are more environmentally friendly. the amount of landfill occupied by plastic toys which were played with till they broken but which will last for thousands of years before they degrade must be horendous, but wood is just part of the natural bio-cycle. I don't think the toys are intrinsically better during the time they are being actively played with though.

Lavendersbluedillydilly1969 Wed 24-Oct-12 07:21:42

I like the look of wooden toys but all my DC preferred the most colourful plastic stuff over it any day. In the end it was better for us because plastic tends not to hurt so much if it's thrown at you and if it got left out in the garden or put in the bath it wasnt wrecked.
Each to their own but I do hate the snobbery over it. A toys a toy and if a child likes it that's what counts.

AThingInYourLife Wed 24-Oct-12 07:23:32

" think you, generally, have more room for imagination with wooden toys"

What impact can the material a toy is made from possibly have on the "room for imagination" (whatever that might be) of a child who plays with it?

If it's the lack of features, then by that argument no toys at all leaves the most "room for imagination".

Arrant bullshit.

It's just prejudice described using words stripped of any meaning.

Plastic is a wonderful material and many of the best toys are made from it.

pigletmania Wed 24-Oct-12 07:24:13

Adults-wooden toys
Kids-plastic tat

pigletmania Wed 24-Oct-12 07:25:58

My ASD dd does not like wooden toys. Tbh not all plastic is tat some of the loud toys are quite educational

greenbananas Wed 24-Oct-12 07:30:09

Well, I vowed when pregnant that DS would have lovely, hippy-looking wooden toys, but of course we actually have a whole house full of plastic (lots of it bought from charity shops and also lots from birthdays and Christmasses).

I'm a childminder, and there are loads of children that play in my house. All the children that come here love the plastic.

The true test of a good toy is how much play value it has, and not what it is made of. I do worry about all the plastic going into landfill, but we get round this by charity-shopping and giving stuff away.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Oct-12 07:31:11

There is a load of nonsense talked about it! All that matters to the child is 'is it good play value?' They will play with it if it has and discard it if it hasn't. It is sad that adults put whether it is aesthetically pleasing to them as the main priority and then pass it on to the child as 'nurturing for the soul'. Someone who had only wooden toys thought that children grew out of toys aged about 7 yrs- which of course they would if only offered wood! They can play with all sorts, cardboard boxes, saucepans etc.
It is sheer toy snobbery and something else for a mother to feel guilty about! I think every DC has some lovely wooden toy that sits, looking good, on a shelf but is never played with. That is not to say that there are not excellent wooden toys around, with lots of play value.
Ignore anyone who is anti other materials- DCs don't have adult tastes - all that counts is what the child likes.

Brycie Wed 24-Oct-12 07:31:23

Quite, greenbananas. They are the toys one imagine one will buy. Sensible people get over that pretty damn quick.

Boomerwang Wed 24-Oct-12 07:31:29

I wanted it to be all wooden toys but my kid likes the noisy bright plastic stuff and I'll give her what she likes.

pigletmania Wed 24-Oct-12 07:32:52

I agree Athing. This are great, kept dd entertained nicely when young, allowed me time to do chores. Love fisher price, Vtech, can't beat those noisy colourful, stimulating plastic toys. Dd had a noisy phonics toy which was wonderful to support what I was trying to teach her. She knows all her phonics at 4 btw, and she as ASD dev delay

pigletmania Wed 24-Oct-12 07:34:47

Exactly green, charity shop and recycling are great. No toys as been thrown away unless it's broken same for a wooden toy

EugenesAxe Wed 24-Oct-12 07:36:57

Reminds me of that person who posted about a PFB moment in another mother who yelled over 'Only play with the wooden toys! The wooden toys!'

Nuts - cracked me up that anecdote (no pun intended there).

exoticfruits Wed 24-Oct-12 07:37:16

Car boots are great too.

AThingInYourLife Wed 24-Oct-12 07:38:10

The worst are those expensive wooden toys that would obviously be so much better made from plastic but aren't to satisfy the prejudice/interior design preferences of my family middle class snobs.

It reminds me of the ridiculous nonsense you see sometimes where BLW extremists try to figure out how to feed their child soup without using a spoon.

I think it's the rejection of perfectly useful tools I find so funny.

AThingInYourLife Wed 24-Oct-12 07:42:49

I never had any notions about my children playing with wooden toys.

Why would I deny my children access to one of humankind's greatest technologies?

SminkoPinko Wed 24-Oct-12 07:43:12

I agree. Wood looks nice but is a key element of very, very few of the greatest toys, imo. Brio type train tracks are possibly the only must have exception that proves the rule. Some kids like dolls houses with wooden furniture too, I guess, but often as a short lived thing carried off mostly by parental enthusiasm! And show me a child who genuinely prefers those wooden peg doll things over a quality plastic Happyland person, little people, playmobil or Lego mini fig, etc and I will be very surprised! Wood is not as good as metal for scooters, bikes and ride ons, loses big-time to plastic when it comes to fantastic construction toys like Lego and k'nex, is rubbish for dolls and soft toys, has no place in the great electronic toys, and if I had the time I could go on... Even plastic yoyos are better than wooden ones these days. The best use for wood when it comes to children's toys is to pulp it into paper and make lots of lovely books and pokemon/top trumps/yugioh/ etc cards, which children truly enjoy. No one keeps up the buying only wooden toys thing much past early toddlerhood because they realise that their children will hate them and burn their (very flammable) playhouse down in protest.

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