Why wooden toys are worth paying more for

December 10, 2014

Looking for chemical-free, long-lasting toys for your children? Discover why wooden toys are worth the extra cost.

Why wooden toys are worth paying more for

Growing awareness

Since 1998, Health Canada has been issuing warnings about the use of chemicals that are harmful to the health of children, and despite these warnings, some dangerous substances continue to be used in the manufacturing of toys. The first to be singled out were some plastic toys containing phthalates, which are endocrine disrupters, and carcinogenic heavy metals. The Canadian Cancer Society emphasizes that although toys sold in Canada should no longer contain certain types of phthalates, "these guidelines are not legally binding, and the manufacturers are not required to follow them."

Wooden toys are an environmentally responsible option

Because they’re made with natural materials, wooden toys are more environmentally friendly and are better made than toys designed from petroleum derivatives such as PVC. Wooden toys are timeless and can be passed on between siblings or from one generation to another. And lastly, the oils and dyes used in “natural” wood toys are generally safe for your health. Too good to be true? Almost. Here are some tips that will help you make the best choices.

  • Choose solid wood toys, as some puzzles are made from plywood that contains formaldehyde, a carcinogenic and potentially irritating substance.
  • Choose untreated wooden toys and toys that are unvarnished.
  • Look for certifications such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is your guarantee that the wood comes from a forest that is sustainably managed.

Mini shopping guide

Pleasant to the touch, skilfully decorated and with their distinct natural scent, wooden toys are perfect for awakening the senses of your children in a fun and educational way. Here are some examples:

  1. Push-bikes or balance bikes are made without pedals and help develop your child’s motor skills.
  2. Construction games boost dexterity.
  3. Dollhouses suit children who enjoy making up stories and playing Dad and Mom.
  4. Puppets develop the mind and the creativity of children and adults, alike.
  5. Pets on wheels make perfect companions for little ones.
  6. Music boxes delight young music lovers and gently help them fall asleep.

You may feel that all these beautiful toys do have one drawback, especially if they’re locally made: their price. They generally cost a bit more if they’re made by hand, although these days you can also find imported mass-produced wooden toys as well. Either way, they tend to last much longer than plastic toys, making them gifts that last a lifetime. And that’s worth it in the long run.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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