Wood Toys: Safe for Kids and Eco Friendly
With the outrage of many about the high lead content and dangerous plastics our children’s toys are being made out of, why not choose a more safe and environmentally friendly option. Wood toys can be just that, much safer for children and don’t have the environmental impacts that plastic toys do.
Photo by naama.
Wood toys have been used by children for hundreds and even thousands of years dating back to the Egyptians and Ancient Greeks. Wood toys have found their way as a choice for making toys in many societies throughout history. Since then, other types of toys have taken the foreground incluing synthetic materials and plastics. Even with technology changes, wood toy manufacturing has almost been a constant throughout.
Why use Wood?
On the surface, using wood for toys seems wasteful and harmful to the environment. It is actually quite the contrary. Toys that are made from wood are now often made from renewable sources such as tree farms. Sustainable forestry methods are used to ensure that reforestation is possible while not compromising the quality of the environment. Toys made from plastic and other synthetic materials usually are not biodegradable and can leach chemicals into the environment.
The plastic toys that are heavily marketed to our kids these days may seem desirable to them at the time, but usually end up being unused or broke after just a short period of use. These toys are usually poorly made and usually end up in landfills. Some do end up in thrift stores to be either resold or given to other children, but can still be dangerous for other children to play with as I discussed above.
Safe For Kids
The fact that they are environmentally friendly and reusable are great, but the biggest reason to get wood toys for your children is for their safety. It is a natural item that does not have the dangerous attributes that plastics and other synthetic materials have. Wood also has no leaching properties and the only real danger with it is it’s harder than plastic. Many toys are still made with PVC plastic which is has leaching properties. Even if you child does not put the toy in their mouth, the fact that they could leaching harmful chemicals on their skin is reason enough to not give them these toys. What is scary is that Europe has banned toys being made with this type of plastic for years, but America and Canada continue to have toys made with phthalates in them. At least this upcoming act will ban toy makers from using PVC plastic in children’s toys.
Please do be careful with is that if you buy older wooden toys or make toys yourself though. Be sure to not buy wood that has been treated with any chemicals as it can be extremely dangerous for your child. Also, be careful with wooden toys because lead paint could have been used on them depending on where it was made.
Help Save Homemade Toys
There are a variety of wood toy makers and retailers, but almost all are smaller companies. Many of these companies are pushing for truly safer toys for our children and at the same time being more eco friendly. The upcoming Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act has caused concerned that many of these companies will not be able to survive because of the high cost to have their toys tested for lead. The Homemade Toy Alliance is urging all people to contact their local Congressional office and ask to change the CPSIA to exclude small toy makers and toys made with cloth from it. It just doesn’t make sense to include either of these in the act as small toy makers cannot afford the expensive tests required and clothing is a different product from wha the act is trying to target.
Make Your Own Toys
I found a great site called Wood Marvels that helps you make you own toys. This allows you to choose the exact wood you would like your child’s toys to be made with. They sell the blueprints for a wide variety of toys and also sell those same toys in a variety of sizes.
Wood Toy Makers
There are tons of wood toy makers out there that make wood toys from small to large. Just make sure to find ones that obtain their wood from sustainble sources or is organic. Here are a few I found:
- Eco Tots – Have large selection of wooden toys that are organic and use environmentally friendly practices.
- Classic Wood Toys – Makes their wood toys from recovered wood.
- Holtziger -Eco-friendly wood toys from Germany.
Wood Toy Sellers
As with the toy makers, there are plenty of wood toy retailers, but be sure that the toys they sell are made from sustainable wood. Here are a few wood toy sellers:
- HazelNut Kids -Has a huge range of wood and cloth toys from manufacturers all over the world.
- Child Trek -One of the top natural toy retailers in the country
- Natural Pod -Nice selection of natural toys made mainly from wood and cloth.