Nov 18

Green parent – eco toys

takealongtoolkitWith world leaders meeting from every corner of the globe to discuss innovations in adapting to greener lifestyles, to city dwellers planting trees on their roofs to offset carbon emissions, the world is collectively embroiled in leading an eco-friendly existence. Many parents are recognising the importance of practising greener lifestyles, a trend which is reflected through the choice of toys parents are buying for their children.

Eco wooden toys are ethically sourced, safe and have environmentally-friendly credentials.

Wooden toys

For centuries, parents have used wooden toys to help keep their youngsters occupied and entertained and to assist with their physical and emotional development. We cannot ignore that despite the myriad of inexpensive plastic toys laden with fancy lights, noises and a bulk of batteries, some parents are turning their backs on these plastic toys in favour of traditional wooden ones.

There are several reasons as to why (despite the obvious attraction of the glitzy and glamorous plastic toys) wooden counterparts have experienced particular popularity in recent years.

Wooden toys allow children to create the scene themselves and make the sounds to accompany the play, thus promoting creativity. This contrasts to plastic toys which usually have noises incorporated thus stifling creativity.

Also parents have been propelled into abandoning plastic toys due to the potential of them containing dangerous chemicals in favour of wooden toys. The educational value of wooden toys can also not be ignored. Wooden puzzles, easels and building blocks all have many educational benefits such as developing young children’s creativity, cognitive and literacy skills.

Another reason is with all the inherent plastic and paper packaging and the pollution generated when disposing of plastic toys in landfill sites, the impact on the environment soon adds up. All of a sudden what seems like a small and innocent Barbie doll equates to a huge ecological burden. Green parents recognise the adverse impact plastic toys have on the environment and are opting to buy wooden toys. These toys have often been handmade by a local crafter or by companies which pride themselves on their ethical values. Without any plastic or polyester, many wooden toys are made from sustainable sources and therefore adhere to green parents’ commitment to buying toys that are eco-friendly.

Fair trade toys

By enabling people to use their resources and skills to trade their way out of poverty, fair trade products seek to improve the lives of local workers living in developing countries. Fair trade aims to create opportunities for poor producers, ensure trading practices are fair, to maintain safe working conditions and to ensure that children are not exploited.

Fair trade toys are typically made out of wood and are lovingly handmade and painted. Being made out of natural materials, parents can have peace of mind that the items they are giving their children are environmentally friendly and have been ethically produced. As well as being an eco-friendly choice, most fair trade toys have an educational value, designed to promote literacy, numeracy and creativity.

British made wooden toys

Recently there has been a renaissance with manufacturers bringing production back to the UK and also the increasing visibility of British made wooden toys with the Made in Britain symbol in the shops as well as in newspapers/magazines. One of the reasons is reducing the carbon footprint and also that the manufacturer can being assured of the source and quality of wood which ensures high quality and safe toys are manufactured.

Millhouse Healthy Eating Kitchen and Market Stall

This award-winning wooden kitchen and market stall is representative of the renaissance of an increased visibility of wooden toys made in the UK. Having a fully equipped kitchen on one side which transforms to a market stall when turned round, this multi-functional toy is perfect for encouraging interaction, role play and fun. What’s more being made out of wood, the Millhouse Healthy Eating Kitchen is a quality, long-lasting toy with an eco-friendly edge.

Traditional/retro toys

Retro and traditional toys will never be replaced by computer games and plastic toys, especially for parents who are green-minded. Instead of encouraging violence, retro toys instead encourage creativity and imagination. Many traditional/retro toys, such as mechanical cars, musical boxes and pogo sticks encourage a child to move around and play creatively.

The Slow Toy Movement

Since the Slow Toy Movement was launched in 2011, many parents have seen the benefits of buying toys that observe the movement’s mission -  to find ‘real toys’ that are “well made, good quality and most importantly give the freedom for creativity and encourage traditional play, without the distractions of flashing lights and electronic music.”

As Slow Toy Movement toys are not made out of plastic and are battery-free, these wonderfully traditional toys offer a modern twist on a classic toy and are a firm favourite for environmentally-friendly parents.

Safety, durability, getting value for money and being an environmentally-friendly choice are just a few of the many reasons why parents are returning back to simple wooden and retro toys.

For a diverse range of high quality wooden and traditional toys made from ethically sourced materials, visit Born To Toddle’s toys for children. Also go to our Pinterest boards for more inspiring ideas.

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