Updated: Jul 22, 2020
When my son was born 4 years ago, we didn't start out with wooden toys nor with a plastic-free mindset.
We were very fortunate initially to be given nearly everything we needed, from clothes to toys and more by generous friends. Everything was second-hand and we were grateful for their support in enabling us to focus on our new baby, without the stress of what we might need for the first year.
As we were handed bags of all that we could possibly want including a plethora of plastic toys, we were advised to, "get some rechargeable batteries, as you will get through many". The idea of repetitive sounds to irritate me for hours was uncomfortable to say the least, but we smiled and nodded in understanding. Children and noisy toys go hand in hand, or so we believed.
As my son approached his first Christmas and birthday and life with our child had become our norm, I knew I wanted something alternative to the garish plastic and irritating sounds that now surrounded us. Whilst my son had grown to love some, I was keen to remove as many as I could. I had now discovered the breadth and quality of wooden toys and brands available that aligned more with what I wanted for my son going forward. I was keen to create a different play environment in our home that felt more sensory and more calm, that offered more purpose for him than just passive engagement.
My son was beginning to explore his movement capabilities and was a keen stacker, so, using this observation as my starting point, I bought a wobble board and a rainbow.
My son enjoyed the sensation of 'climbing' and getting on and off the board. He preferred the balance board upside down initially.
Lots of plastic in the background and more that cannot be seen!
Even though my son was a keen 'stacker' and could build huge tall towers as high as he could reach, interestingly, he didn't use his new rainbow toy in this way at all! But that's the beauty of open-play wooden toys - used in ways you don't expect or predict!
And these two purchases were the changing point for me.
As a former teacher, I prefer the open-play and tactile nature of wooden toys which are predominantly designed with this in mind. I prefer the long term play value that wooden toys offer - we still have our balance board and we still have our rainbow, now used in my son's small world play (he still doesn't stack his rainbow!)
Best of all, we never did end up needing those rechargeable batteries!
*If you need help getting started or want to find out more about eco-friendly, wooden or open-play toys, head over to our Facebook Group 'Timeless Talk' where you can get advice and inspiration from me and other parents.