Play is crucial for a child’s growth and development because it helps develop a wide range of qualities. One of the best ways to help your child develop their social skills is by interacting with others during play. Moreover, it contributes greatly to the physical, cognitive, and emotional well being of a child. Play offers an opportunity for parents to engage fully with their little ones.
During play, your child will learn how to follow instructions, lead, negotiate, share, and be a part of a group. All these are essential skills that will determine the academic performance and life satisfaction of your child in the future.
When buying toys like a clutching toy for example, for your little ones, you can either buy a wooden type or a plastic one. But are there any good reasons for you to make an effort to buy wooden educational toys when plastic toys are so affordable and easy to find? For most educators and parents, the answer is yes!
8 Benefits Of Buying Wooden Toys Over Plastic Toys
One of the biggest concerns around choosing plastic toys is that they easily break, thus leaving sharp edges that may harm your child. Normally, wooden toys are more durable.
Wooden toys are a better option for infants as well. Since they often stick toys in their mouth, wood is indeed a safer alternative to plastic or metal. Therefore, if you are worried about the safety of your child each time they play with their toys, it is a better option for you to give them high-quality wooden toys.
Apart from being robust, wood is a resilient material. It has a long lifespan so it can be passed on to younger siblings, relatives or friends. It may even become a family heirloom.
Wooden toys are known to have a long life and are unlikely to break after weeks. Thus, you will certainly get good value and life out of these excellent toys.
3. Encourages Imaginative Play
There are plenty of wooden toys that help encourage imaginative play. For instance, your child can make their own delectable food and beverages at their pretend kitchen to serve to the family. Or perhaps they could sell some groceries at their pretend store with their wooden cash register. Activities like these will inspire your little ones to role play. Also, it allows them to engage in meaningful activities that will help prepare them for the future.
Role-play and imaginative play will stimulate different types of intelligence and assist in enhancing cognitive ability. Several studies have revealed that play “rewires” the brain as it changes the connections of different neurons in the prefrontal cortex. So without experiences of free play, such connections won’t be changed.
Furthermore, pretend play builds skills in areas that must be developed in a child’s life; which include development of language skills, emotional skills, and thinking skills.
4. Helps Build Problem-Solving and Reasoning Skills
Wooden toys do not have electronic parts or voice commands that will instruct your child on what to do. Thus, this allows them to use their own reasoning skills when deciding which activities they should undertake using that certain toy. Things like puzzles or blocks will also help them in developing their problem-solving skills.
5. Tactile And Strength Building
Since wooden toys are heavier in comparison to plastic ones, it enables your child to become more aware of what their hands are doing. This is beneficial for children with delayed development of fine motor skills or those with sensory disorders.
Your child will also need to exert more effort to move a wooden car’s wheels as opposed to playing with light-weight plastic counterparts.
6. Aesthetically Appealing
Classic wooden toys have a timeless look and feel. Most have simple designs that allow your child to fill in the details using their imagination. Some wooden toys are also based on famous characters from video games to cartoons which keep them from being perceived as old-fashioned.
Classic wooden alphabet sets, bead sets, puzzles, and slates are just as educational as their electronic counterparts without the need for expensive batteries. Also, your child will enjoy the added benefit of having to exercise their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills with these traditional types instead of pressing buttons.
While your kids are still young, get your hands on wooden blocks for them to play with. This will help develop their creativity since they can make whatever they desire. Numbered blocks are great options for younger children since they help develop numeracy skills. Other toys will also encourage your child to learn the names of animals.
Eventually, most of your child’s toys will end up in the environment. Remember that wood is biodegradable but plastic is not. Instead of filling the landfills with unnatural, man-made products, you can buy toys for your child that will give back to the environment. Wood is recyclable as well. Each time you give your child high-quality wooden toys, you also consider the future of the environment.
Today, Mother Earth needs all the help she can get. The misuse and abuse of resources have put the planet in a huge mess, but you can make an effort to stop the detriment. Though it can be difficult to make a significant difference as a single person, conserving the resources and opting for eco-friendly products like wooden toys is among the best ways for you to participate in the preservation of the ecosystem.
There are indeed many benefits offered by wooden toys; from being durable to being safer and eco-friendly, as well as being a great source of imaginative play. These toys are not just beautiful but are long-lasting as well. Also, they are easy to clean, practical, and chemical-free. Most importantly, these are hypo-allergenic.
Instead of having your child on the latest smartphones for entertainment, these eco-friendly toys will help them get creative and be involved in pretend play for several hours. To keep them active, you can also get them a wooden bike – this is an excellent way to let them out into the garden to have some exercise.
As a parent, you should always consider your child’s future. Nothing is wrong with exposing them to technology but for their early years, it is crucial for them forge their own personality and develop their skills. So give them wooden educational toys now! This is definitely an investment that you won’t regret.
About The Author
Sreeya Patil Wiesner is the founder of EcoToys. She started her online toy store with an aim to provide healthy, safe and eco-friendly wooden toys to kids 0-6 years of age in the UAE.
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Also published on Medium.