We all want only the best for our children, but sometimes the definition of “best” gets influenced by what’s in the media and all around us. Toy companies have a way of making every one of their products sound like the best thing ever. What should we look for when selecting toys?
In today’s complex world, it’s better to keep it simple and as natural as possible when it comes to toys. Wooden, cotton and wool toys with natural dyes are some of the safest among commonly available materials. As with food, it’s good to buy local: Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint by cutting down on transportation costs, you’ll be supporting your local community as well. Even better: Make some toys yourself at home. Your child will receive a true original that will have personal meaning–and that is priceless!
What are some of the advantages of basic natural toys?
- They help develop motor skills.
- They help encouraging child’s imagination.
- With no chemicals involved, safe on their developing gums and teeth.
- They’re 100% natural and often made with scraps from other products, so they’re sustainable.
Why opt for natural materials?
- Be green: No processing and mass production = no negative impact on our environment.
- Teaching kids about where we get natural materials helps kids understand and respect nature.
- They create curiosity and creativity rather than passive play.
- Help support small businesses.
If you decide to try your hand at making your own toys (or if you’re crafty and already do so), you can control how simple or complex to make them. And you’ll definitely enjoy the process.
What basic tools do we need?
- For making wooden toys: hand saw, drill, hammer, chisel, wood file and a variety of sandpapers; choose softer woods like pine to make the crafting process easier.
- For making cloth toys: sewing set including a variety of needles, thread, yarn, buttons, ribbons.
Handmade toys that have a functional use are educational as well. Be creative and inspire others!
A few handmade and natural toy resources and ideas: