Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Are wooden toys worth the price?

I was tickled to find a few wooden toys for secondhand gifts--only because I've looked at the Waldorf education sites and noted how much more expensive the natural, less decorated toys are. My son still loves his teeny tiny German city set.

Which begs the question, oh mothers more experienced than I: Are the wooden toys worth the higher price? Is there truly something more valuable, developmentally, about playing with natural materials over plastic? Do wooden toys have higher quality or longevity? Do you ever worry that the labels aren't true and that paints might be lead-based, after all?

6 comments:

Sharon said...

There must be something about wooden toys. My daughter played with her wooden blocks for ages before she started playing with legos. I wouldn't worry about the lead paint or anything like that. With so many people suing others these days, I would think that most companies would be making things in a fashion so as to avoid any chance of being sued.

hsgbdmama said...

We have both wooden blocks and some Legos (the regular, Duplo and the Mega Blocks brand) and there is something special about the wood blocks -- how you can build them up and then knock them down. The physics that can be experimented with wooden blocks cannot be compared to plastic.

Chrissy said...

Definately yes to the longevity question! My third child is playing with my first child's wooden toys. And other than a few dings from being banged together, they're still going strong.

Anonymous said...

Well, we're Lego fans. They are in their own category. They are not "plastic", they are Lego : )

I lusted for wooden Waldorf-y toys when my children were small and before ever considering frugality. All I could "afford" (with non-frugal thinking of course) was plastic from Walmart. grrrrrr.

I have a friend who is a forester married to a surveyor. Almost everything they own is some natural material...wood, hemp, iron, etc. They even season and linseed oil their wood floors regularly, instead of staining and sealing with chemicals. Any painted wood in their home is because it's a vintage piece from someone else. Their babies always chewed on rubbed natural maple blocks instead of rattles. Their kids hammer and nail and build and carve like crazy. There is something wonderful and real about their lifestyle that makes me a little melancholy.

As for lead-based paint, I would assume that knock-off wooden items (from Target or Walmart) "made in China" or somesuch, would have questionable paints. But the German made toys would be more reliable, at least you could trace back to their roots. but i'm sure you already have thought of that!

debbie

Amy said...

I absolutely love wooden toys. It was a real treat this year when I saw that Walmart came out with tons of wooden toys in their Kid's Connection brand for very cheap. I got my daughter a wooden activity cube for a mere $28.

If you ever notice, there are rarely a ton of wooden toys at consignment shops, it is usually their plastic counterparts that are for sale. I think that says a lot! :)

Have a wonderful New Year, Meredith!

Honey said...

I've wondered the same thing. I keep our little wooden building blocks out of reach of our 2 year old; so they aren't as accessable as the larger plastic ones. I do notice the boys prefer the basic wooden alphabet blocks. We have more plastic than I know what to do with-so I am going to take down the wooden building blocks and see what happens...