Monday, July 7, 2014

Bring back the classic toys!



I started looking at baby and children's toys before my son was born (who doesn't?!) and was just a little dismayed by some of the selection available. Everything that I saw looked like cheap plastic that would inevitably break 6 months after purchase. It all looked tacky and flimsy and just... unappealing to me. Perhaps I am the only one, but I prefer the toys I remember from when I was a kid. The wooden blocks, abacuses, lincoln logs, stacking rings, train sets, etc. Sure, I had lots of the plastic stuff too - but those aren't the toys I remember as vividly. They didn't last as long and for whatever reason, I don't remember them being as much fun. Also, they look so busy and complicated sometimes. There's often a lot going on on just the one toy and it makes my head hurt. I like simpler toys that allow for some creativity and don't burn your retinas. Plus, both the classic and newer wood toys are more unique - not every kid is going to have that exact toy.


I'm sure part of the argument behind all these cheap plastic toys is that they're easier to disinfect. Which is fine for daycares and preschools, but most of us aren't running one, so your little tyke isn't likely to have 30 different kids' germs all over his toys.






















There's just something sentimental to me about those wooden toys. Even the brand new ones on the market today have a vintage feel to them, and look a little like family heirlooms - like something you'd find in your grandmother's attic. There are vintage plastic toys - but they seem more durable than the mass-market plastic toys available today.

I was able to find some cool wooden toys on Zulily - which I have blogged about many times before. It's really one of my favorite online shops - I always find new products I have never seen before plus good deals on brands I already know and love. I found a neat wooden ball toy and cute wooden dinosaur puzzle. There was a sale on Eric Carle products in celebration of the Very Hungry Caterpillar's birthday - and I picked up a hungry caterpillar wooden stacking ring toy.



Thanks to Zulily, I also was introduced to the brand Green Toys, which makes toys out of 100% recycled plastic - milk jugs to be specific. I saw them at Pottery Barn Kids the other day too, and they appear thicker and more well-made than a lot of the cheap stuff you can find at Walmart and Toys R Us (not that there's anything wrong with either of those stores!) Plus, they're made in the US - California to be specific - and are sold in 100% recycled cardboard packaging with no plastic twist ties or cellophane.



I have a cart full of wooden toys on Zulily right now. Not that I'll be buying them... my boy won't be playing with trains any time soon!





Another place to look for durable, classic wooden toys is Etsy. There are a lot of shops that make handmade wooden toys - like these gems. 

Cute wooden tooth teether toy from Little Sapling Toys
"magic beans" from Apple n Amos
Wooden telephone from Goshen Pickers
Cheeky little wood cellphone teether from 3 Princesses







I don't know about you, but as for me, I will be essentially boycotting all of the cheap plastic junk available on the market today (as much as possible) and will instead be opting for more durable, long-lasting wood and handmade toys. I love Etsy, so I will also be supporting small businesses! I just took up sewing, so I may even try to sew my own toys down the road.
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