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How To Make Playtime Plastic-Free

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Kathleen, you’re being a crunchy tree-hugger again!”

But hear me out… if you’re tired of staring at all of the battery powered, noisy, flashy, and overly stimulating toys currently scattered across your living room floor, then keep reading.

You can make playtime plastic-free.

*cue the motivational music*.

No matter if you’re years and years into purchasing plastic toys or just beginning your wooden toy buying journey, I’ve got some simple ways for you to convert playtime into a plastic-free zone.

Before we dive into the HOW to make the switch to plastic-free toys, check out why wooden toys are better than plastic toys in one of our previous blogs. Think of it as the ultimate guide to really educating yourself on the pros and cons…well, actually just the cons of plastic toys.

Now, let’s get into it.

Going Plastic-Free At Playtime

Where to begin? We’ve taken several common household toys (that are typically plastic) and with a swish of our wooden, handcrafted wand transformed them into eco-friendly, wooden alternatives that will stand the test of time.

This change doesn’t have to happen overnight. It can be a slow process that takes time, but I promise you it will be worth it!

4 Common Plastic Toys That Can Easily Be Transitioned from Plastic to Wood



These things have been around for ages, but not necessarily in the way you think. Rattles today often come entirely in plastic, and usually have lights, maybe sing songs and buttons, noise makers and gadgets… OH MY!

You can easily swap a plastic rattle for a wooden rattle and have a beautiful heirloom toy that your little one can treasure for years. Smiling Tree rattles are softly curved, easy to grasp, and finished with our organic oil blend. They’re the perfect combination of cute, safe and engaging for any little one learning to grasp and shake. Listen to their sweet, gentle rattling sound right here!

Stackers and Stacking Cups

Square stacker wooden stacking toy educational handmade toy gift for one year olds @thesmittyfamgram Smiling Tree Toys.jpg

Even I remember having these as a kid… that’s how long parents have been buying stacking cups. LOL!

What’s great about stacking toys is that they can teach your child(ren) fine motor skills; however, what’s not so great is that they tend to be made of plastic that cracks overtime. Swap this toy with our Wooden Stacking Toy and our Smiling Moon Balancer for long-lasting toys that provide fine motor skills benefits and more!


Elephant Teether personalized teething toy for 3 month old babies handmade natural teething relief @darlingwilds Smiling Tree Toys.jpg

Teethers are another common item found in one’s playroom. The difference here is that these toys are literallymeant to be put in your baby’s mouth.

Our teethers at Smiling Tree are perfect and safe for teething babies! We have a wide range of shapes from letters, to states, to animals, and objects to choose from and we take pride in knowing your little one can safely chew away.

Toys On Wheels


This can be a tricky one because there are just so. many. options.

From push toys to remote control trucks, there are a TON of these kinds of toys on the market. 

But, again, let’s scale back and remember what’s at the heart of why kids love these so much - the fact that they move! Kids love to chase, pull, and push toys around that can actually go somewhere. And for that, we’ve got you covered.

One of our best sellers, the old-school truck is sure to be a hit along with our sweet little love bug car and our classic racer. If you’re looking for something safe for the littlest crawlers, check out our wooden bunny push toy.


This is by no means a comprehensive or a complete list of ways to choose wooden toys overany plastic toys, but it’s a start. And that’s what matters! It’s all about making the choice everyday to make the best decisions for your kids and their playtime, mama. 

So start small. Start simple. Just start, my friend! Questions? Comments? DM me on Instagram. I’m here for you!

FREE GUIDE: How to Politely Request Plastic-Free Toys

If you need help convincing your family to support you in buying wooden toys for your children for their birthdays or holidays, have a look at our FREE HOW TO POLITELY REQUEST WOODEN TOYS guide. It’s all about how to gently ask for plastic-free toys, and comes packed with how to bring up this sometimes sensitive topic with family, playful rhymes for your party invites, and plastic-free children’s brands we recommend (with exclusive discount codes!).

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