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Why Wooden Toys Are Better Than Plastic Toys

We want the best for our kids, but what if you’re just not sure what’s really the “best” when it comes to toys?

Think about it… When you’re shopping for a toy for a child you love, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself in the random aisle of a big box store (or on Amazon), overwhelmed by the choices in front of you.

And chances are your kiddo will be attracted to the flashiest, busiest, most expensive item they’ve seen on commercials or YouTube ads. Here’s looking atyou, L.O.L Dolls.

All-to-often, durable and timeless wooden toys go overlooked. We’re tearing up just thinking about it….

But hear me out. And no, it’s not just the “crunchy lady” inside of me talking to you right now. It’s the mother in me, because I want you to be purchasing toys that aresafe, toys that will stand the test of time, and toys that your child will love now and into their adult life. One of the best parts about high quality wooden toys is that they double as heirloom pieces to be passed down to other siblings and even to future generations.

So let’s make the switch to plastic-free toys and embrace classic wooden toys with basic packaging over the ‘batteries required’, the flashy colors, and the cheap and flimsy pieces destined to fall off!

And here’s why...

Why Wooden Toys?


Okay, mama. You know that one Taylor Swift song on the radio every 30 minutes a few years ago? About how she and some guy will never go out of style? Well, that’s the same idea around wooden toys.They never go out of style.

That’s why there is RARELY any major commercial hype around wooden toys because they’re enjoyed for generations. They’re not a quick cash grab that you’ll throw out and replace every season like all the plastic fads that get buried in new products each and every year. First it was Shopkins, now it’s L.O.L. Dolls, and what does the future hold for the plastic toy market? Who knows. And honestly, who cares?

There are many reasons wooden toys are better (not only for your child, but for the environment as well):

  • They’re long-lasting and more durable.
  • They cause less waste than plastic toys.
  • They’re biodegradable. AtSmiling Tree Toys this is something that is so important to us! So we use the finest in American grown hardwoods, primarily maple, cherry, and walnut. We source FSC-certified (sustainably harvested) or locally grown woods whenever possible for all of our teethers, rattles, wood blocks, and all the rest of our toys. (Side note, in the spirit of full transparency: Some of our décor pieces are crafted from wood veneer with a fiberboard core.  This is a material we carefully source from the greenest manufacture in the USA so that we are certain it’s a safe and green materials for your kids and the earth.) We use non-toxic wood glue on toys requiring assembly, and the organic finish on our toys is 100% safe and edible.  
  • They’re safer for your children. The truth is that good quality, eco-friendly wooden toys don’t contain PVC, phthalates, or similar chemicals used in plastic toys. Now, I’m not saying all wooden toys are safe so you have to do your due diligence and be aware of low quality, chemically treated wood. Some wooden toys are made from plywood full of toxic glues and formaldehyde. 

Wooden Toys are Low Cost for High Quality

wood toys for kids and babies handmade kids gifts natural safe Smiling Tree Toys

Want to start dipping your toes in eco-friendly soil? Then solid wooden toys allow you to do just that (even if you’re on a budget). AtSmiling Tree Toys, we make wooden toys at affordable prices, and we have also partnered with Trees for the Future because we believe in consciously creating high quality, natural wooden toys that actually give back to the earth. So yep! We plant a tree for every toy we sell through our Buy. Plant. Grow. initiative.

Plus, less can be more. We believe that fewer high-quality, long-lasting toys is better than countless cheap, plastic, breakable toys that never last.  Let’s focus on memory making with our kids, on learning and laughing and growing alongside them rather thanall. the. stuff. the big corporate brands want you to believe your kids need for a happy childhood.

Wooden Toys Are Fun AND Educational


I’m sure you know this already but when children are playing with toys, they aren’t just keeping busy; they’re doing some serious learning, too. Many studies have found that unstructured playtime (e.g. open-ended, simple wooden toys, for example) is both valuable and favored over structured play. 

Let your children’s imagination soar as they play with toys that don’t have an obvious, single use.

Picture this... A toddler playing with wooden animal alphabet blocks. They’re sitting cross-legged on the floor building the blocks into the shape of a zoo while simultaneously reading aloud that A is for aardvark, and B is for beaver...

Wooden toys give your child the permission he or she needs to dream up their own ideas and learn from them!

Plastic Toys Interfere With Your Child’s Development

Ready for a serious truth bomb? It’s all those trendy, lights-flashing, music-playing toys - the ones that claim to stimulate learning in your child - that are worst for your child’s health and cognitive development.

These over-commercialized, plastic toys packed with some sort of electronic element offer very little in the way of creative play.

Plastic toys can even interfere with your child’s development, despite the manufacturer’s claims. Yep, I said it. It’s no joke that over-stimulation can lead to negative neural impact, making it more difficult for the brain to think critically.

Seek out educational wooden toys that will keep your little ones stimulated and engaged whilesafelydeveloping their minds and motor skills.

Why You Should Make The Switch To Plastic-Free Toys

Wooden Coat Hooks Personalized with Name for jackets backpacks toys decor in Playroom Entryway Smiling Tree Toys - @rebecca_kearns

Developmental issues aside, many plastic toys can be harmful to your children (as well as the environment).

You may be aware of the boatload of reports linking hormone disruption with the chemical bisephenol A (BPA) which is commonly used in plastics. Insert gag reflex here because this is just one of the many chemicals found in plastic toys. Ugh.

So how do you know if your playroom containsany safe varieties of plastic? Check out these wake-me-up truths in another post I’ve shared about how to green and simplify your playroom

Wooden Toys - Why Basic Is Better

Spell Well Name Puzzle handmade wooden toy for one year olds Smiling Tree Toys @rileyandchayce

Mama, a toy doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. We live in a world where your kids have their entire adult lives to engage with all the handheld electronic devices. And they probably will. So let’s give them a safe and healthy start in life; one that includes natural, long-lasting wooden toys to promote learning, inspire creativity, and let their imaginations run wild.

Choosing between wooden or plastic toys shouldn't be an all-or-nothing approach. Just get started. Make a point to celebrate their next birthday with our best selling Spell Well Name Puzzles, tuck a wooden Old School Truck into their Easter basket, or add monogrammed toy crate and picture alphabet blocks under the tree the next time Santa comes around.

Wait, you’re not the only one who buys your kids gifts, right? Want the grandparents, god parents, and aunties to also choose wooden toys over the plastic stuff? Read up on our tips for politely requesting plastic-free toys, where you’ll not only advice on bringing up the subject with other gift givers, but also our playful, yet to-the-point rhymes for requesting plastic-free gifts on your next birthday or baby shower invite.

You don’t have to make the switch alone, mama! We want to support you in this transition to plastic-free toys, so come join our "fun-loving, tree-hugging" community of moms on IG (@smilingtreetoys).

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