The Importance of Play for Children

Which Is The Best Toys? Wooden Toys Or Plastic Toys

Toys w & pNow, I must admit I do spend a lot of time on various ‘mums groups’ on Facebook and the internet and although this debt doesn’t come up as much as others (breastfeeding or bottle feeding is probably the most common), it does come up.


Which are better, wooden toys vs. plastic toys?


I think a new modern twist on this would probably be toys vs. screen time; however, I am planning to cover screen time later, so I will omit screens altogether (however for the record I am not against screens).


Wooden vs. plastic


In my opinion, neither is better. My son has a large variety of toys both plastic and wooden and he does not really seem to care what a toy is made of, he just wants to play. As a parent, this makes me happy and I can see that he gets a lot out of all the toys that he does play with.


Overall, I believe in everything in moderation, I do not really understand why it has to be all or nothing. To my son, a toy is a toy, as a parent I can see learning opportunities with all his toys. At the end of the day, that is all play is, an opportunity for children to learn.


That is the end goal, for your child to learn, grow, and develop into functioning members of society.


Plastic toys


Now, whilst I will admit plastic toys are generally nosier and annoying, there are also many good sides to them.

plastic train

Plastic toys are generally cheaper, and I put this down to the fact that there are loads of them. They are also easier to clean, just get some Dettol or something (I love Dettol Wipes) and they are clean! Plastic toys also come in a huge variety of different sizes, shapes, and colours and they can pretty much make plastic do absolutely anything.


I think the most annoying thing to me about plastic toys is how flimsy they can be, seriously. The amount of plastic crap we have had to throw away because my son has effortlessly managed to break it is ridiculous. My son, despite our best efforts to try to teach him to be, is not gentle with his toys. Therefore, I do believe toys, especially toddler toys or preschool toys should be very durable.

plastic lego

Wooden toys


I like wooden toys; they just have a nice distinct look to them. Many people seem to see them as dated or old-fashioned but if you follow trends, retro is back!

wooden bricks

My point above about how toys, especially those for toddlers or preschoolers should be durable. Wooden toys are extremely durable, my son is yet to be able to snap any of his wooden toys in half. I think that fact that wooden toys are seen as old-fashioned is kind of testament to how durable they are as generally you think of wooden toys that have been passed down over the years.


I think the biggest reason people prefer wooden toys over plastic toys is environmental factors, wooden toys are more environmentally friendly than their plastic counterparts are. The manufacturing process used to make plastic toys is extremely toxic, and when thrown away plastic can take years to decompose. In comparison, there are very little toxins involved in the production and disposal of wooden toys.


Although, you should be aware that wooden toys are a lot harder than plastic toys, so if your child loves throwing stuff around (like my little darling) then you will soon learn that a wooden brick hurts a lot more than a plastic brick. Also, be very careful if your child is a nibbler, my son loved to nibble on everything, including his wooden toys, not advisable to let them do this and with wooden toys, they could get splinters!

wooden instrument

So, what do the experts say?


Many experts believe that wooden toys do hold a lot of benefits over plastic toys in terms of child development.


Many plastic toys perform for children, the press a button or pull a lever and the toy does many magnificent things. Whereas, with wooden toys children are forced to use their imagination and make the toys perform these magnificent things themselves.


There are however plenty of plastic toys that do not perform for the child and where the child is ‘forced’ to manipulate the plastic toy in the same way they would wooden toys, overall plastic toys are becoming more sophisticated and technical in a way wooden toys are unlikely to ever be.


Children learn better when they are given the opportunity explore and be creative. Children should be allowed to manipulate the toys in whatever way they see fit, to make the toy be whatever they want it to be. You may see a toy brick but your child may see something different like a phone or a car, this is perfectly fine.


If a toy is acting in the way it should be, press a button and xyz happens, then there is less opportunity for children’s creativity and imagination to be stimulated.


Despite this, I still believe plastic toys, even automated push buttons and something happens, have their place. I still do not see why you cannot have a little bit of everything; it does not have to be all or nothing.

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