I'm often asked what I do for a living, and when I reply that I sell "natural toys" I often have to clarify, "you know, wooden toys, organic cotton dolls and stuffed animals, art supplies with natural ingredients." Sometimes I get a wide smile of understanding, and other times a perplexed look. Which raises the question, what is the big deal about natural toys? My neighbors kids were raised with "regular" plastic toys and they turned out fine.
So, the point isn't that buying natural toys for your children makes you a "good" parent, just as plastic toys don't make you a "bad" parent. The reason for natural toys is that it is one more thing that can enliven a childhood in ways that plastic toys (and especially loud, obnoxious toys with batteries) cannot. Let's explore together.
The world of toys has come a long way from the days of simple wooden blocks and stuffed animals. Today, children are surrounded by a seemingly endless array of toys that are designed to entertain, educate, and stimulate their minds. However, with all the advancements in toy technology, it's important to consider the impact that these toys may have on our children's emotional, aesthetic, and physical development.
Natural toys, such as wooden blocks, puzzles, and stuffed animals made from natural materials, have been around for centuries and have been used to help children develop and grow in a variety of ways.
One of the most important benefits of natural toys is the way that they help children develop emotionally. Natural toys are typically made from soft, warm materials like wood, cotton, or wool, which can help children feel comforted and secure. This emotional connection with the toys can help children build self-esteem and a sense of security, which is important for their overall emotional health.
Additionally, natural toys often have an "open-ended" element to them, such that they don't dictate what a child should feel or do, rather they open a world of play and imagination, where the child explores their feelings, their story, and the world around them through play.
Natural toys are often designed with simple, unadorned shapes that are easy on the eye and soothing to the soul. The colors are often natural, or muted. The sounds are likewise soft or natural. This simplicity can be very appealing to children, who often crave calm and clarity in their lives.
In addition, the natural materials used in natural toys often have unique textures, colors, and patterns that are visually interesting and appealing. These toys can help children develop an appreciation for beauty and the natural world, which is important for their overall aesthetic development.
Finally, natural toys offer a level of safety that is often lacking in many modern toys. Natural toys are made from materials that are free from harmful chemicals and toxins, and they are often crafted using traditional methods that have been passed down from generation to generation.
This means that natural toys are often more durable and less likely to break, which is important for the safety of children. Additionally, even when they do break, a wooden toy can mostly often be glued back together, while a plastic toy is invariably thrown out at the first sign of a break.
Natural toys are also often made using sustainable materials and methods, which helps to reduce the overall impact on the environment.
These are some of the reasons we feel that natural toys are an important part of a child's life. We aren't suggesting you should throw out that plastic toys given to your child by Uncle Mike or Aunt Jo, but that to the extent possible, natural toys should play a large role in your child's play experience.
These toys offer a connection to the past, a sense of comfort, a love for beauty, and a level of safety that is often lacking in many modern toys. Whether you are a parent looking for toys for your children, or an educator looking for ways to support children's development, the natural toys we feature on Blue Otter Toys should naturally enhance your special child's environment and have a positive impact on their lives.
(We know that sometimes our selection can be overwhelming. Which doll to choose? Which set of blocks is right for which age? Please feel free to reach out to us - we love to talk about our toys!)