Today, parents have such a broad range of toys to choose from and are bombarded with toy advertisements that promise to educate, stimulate and babysit your child.
In the face of this, many parents have made a revolutionary decision when it comes to their children. Despite enormous social and family pressure, they have decided to forgo the oh-so-popular plastic, commercial toys in favour of natural toys that foster creativity and imaginative play.
So why are toys of natural materials considered “better than plastic?” There are many answers to this question and every parent will have their own reasons, but here are a few.
Natural materials not only have fewer wastes produced in their creation, but they are often repairable if they break; unlike their cheap plastic counterparts that are discarded because they’re cheaper to replace than to fix. Natural material toys will also biodegrade when they’re too worn out to be repaired.
Fair trade is a phrase we associate with food, but it also applies to toys. Many natural fibre or wooden toys are produced either locally or in an ethically sourced fashion, compared to the overseas factories that mass produce most of the plastic toys on store shelves. Purchasing handmade toys can directly benefit a community.
Memorizing how to push a series of buttons does not teach a child to think. For young children, developing and exercising their imagination is an important way to learn and express the world inside them and understand the world outside. Their imagination has no limits, no “right way to play.” Open-ended play fosters and supports children’s need to express themselves through creative play. Toys that can be imagined into many different things are enduring and returned to over and over.
This doesn’t mean replacing every toy in your house with natural material toys. Choosing quality, enduring and open ended toys can help inspire your children, and embracing the less is more philosophy will keep those toys from being forgotten. This Christmas, leave the batteries on the shelf and give your child a gift that will cultivate their imagination and creativity.
Cedar Bridge School is hosting a Christmas Faire on Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring a market place offering natural toys and handcrafted gifts for all ages, creative activities for children, delicious food and baking, a puppet show, and live music.
Cedar Bridge School is located at 730 Whitevale Rd., between Lavington and Lumby. Follow the signs off Highway 6 near the Coldstream Golf Course.
Cedar Bridge School is a non-profit society that offers Waldorf inspired education for the early childhood and elementary grades.
Trish Folland is president of the board of directors at Cedar Bridge School.