Plastic toys are common place now, but not so long ago it was metal and wood toys and before that it was cloth and wood. Both the Charlotte Mason and Waldorf philosophies advocate simple toys. And the Waldorf philosophy shuns plastic all together.
In the Waldorf philosophy, wool is ranked number one as a material for toys, followed by silk and wood. When a philosophy pays that much attention to the materials with which your children play, it gives me pause to think about it. It’s especially challenging giving up plastic toys because they are everywhere, affordable and even creative. Legos!! Legos are made of plastic and like any other plastic toy, it loses its luster after a period of time, is prone to becoming brittle and when it breaks, it cannot be fixed, whereas fabric toys are easily mended and wood toys develop a beautiful patina over time, and they too can be mended if broken, though not always. But back to Legos. My kids have enjoyed Legos longer than any other toy. So you can imagine by thrill and surprise when I saw an ‘all natural’ alternative to them recently at Target, no less! Yes, I found Lego shaped wood pieces that can be fitted together the same way as Legos. I promptly picked up a set for my nephew. We own Legos…the plastic kind, in copious amounts, and I don’t worry about it. I also own and make number of wool and wood toys, and they are cherished by my children and me (though less so, the more I make).
Don’t worry if buying expensive wood toys is not in your budget…nature is free! And so therapeutic for adults and children. With the abundant resources in nature, your children will no doubt find and make their own play things and engage themselves far longer than with store bought toys.
Watch the rest of this series here.