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12 Best Natural Toys for Children
It’s not until you have your own children that you really take a good hard look at the toys for sale in most department stores. Most children’s toys are made with plastic that comes from China and contain many harmful, toxic chemicals. If you have paid attention, there have been numerous recalls of toys due to health hazards. Children don’t need these kinds of plastic, self-performing toys. Most are happy with toys that spark their imagination. One of the best toys ever is a treehouse and swing, however, for many people, who live in apartments, this isn’t possible. Also, if you live in a place where it snows, the treehouse isn’t useable all year around.
Also, many parents don’t fully understand the importance of play in the development of their children. The development of a child’s imagination is an important step towards thinking skills and gaining knowledge. Yes, learning basic such as reading, spelling, and math are important, but those only teach your child how to memorize, it’s play time that not only exercises the body, but exercises the mind. Having you child tell you a story about their playhouse or costume will do far more for them later in life then memorizing their ABC’s.
So take a look at our list of the best organic, natural, and sustainable alternatives to many of the toys on the market.
1. Basic Natural Wood Toys
These include anything from animals, such as horses, bulls, even dinosaurs, to cars, fire trucks, dump trucks, airplanes, helicopters, to play swords, shields, trains, even noise makers, such as clappers. Almost any plastic toy today can be made from wood. If they are painted, double check that the paint is lead free.
For little ones, blocks can be hours of fun. Some people make an exception to plastic toys by giving Lego’s because they encourage hours of imaginative playtime. That choice is yours, of course, but for very small children, plain old wooden blocks are always entertaining. They love building little towers of blocks then watching them fall to the ground! Again, if these are painted, double check that the paint is lead free. Use caution if these blocks come from China as it appears that they have little or no safety standards when it comes to toys. Generally, toys that come from Europe and Canada are preferable as they have very strict safety standards, even more so than the US.
3. Wood Bow and Arrows or Slingshots
Little boys love these things but they do need to learn how to use them properly. Teach them that these are for shooting targets ( old 2 liter plastic bottles filled with a little sand or water and painted like clowns or bandit faces are great) and never for use against people or animals.
4. Craft Items
Pre-made activity items are always a big hit with slightly older children. Girls can decorate flip flops; make decorated hair bows and necklaces. Boys can make their own targets for their slingshots or bows and arrows. Coloring books are good for kids of almost all ages, and simple drawing paper with water color paints and/or washable markers are always entertaining. Give kids a subject of the day (your favorite animal at the zoo, your house in outer space, the prettiest bird ever, etc.) and they will entertain themselves for hours with their own art.
5. Dress Up
You can buy dress up kits or make your own. Don’t think Halloween mask, think pirate, fireman, policeman, chef, astronaut, Native American, movie star, princess, or ballerina. If your kid is into animals, a simple headband with homemade ears attached, a tail pinned to a pair of pants and a black makeup stick is probably all you need to complete an outfit. If your kid is all about planes, cardboard boxes can be cut into a great pair of “wings” or a jumpsuit with a few emblems and a hat will make him the world’s best pilot. Pom pom’s and a baton make for an instant cheerleader. The only limit is your imagination. You can always ask your kids to make up their own play for entertainment on a Saturday afternoon. Be sure you applaud loudly.
6. Dolls and Dollhouses
Instead of plastic dolls with those fake faces, wooden dolls with beautifully painted faces never get old. Doll houses filled with wood furniture are also endless hours of fun for most small girls. Encourage your girls to create their own things for their “family” such as making small dolls for their dolls, making tiny books out of scrap paper so their dolls can read while they are at school, making pictures for the walls of their dollhouse, etc. Buy old fashioned wood cradles or use a wicker basket, and carriages are always another fun way to take dolly outside.
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