Crunchy parents and their kids’ wooden toys… (4 reasons I am one of them!)

Ever found yourself wondering what’s with all these green parents and their obsession with wooden toys?

Even if this has never crossed your mind, let me tell you, as a new parent I think about it quite a bit. Of course, I am also being exposed to a lot of zero waste instagram accounts with moms who somehow master ”plastic free everything” which inspires me to at least try my best when it comes to toys.

So what’s the deal with the kids’ toys? Here’s my reasons why I want wood, instead of plastic.


1. Wood is renewable.

It grows, makers take it (sustainably!) and it grows back. Plastic on the other hand is a non-renewable material with questinable recycling capabilities. Plus plastic consumption supports the fossil fuel industry and over-all must go down.

2. I worry about chemical compounds in plastic.

Most wooden toys are painted and/or stained with eco-friendly, safe colors (or simply left all natural). This is part of the convincing marketing to the green parents: wooden toy + safe paint = happy campers. Plastic, especially when made in Asia, often contain phalates. This applies to toys labaled ”BPA free” as well (BPA is another chemical, which is known to be hormone disrupting and the kiddo industry knows it must be removed or they won’t sell anything). Phalates is the forgotten cousin and we don’t like him. Plus babies put EVERYTHING in their mouth which makes chemical content pretty serious.

3. I consider the impact should the toy get lost.

The wooden one would basically pose no harm, and biodegrade over time, while the plastic one will sit outside and leak toxins into the soil, maybe be eaten by an animal or photo degrade until it has become micro beads which end up in the water streams (and fish). (This could also be the toy’s faith if it ended up in landfill.)

4. Wooden toys are often made by craftsmen not factories.

Wooden toys are easy to find made in USA, hand crafted by small, family owned manufacturers. YES! Often they are educational without needing batteries and making sounds too. (Who doesn’t like quiet babies at play?)

Vintage Acre Toys puzzle
Vintage wooden puzzle – Made in Holland

Wooden toys are not hard to find! Check out these if you are in America:

And these if you’re in Europe:

Don’t get me wrong, my kid is not and will not live a ”plastic free life”.

Legos will happen. Barbies might (here’s hoping since I have so many from the 80’s and 90’s!). He will be playing with my old garage, stuffed animals (polyester), farm and weird looking plastic characters. He will surely also be given plastic toys as gifts, just as he will wish for that cool superhero-plastic-something and probably get it.

Knowing that, is why when there are wood options we go for them, to lessen the total collection of plastic! This also means when we can, we get our plastic toys used/second-hand. This doesn’t help with the chemical aspect but does lower the environmental footprint :)

Are you doing wooden toys for your kids?

PS. Always do your own homework checking a toy’s origin and content. And thanks to for recommending several of the US-made brands :)

10 thoughts on “Crunchy parents and their kids’ wooden toys… (4 reasons I am one of them!)

  1. Awesome post Anna! Here in Sweden I hear a lot about the danger with recycled/old/second hand bought plastic toys as they often have a lot of chemicals that are forbidden today. What is said about this in the US?


    1. Hi Sandra, same here as in Sweden. I believe it’s anything before 2001 should not be used (or something like that?) Frankly for me, I think more about this now when August is eating everything… When he stops licking everything I think it will be ok to play with my garage and 90’s Roller skate Ken :D I do think Sweden (and Denmark) are more hyper than here tho and it’s always jacked up when it comes to kids.

      I am sure in Sweden it’s the same hypocrisy as here… So like kids can’t have toys with chemicals but they can drink out of straws made in China with BPA at restaurants, eat food that’s been transported in Styrofoam (styrene = hormone issues), wear disposable diapers with absorbing core (SAPs) which is super toxic (in all brands), consume pesticides and drink cow’s milk full of dioxins… ;) I am hoping to limit it all, but it’s all a balancing act, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We are crunchy parents who love wooden toys too! You forgot the part about how wooden toys don’t need batteries (aka unnecessarily use up fossil fuels) and they don’t make obnoxious noises and flash lights, saving us all the waste and expense of headache medications ;) We’ve come to a point of healthy compromise at our house. Our kiddo has mostly second hand, lots of wooden, some recycled plastic (made in the USA) green toys, and a few gifted plastic toys. Even with the plastic I feel that as long as we rehome them after use and continue participating in a more circular economy, at least they’re getting optimal lives.


    1. Exactly – the no batteries thing! Win! He has a few “playing music things” now (second hand) and wow does he love those. Also cell phones are extremely interesting. Keeping up with wood as long as we can but the older he gets, the more into plastic he gets… one would wonder if the industry designed it that way ;)


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