Tag Archives: eco toys

Less Toys Are better For Your Kids

Yes it does seem strange for a toy manufacturer to say ‘buy less toys.’ However here at Wild Thing Toys we truly believe less is more when it comes to toys. A few good quality heirloom toys made from natural materials are worth far more than an entire room of plastic themed dolls or toys that need a switch to move or talk or flash. With pre-determined toy, especially true of merchandised toys, everything in that toy is intentionally planned out so your child does not need to use their imaginative skills at all. The fantasy and discovery of play is restricted.

Two German researchers, Elke Schubert and Rainer Strick in the 1990s conducted an experiment where toys were taken away from Munich nursery for three months. After short period, researchers say children re-adjusted and their play became more social and creative. You can read their findings here.

Of course, we are not advocating a toy free world for your children. Toys are an important part of your child’s life, they teach your child about the world around them and about themselves, but limiting the amount of toys you give to a child will have greater benefits.

Boost creativity

Less toys leave room for a child’s participation and creative imagination with the toys they do have. Simple open ended toys are the toys children comeback to again and again. These toys are appealing and long lasting because of their ability to fuel the imagination. Research shows children who are encouraged in imaginative play prove to be more creative in later years, have better vocabulary, have less aggressive tendencies and are more confident with other children.

Longer attention span

Being bombarded with too many toys, a child will go from this toy to that toy, for temporary amusement and distraction without feeling inspired. A study by Claire Lerner, a childhood development researcher funded by the US government to run pre-school educational programmes across America reported that children under the age of five that have too many toys, cannot concentrate on one thing long enough to actually absorb from it, instead they feel duty bound to rummage everything without ever fully immersing themselves in any one activity or ever learning from it. “Our studies show that giving children too many toys or toys of the wrong types can actually be doing them harm. They get overwhelmed and cannot concentrate on any one thing long enough to learn from it,” said Lerner.

Toy is appreciated

A toy given only on certain occasions only or not very often, will hold more value to the child and the child will have an emotional investment to it knowing that he/she had to look forward to this toy and it is something special. The child takes care to look after it and appreciate it more, as they know that there is no replacement at hand.

Better social kills

Children with fewer toys to play with learn better at how to improve their personal relationships and social skills with other children and adults. They spend more time in natural play as well as outdoor play. Endless toys which require staring at a screen and pushing buttons will only have a passive negative effect on building the social skills they require.

Interest in other activities

Less toys can mean more time to play out doors, read books and paint and draw. Good old fashioned childhood activities such as kicking a ball about with friends, playing with marbles, inviting friends to play with dolls, making dolls clothes, making paper planes, and reading a book in a cosy corner are all unstructured play activities that nurture their creativity, intellect and social skills.

Why Simple And Natural Dolls?

We believe that dolls with just a hint of facial features, or even no features at all, are more likely to stimulate a child’s imagination and encourage more open ended play. A doll with a minimum of expressions can have various emotions, just as in real life situations. It can be happy or sad, bossy or strong and can imitate the child’s own range of feelings, ultimately giving the child control over the numerous play possibilities.

A plastic/vinyl doll on the other hand has one fixed frozen smile feature. One can argue that some plastic dolls have a positive role to play. Some fashion dolls have themes to them, such as vets, horse trainers or doctors. However, even with these themed dolls, the play is ‘fixed’ to the theme, resulting in limiting the child’s independent thinking. Alternatively a simple natural doll  can help boost creativity as the child has to think and use his or her own imagination to create the play, as opposed to the doll dictating to the child how to play.

Another concern is that many manufactures of plastic dolls are quite happy with promoting early sexualisation with their dolls.
The plastic dolls which are suppose to be ‘positive role models’ have full make up, high heels and highly sexualised unrealistic body forms, which are not an ideal role model for any little girl or boy to look up to. There’s already enough pressure from the media and society to look a certain way without implanting these unnatural standards in to dolls.

Handmade dolls

We are accustomed to living in a throwaway society where toys are thrown out and replaced at an alarming rate. Rarely will you be able to repair a plastic doll with a broken limb. Instead, hordes of these dolls end up in landfill sites. Well-made heirloom quality cotton dolls can be cleaned and repaired and passed down to other children instead of being thrown out. They can be treasured in childhood, and remembered with fondness in adulthood.

Our fair trade dolls are all hand made. The dolls are created from 100% cotton which is hand loomed by age old production methods without any usage of electrical machinery. This produces a heavy high quality cotton that is beautifully tactile to touch. Each doll or soft toy is then lovingly handcrafted by artisans who work under fair trade conditions.

The dolls are beautiful in sight with a range of skin colours to compliment the diversity of people in the world. Without sounding too clichéd, each doll is made with care and love by the doll maker to be treasured by the child.

A wonderful quote that captures the value of a handmade doll is by the doll maker, Maricristin Sealey, “…a handcrafted doll is one of a kind, an individual which carries the spirit of the maker in its stitches and absorbs the spirit of the child who loves it.”