Much has been said over the years about the need to “go back to the roots” of our lives and this can be said for the game as well as other aspects. With this in mind, there seems to be a feeling of nostalgia when it comes to choosing the toys we want our children to play with as they develop. So what is the benefit of choosing the more traditional toy over the much hyped electronics that seem to fill not only store shelves but our own living rooms as well? The most obvious answer, of course, is that with electronic games the child can be lost in a world, sometimes of violence and bloodshed, if only on the screen. This not only isolates the individual, but also fills the young mind with thoughts of violent acts.
With traditional toys, such as wooden toys, the child benefits from a more tactile experience. Well-constructed, colorful, and multi-component pieces activate a child’s imagination and lend themselves to role play and interconnectivity with other children in the family or peer group. Some cleverly made wooden toys come in the form of a detachable puzzle (for example, a fire truck). Made of hard wood, with very safe rounded edges, the motor is made to break into many pieces. Then the fun begins when the toy has to be “rebuilt” back to its original shape. From there, the engine can be played with like any other toy vehicle.
This wooden toy not only acts as a traditional toy but also as a toy that stimulates mentally and improves manual dexterity in the child. Of course, other benefits of this type of wooden toy include parent-child social interaction and the actual act of everyone coming together to solve the problem. Perhaps the most compelling reason for actively choosing traditional toys is the growing problem of overweight children that appears to be affecting most developed countries. It is a situation that will only get worse if parents do not aggressively address the problem while the child is young enough to encourage good habits.
Some may say that the price of some of the wooden toys can be quite prohibitive. But if you consider the amount of work that goes into each piece (most often handmade) and the quality of the workmanship, then it starts to make sense. However, some smart manufacturers have carefully avoided that problem by making toys that “grow” with the child. There are some wooden toys (tricycles are just one example) that can be changed in size as the child grows. Again, this can instill the need for action and exercise in a child that will only benefit him in the future. Of course, these toys are usually so well made that they can be passed on to the next generation.