No plastic please

The first item I handed my baby boy to play with was a pink plastic rattle. Gender-correctness aside, I gave no thought to the type of plastic or the texture he was holding and gnawing on.

Now a lot older and a little wiser as a parent, I wish I had thought to vary the items I gave my babies and toddlers a little more than the full-on diet of plastic, plastic and more plastic.

I’m not anti-plastic per se, although we now know that it’s wise to be cautious about the kind of plastic in toys that our children play with and especially chew. Some kinds are actually toxic and potentially harmful.

Wooden toys are especially pleasing with their cool, natural texture, but it’s wise to check that the type of paint used on them is non-toxic and free from dangerous lead. Among the wooden toys both boys enjoyed was a classic trolleyful of blocks, although the edges were rather sharp when found in the dark by a barefoot parent. 

Another non-plastic toy both my boys loved was the wooden shape puzzle. Fitting the cut-out shapes into their spaces was an endless source of fascination and pride for them as toddler. 

If your baby is the type to have a lovey, then a sweet cuddle cloth with a toy attached might be her next best friend.

Die-cast metal cars and bulldozers make a satisfying crashing noise when you fling them at speed down a track home-made out of a teatray and two large books.

My oldest son passed down to his younger brother a soft plush zebra, similar to this one. Good old Stripes is still around, although his white stripes are now a mottled shade of grey, after an unfortunate tumble in the washing machine with some less-than-colourfast jeans.

Which non-plastic toys do your kids love?

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