Thursday, 4 November 2010

Wooden Toys


Ever since my eldest was a tot I formed an opinion that plastic was horrendous, and made a firm resolution to remove it from my house. I hate everything about it - I hate the feel of it, the poisons in it and I hate the cheapness of it. It's ugly, nasty stuff that uglifies everything made from it.

I also hate the way that, because toys are so cheap, we accumulate masses of 'things' in the name of gift-giving and love. Because of this 'easy come, easy go' nature of most toys, children become not only dismissive of gifts, but also highly disrespectful of them too.



The last couple of years I have let the 'less is more' rule in my house slide. Instead of insisting on one or two quality gifts for Eid, I have become lazy and gone for the cheap option, buying masses of plastic to make my boys happy.

And for the first day it did make them happy. But then I began to notice something :: they stopped playing. I mean, they had so much stuff they were literally confused with what to play with. And so they didn't play with anything.


Then if that wasn't bad enough, when they did play they lacked imagination and started to let the toy dictate play, rather than the play dictate what they toy should be. So many closed-end toys which beeped and buzzed and moved, and my children had become demoted to chief button-pusher and nothing else.




The final straw came yesterday morning when I went into the boys' room and was met with a scene from a gas explosion - without the gas explosion. Broken toys, ripped books, disrespectful use and storage, and literally a floor litered with debris and no room to move.

I was ashamed at how I had let things slide, and more importantly I was more than a little cross at how blase my children had become towards their gifts.

I took a roll of binliners and bagged and bagged and bagged - four binliners full of things for the charity shop, and a binliner full of broken toys. A whole BINLINER full of broken toys.



I tidied the remaining toys into several baskets, and put out the wooden toys that had been shoved behind the mess into full view. The result?

I am glad to say I had, by the end of the day, two children who appreciated the toys I decided to leave them (knowing full well I could quite easily bag those up too!), and enough space for two happy boys to play like they used to - with imagination.

I hope I never again forget this basic rule of parenting :: less is always more, one quality item outweighs a tonne of rubbish.


  1. I am guilty of the plastic tat tidal wave. I have managed to narrow most of it down to Lego of which wooden versions do not exist but at one time the contents of the boys room was oozing down the stairs and the just kicked it around and never played either:(

  2. It's amazing how quickly we forget isn't it. I just WISH there were a wooden version of lego - I've seen some things over in the US that look like stackable blocks but I spoze the lego stays for *grinds teeth* educational reasons....

  3. How very odd; not only did I pick up a set of animals on the work shelf yesterday and say "these look like that brand of toys Q's boys have" but I was also interviewed for the local newspaper yesterday on exactly this topic!

  4. It must have been the theme of the day yesterday - another blog also had the same topic when I went to read after my binliner-filling frenzy!


  5. Arrgh... I wish I am as strong as you, not only with plastic toys but toys in general. I just need to stop buying them. I couldn't agree more with everything you wrote down, just hoping that binliner-filling frenzy of yours is contagious :)

  6. experience has borne the truth of those sentiments out! it helps if you bin things in self-righteous anger, then the kids some how feel they've deserved the purge ;-)

  7. Assalamo alaikum,

    I couldn't theoretically agree more; however, having a passion for frugality my house has somehow been swamped, literally with the treasure troves of carboot sale remnants, namely plastic toys.

    I do love the woodies, there is something so wholesome and soul nourishing about them; however I refuse to pay the extortionate prices. You must have spent a fortune on the toys in the pics alone!

    I'm loving the blog mashaAllah x

  8. When it comes to cost I tend to use the money given the boys at gift-giving time to buy a few things rather than buy masses of cheaper things.

    It works it's way out - all the plsatic toys I have bought have, without exception, broken at some point, and had to be thrown away. The wooden ones have not. This is a false economy, believing that we have *saved* money when all we have done is wasted it.

    The price on wood is higher, but the reflects the handmade nature of the pieces and the quality. But seeing as these items will, insha'allah, be heirloom pieces passed down to grandchildren, I think that's actually more value for money.

    Again, I prefer quality over quantity, and I've had to re-learn this lesson the hard way!

  9. I am armed with bin bags and coffee!! Really glad I read this today. xx


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