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Do you have plastic toys?

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
Hi,
I have quite a few plastic toys. Plastic playfoods, plastic plates, mega blocks, bassinet, barn & animals, plastic kitchen, shape sorter, phone, cash register etc.
I know they are not beautiful or sturdy but I already have them and don't see a reason why I need to replace them with expensive wooden toys.
According to Waldorf philosophy, all plastic toys are bad? I'm aware that some plastic toys have lead but my 2yr old doesn't put things in the mouth any more.
If you are in the process of getting rid of plastic toys, tell me why you are doing it. If you are keeping some plastic toys, I want to know why too...
Thanks!
post #2 of 64
I'm not particularly Waldorf-y myself, but I have relatives who are Waldorf teachers. Their kids had plastic toys, and they still have a number of them around for visiting children to play with.
post #3 of 64
We do have a small handful of plastic toys in our home. In Waldorf education there is an emphasis on the use of natural materials. Plastic is not. Wood, silk, wool, beeswax - these are organic materials which have a warmth and softeness to them not found in plastics. Of course, you have the non-toxic aspect as well, and typically a natural beauty. Plastics are cold and tend to be bright, cheap, and tacky (IMO). Is there a place for them in a Waldorf family home? I say yes - if the toy inspires open-ended/non-restrictive play, sure, in moderation. I think most of us came to Waldorf post-plastics and there is nothing wrong with a gradual phasing out of the old and in with the new. That's how we went about it anyway. You said you want to know why those of us w/plastic toys have them - I made a blog entry related to that question here if you're interested.
post #4 of 64
There are some quality toys that are plastic. It's the cheap junk we try to avoid. DD really loves her little people. I could hardly deny her little people! This week, we were reading Nim's Island. She went and retrieved a little girl, the iguana and the seal (or is it a sea lion) to go along with the story. So cute!! I remember loving little people when I was a little person. LOL
post #5 of 64
nope-none

if people give them to us i give them to the Goodwill the next day.

it was easier for us because we sorta started out with the idea of not wanting plastic toys. we didn't have to make a "transformation."

i let dc play with plastic toys when we are at friends' houses.

i just prefer to keep them out of our house.

i also know a waldorf teacher that has plastic toys. : (i feel she is sorta a phony though-not cause of the plastic toys-i have many other reasons)

most of dc's waldorf classmates have plastic toys in their home

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some plastic toys have lead 
unfortunately, some wood toys have lead too (ex. Melissa and Doug)
post #6 of 64
we a pretty much plastic free.

all the old plastic stuff is in the shed awaiting freecycle pick up...

we phased out 90% a while ago- and purged another 5% recently.

It feels great, there is just a different feel to a room full of natural toys.
post #7 of 64
Quote:
In Waldorf education there is an emphasis on the use of natural materials. Plastic is not. Wood, silk, wool, beeswax - these are organic materials which have a warmth and softeness to them not found in plastics. Of course, you have the non-toxic aspect as well, and typically a natural beauty. Plastics are cold and tend to be bright, cheap, and tacky (IMO).
:

If you check out my pics on the playroom thread you will see we have a Dalek, which will be staying but that is more of my DH's toy than my kids!

Also we have a plastic washing machine, that used to make noises but the batteries have long since gone, I'm only keeping it because my DD loves to play 'doing the laundry'....and I can't afford to replace it right now (maybe Santa will surprise us)

Oh, yeah and I also have a plastic bucket and spade set my DD was given for her birthday last month....which I will be holding on to, in my experience plastic sand toys only last one summer anyway, as soon as they start to crack I get rid of them, besides a bucket and spade are pretty open ended anyway.
post #8 of 64
very few...we've been in the process of weeding out all the junk the kids are given and keeping only the natural toys. i don't think my kids need that many toys to begin with, just my opinion. if you come to our house, you'll find they only play with a handful of their toys...mainly dress up stuff, wood kitchen set, balls and baby dolls..that's about it...they rarely play in their playroom, so we gave away 75% of the toys we had. they didn't even notice..

that's off topic of course..ahahah but yeah, we have a few plastic things, but not many at all. maybe 5? and those are gardening tools for them...
post #9 of 64
our plastic toys are:

a medium size tub of lego bricks (including those pretty pink bricks)

a medium size tub of k'nex bricks

[because i think that lego and k'nex can have thier place in homes - i used to love lego as a kid]

and soon, a recycled plastic tea set for sand box playing.

oh, also one plastic baby rattle (MY baby rattle as an infant), a plastic child's kambrook iron and a plastic child's coffee maker (both from my child hood too). i couldn't part with them and that's ok - everyone needs to make decisions that they are comfortable with.

that's all really. i could say we have over 1000 plastic toys as it would be the truth if you counted every k'nex and lego peice. but i'll just stick to 3 sets and 3 individual pieces that are plastic. everything else is cloth or wood (or will be cloth or wood as i'm organizing toys right now).

i like wood and cloth toys because i think they are more asethetically pleasing and are less likely to hold anything toxic. we only buy german made and usa handmade wooden toys so i guess it's easy to avoid most toxins. i've hated plastic toys (bar the above) for a few years now and so i never bought them for the kids. we always goodwill plastic birthday or christmas presents unless they are made in australia or usa or are lego or k'nex.

i'm not familiar with 'little people'. what are they?
post #10 of 64
We have Legos, some plastic sand toys, some Little Tikes ride-ons for outside and a Bilibo. That's pretty much it. I put my foot down early and hard about the no plastic, so it hasn't been too much of an issue for us.
post #11 of 64
My daughter was strongly no plastic when her kids were babies, but she isn't nearly as stern about it now. The main plastic stuff is a few cars belonging to my grandson and his magnet building set which is partly plastic. At this point she is holding out against toys that make noises and run on batteries!

There are several different pieces that play into this. They sort of toys children have affect their overall environment, so if ambiance is a big one for you, then carefully choosing toys would be good. A plastic shovel and bucket for taking to the beach make sense, frankly, but a plastic mixing bowl for a play kitchen would be sort of tacky, IMO. Very few homes will be like waldorf kindergarten classrooms, and why should they be?

Figure out what you are trying to achieve, figure out how to get there, and then relax and move in the chosen direction.

My daughter and I were talking about my gd's next birthday. She was interested in carding wool, and learning how to spin, so we were thinking of wool carders and a stick spinner (heading towards a drop spindle after some practice). She has also expressed an interest in Amercan Girl Dolls, but we were both turned off, not because they are plastic, but because the whole package is incredibly commercial and therefore exploitive of children.

Think about the ages of the children, how open-ended the toys are, how much space they'll take up, how hard they'll be to put away, how expensive, how long they'll be interesting. Plastic shouldn't be the only factor you look at.
post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eben'sMama View Post
We have Legos, some plastic sand toys, some Little Tikes ride-ons for outside and a Bilibo. That's pretty much it. I put my foot down early and hard about the no plastic, so it hasn't been too much of an issue for us.
This is us to. We have a few things but mostly wood. Legos are defaintly one thing that will most likely always be the exceptiong. My mom growing up had mostly wood toys for us but legos were always the exception and I will probally follow this tradition because I have a lot of fond memories of legos growing up.

One thing I love about his wood toys is they are mostly handmade by a person. I love that someone put alot of though and energy into making them.
post #13 of 64
Even as a Waldorf teacher in training this is one area I really fall short in, but it's not for lack of not wanting my daughter to have all natural toys. It's that we don't have the money to give her these toys, and for me that's the biggest problem with the all natural toy thing is that it's very expensive. And the furthest relatives are willing to go in our family is non-battery operated toys, and now that I think of it, most of her toys have been gifts. It's hard, especially understanding and agreeing w/the reasoning behind the natural toys. I'm hoping that within the next couple of years we'll be able to afford more of these toys for our daughter, but right now we're doing the best we can. I actually just got a great idea from another thread about making a Waldorf doll for my daughter, and how to do it. It's all about what you want for children, and how much you agree w/the reasons for giving children all natural toys.
post #14 of 64
we have a basket of lego, which only comes when less like-minded children come over, or when we've had a string of really bad weather, and we have some playmobil and bilibos. i cannot think of a single waldorf family with children over five whose home we have been to that didn't have playmobil. my dd has a little playmobil "child of the forest" mushroom fairy who lives in a tree stump that is super sweet. we don't have plastic plates or cups or food containers, and we mostly have natural toys, but as the kids get older, some quality plastic toys have crept in.
post #15 of 64
We are mostly plastic free but we do have legos which my daughter loves and so do her friends. Also we have a box of plastic dinosaurs that a neighbor gave us which are very realistic and great because she also love dinosaurs.

We have absolutely no noise making or battery operated toys though. Not only because it would drive me mental to hear that but my daughter is really noise sensitive and hates those things.

For the most part she's usually playing with handmade all natural toys (I make toys and so do friends), art supplies or silks.

Oh actually, we do have a couple of Barbies which doesn't thrill me but they are vintage 60's/70's ones that my daughter found in a closet and I let her keep them.
post #16 of 64
We live in Europe (very close to the world headquarters of anthropology) and every year the Waldorf school down the street has a little fair where all the kids sell their old toys. They have tons of wooden and handmade stuff but plenty of Playmobil, Lego, stuff like that. I don't think most parents have that kind of firm NO PLASTIC rule over here (at least at the local school).

Before my child was born I thought I wanted all wooden stuff too, but I figured out I kind of LIKE some plastic stuff. I plan on getting this, for example. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001543YEY .
post #17 of 64
Pretty much no - no plastic allowed here. DD does have a few plastic sandbox toys that are made in Europe, sans PVC and plasticizers. That's it.

Why? First off due to the toxins in them - be it lead, plasticizers or PVC. Also, they are ugly to me. I think kids play much more calmly with natural, calm colored toys.

I might be open in the future to something like legos - tho I see Nova now has wood "lego" type blocks. But to me, it encouraging open minded play isn't enough. Little People, for example were testing high in lead a few years ago.

Cost can be an issue - or not. We have never spent much on dd's toys and she has nothing plastic in the house (except one strawberry shortcake animal character which has remained since my childhood ). We have found cheap animal characters from Haba and at a craft store. They are actually VERY easy to make with a saw too. Dh made dd her wood barn - cost about $30. I found an inexpensive set that had a tractor, hay wagon and another wagon, 2 bales of cloth "hay", a farmer and wife- all for $19.99. No paint on them so that's not an issue. Anyway, if you look long enough and hard enough, there are bargains to be found.

Add to all of that some wood musical instruments bought over the course of several years, a Waldorf inspired doll that I made - with very little sewing skill I might add, baskets of pinecones, shells and stones, some Haba wood food, a metal mini pots and pans set from Ikea, a $19.99 wood kitchen (about a foot high and 18 in wide - but again, soooo ez to make a larger one). DD also has some playsilks, a basket of stuffed animals, a basket that is a doll bed, a basket of doll and dress up clothing - and a few other misc items such as blocks, shape sorter etc. None of this cost a lot of money. As a matter of fact, I have to wrack my brain to figure out what to get her for gifts because she plays with all of this all the time, year after year - and will continue to for years to come. Most (not all) plastic toys on the other hand are only made for a small age range.

Oh, and I hate battery operated things!!

So those are our reasons - what works for us. I have no problem with her playing with plastic at other people's houses and understand that not everyone is into the no plastic thing. I just wanted to show, tho, that there are ways to do it on the cheap. While I drool over some of the things I see in catalogues, there is no way I could afford them.
post #18 of 64
We've made a real point of avoiding plastic since the from the very beginning with DS. It's the environmental factor for us, along with the commercialism and non-open-ended nature of most (not all) plastic toys that we really don't like. No plastic just seems like an easy way to draw a line that helps us avoid batteries, licensed characters, MIC, etc.

I do have to disagree with the PP who said that natural toys are expensive, however. I think it's so easy for us to get entranced by all the expensive, "waldorf" style toys available in stores and miss the whole point of giving our children natural materials and creating playthings for them with love, creativity and imagination. I love to recommend the book "Toymaking with Children" by Freya Jafke as it gives a great summation of the less is more and handmade philosophy of natural toys. It doesn't have to be expensive or difficult to provide all kinds of wonderful play experiences for our children - with or without plastic.
post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by njsummer01 View Post

I do have to disagree with the PP who said that natural toys are expensive, however. I think it's so easy for us to get entranced by all the expensive, "waldorf" style toys available in stores and miss the whole point of giving our children natural materials and creating playthings for them with love, creativity and imagination. I love to recommend the book "Toymaking with Children" by Freya Jafke as it gives a great summation of the less is more and handmade philosophy of natural toys. It doesn't have to be expensive or difficult to provide all kinds of wonderful play experiences for our children - with or without plastic.

I wholeheartedly agree with you!
post #20 of 64
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do have to disagree with the PP who said that natural toys are expensive 



as for the ones that can be expensive...some wooden toys are an investment. you may pay a lot of money for a wooden kitchen when your child is a toddler but like someone said, they will likely still be playing with it when they are much older. same with playstands and some of the other items that can be expensive. and you can always use them for multicple childeren or they could be passed down to other family members or to your grandchildren.
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