plastic toys??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 07-09-2002, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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hi, guys. i have been noticing a lot of people making "no plastic toys" comments, and i was wondering what the rationale behind that was? is there some danger to plastic toys i don't know about? is it an environmental thing?

we had a "no battery-operated toys" rule. or at least we tried to. on ds's christmas list, i listed resources that had wooden toys that were good for imaginitive play. we even wrote in big bold print at the bottom "we are trying to limit exposure to battery-operated toys. please try to find non-battery-operated toys." it failed miserably. we take the batteries out now of most of them.

also, my family showers ds with toys. the child has so many it makes me sick. i want to donate some of them to our local shelter, etc. but the in-laws check when they come...

other than answering my plastic toys questions, how have some of you dealt with the issue of too many gifts of toys from family and friends?
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#2 of 6 Old 07-09-2002, 08:14 PM
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No one else has responded here so I will . . . I'm afraid I can't quote any statistics or anything.

I like wooden toys because they feel nice, they are more natural (in most cases) and promote a developing imagination. We have a mixture of some basic wooden toys and a lot of plastic and cloth ones. Only one toy has batteries (a remote control cat).

We can't afford all wooden toys unfortunately. I try to choose ones that she can learn with and have fun with. I avoid cartoon toys if at all possible: mickey mouse, pooh, etc. I also have so many toys for dd that I rotate them. 2/3 are in the garage at any one time. We just had sooo many toys that she wasn't playing with them. I think she got overwhelmed. Now she plays well with the few that I leave out each week for her, and she gets all excited to see "new" toys every week too!


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
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#3 of 6 Old 07-09-2002, 08:46 PM
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Hi Elizabeth,

I could have written your post! My family went nutz at Christmas after I mentioned more than once to them, "we tend to go for simple toys, ones where he can use his imagination... " So much for that idea. We ended up with so many toys (many battery operated ones). It was chaos. The next morning when we got home, I put out all the toys and video taped them. I then walked with the cam corder into my kitchen and video taped the open cupboard where DS was playing with all my kitchen things. I said [on tape] that "this would be shown to all family members before next Christmas. That if they wanted to get something for us, kitchen implements would be nice. For we are always searching for all my wooden spoons!"

I thought about giving many of the toys away but opted to keep them, and use them on a rotating system. There are an array of toys on the shelves in his bedroom, and some in his cupboard in the living room. And then, there is a box in the den (an off limits to DS room) where I 'hide away' toys. Every few weeks, I rotate the toys bringing in new ones and taking out the old. This seems to keep them fresh for DS and as we live in Washington State, helps for those rainy days. Oh, and we keep the battery operated toys hidden away in a "special place." Once in a while, I pull one out (many are music oriented and DS loves music) and let him play with it. Not having them around on a regular basis makes them more tolerable and DS actually gets something out of them that way.

As for the plastic, I think there are a few reasons people don't like them. For the most part, natural toys are nice because they are well, made of natural materials. And then of course, there's the environmental facter--plastic bad, natural good. I can't argue with either of these... however, we do have quite a few plastic toys here. Many were gifts or hand me downs. And on that last note, I figure most of these toys die a slow death, being handed down and then down again (recycled if you will). I suppose that makes me feel better about using them.

All the best.

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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#4 of 6 Old 07-09-2002, 11:54 PM
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I think there's a certain type of plastic that outgasses xenoestrogen, which has been implicated in premature adolescence in young girls. This is totally hearsay from me, I do not have a single research article to back that up In addition to that and other unnatural chemicals your child may be exposed to while playing with plastic, I think some people feel that toys with a more natural feel and color combination will stimulate the child appropriately, while bright, unnatural plastic color combinations may be overstimulating. Of course, wood is often painted or treated, so you have to be careful about that, too!
I like to keep toys to a minimum. We have a 'nothing plastic, nothing battery operated' rule for gifts, and even though everyone doesn't always abide by our wishes, we have only 3 plastic, battery operated toys. I keep them hidden away and bring them out only on rainy days. We have LOTS of family around, and have found that rotating the toys, and insisting on leaving some of the toys at relatives houses works well. Also, we gave up on trying not to hurt peoples feelings and just ask them not to buy DS so much junk.
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#5 of 6 Old 07-11-2002, 12:27 AM
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A lot of cheap plastic toys cannot be repaired if they break, so they end up going to landfill. On the other hand, cheaply made wooden toys that break can be used as kindling. I'd suggest sticking to plastic toys that are good quality, like LEGO and Playmobil, both of which are made of such great plastic that they will easily become 21st century heirlooms.

Some plastics contain phthalates, which are harmful if ingested. That means that babies who chew toys can ingest these substances. It is only considered harmful if the baby has the toys in his mouth for hours a day, but it is still something to think about. Greenpeace had quite a bit of info about this subject about 4 years ago.

When you fee you have to tell the grandparents to slow down on the gifts, you can talk to them about their own childhood. My dad was sitting at my sister's house one day and called the kids over to a cabinet that had come from the house he grew up in. He opened a small drawer (roughly the size of a cutlery drawer in a modern kitchen) and said "All my toys fit in this drawer when I was a child." It sure made all of us think twice about the amount of stuff kids have.

In my family, we do a name exchange at Christmas, even for the kids, and the grandparents give meaningful gifts like homemade nightgowns and ready-to-construct birdhouse kits. I know another family whose grandparents pay for the dance/piano/karate lessons instead of giving birthday presents.
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#6 of 6 Old 07-11-2002, 01:36 AM
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we have almost 99% natural toys.
But, we do have this weird vintage plastic ball with horses in it and about 6 little cars that are mostly metal but, have some plastic.
I do not use plastic in my kitchen and I would rather have my son play with wood.
Everyone in the families knows and they have no problem.
There are sometimes less expensive wooden toys at Ross & tjmaxx.
Target has wooden toys too.
But, I do order online often.
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