Organic Toys for Kids: Benefits and Importance

Organic Toys for kids

Kids put all kinds of things in their mouth, especially babies and toddlers. Most toys are synthetic, plastic and are made using harmful chemicals which if ingested or inhaled can cause sever developmental blocks, cancer and diseases.

Organic Toys have flooded the market with lots of theories on what’s best and what isn’t for kids. We used to play with pebbles and sticks and earthern pots and bricks. Apart from the mud which went into our mouths, we never ingested lead, PVC vinyl, Asbetos which are present in modern day toys.

Why Organic Toys for Kids? Organic Toys are made from organic materials, they are certified, chemical free and safe for kids. Kids can play with them, inhale, put them in their mouths safely.

Toys are manufactured using Materials which can be toxic to our children. Some of the Toxic elements identified in toys and still might be present are listed below.

Lead in Toys

Lead might be present in the paint and the plastic used in toys. Lead makes the paint last longer and hence is used to keep costs low especially since most toys are mass produced.

Why is Lead in Toys harmful?

Lead is a neurotoxin affecting the intellectual and physical development in children. Lead exposure can cause any of the following symptoms based on the amount of exposure. Even if the mother has been exposed to lead her newborn will show these symptoms and sadly lead affects kids below 5 years more.

  • Hyperactivity
  • fine motor skills deficit
  • deficit in hand eyecordination
  • delayed reaction time
  • lower performance on intelligence tests
  • physical and mental development can be affected
  • Learning and memory
  • Attention can cause ADHD
  • Brain Damage
  • Mental Retardation
  • Behavioral problems
  • low IQ
  • diminished school performance
  • brain damage
  • Developmental delays
  • Violence
  • Death
  • Damage of sense organs and nerves controlling the body
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Hearing and Vision impairment in adult
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Agitation
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures

Which Toys have Lead in them?

Lead is said to be found in metal toys, plastic toys, antique toys, imported toys and toy jewelry. Here is a list of Toys which can contain lead.

  • Metal Toy Jewelry
  • Crayons
  • Chalk
  • Clothing
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fidget Spinners

Harmful Effects of Plastic Toys

Plastic is present in many toys, teethers, bath toys. Any soft plastic toy is harmful to babies. Plastic toys ( especially recycled toys) can contain fire retardent chemicals or polybrominated diethyl ethers (PBDEs) which are extremly harmful.

The harmful chemicals leech and enter into our bodies. The entry into our bodies could be because of eating from plastic containers, drinking from plastic bottles, leached from teethes and bathing toys.

Why is Plastic in Toys Harmful?

BPA, phthalates and PVC present in Plastic can cause physical and developmental damage. Some of the damages which plastic can cause are listed below

  • Endocrine Disruptor or Hormone disruptor
  • Can cause Cancer
  • Immune diseases
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Learning Difficulty
  • Behavioral difficulty
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Reproductory Problems – Birth defects, infertility, low sperm count, Congenital malformations
  • Childhood obesity
  • Lower IQ scores

Asbestos in Toys

Asbestos can cause cancer, mesothelioma, lung cancer, kidney cancer, pulmonary diseases. Asbestos is dangerous even if inhaled and it is shocking that some toys contain asbestos.

Asbestos can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer.

Toys and products containing asbestos

  • Crayons
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Children’s makeup

What to Look for in Organic Toys

Organic Toys are considered safe because the materials used for producing them are all natural, chemical free and non toxic. Be aware that all organic toys and furniture might not be 100% organic.

Are all Organic Toys Safe?

The product might be organic but the glue used might contain chemicals. The paint might have lead in it. I would recommend purchasing products which are not painted or coated with lacquer or any chemicals.

The products used to make the toys should be certified as 100% certified. Even the paints used to stain the toys should be from organic dyes ( dyes from plants). The plants producing dyes should be grown on soil which is pesticide free and free of chemicals of all kinds.

Fabrics used in Toys can cause Eczema

Fabric is usually treated with resins either while processing or while colouring them with dyes. There might be other chemicals used as well such as those used while processing cotton. These can cause skin ailments such as dermatitis.

Organic cotton is processed by hand, hand picked and washed in hot water and gentle soap. There are no pesticides or chemicals used.

Toys should be made from organic materials which are certified such as FSC Forest Stewardship Council which certifies wood.

Benefits of playing with Organic Toys

So is this all hype and just a trend? Do Organic toys have any benefits for kids apart from the benefit that they are safe.

Creative Play Enhanced

Dolls made from cotton and wool don’t have faces as a barbie does. This means that they can be used for open-ended play. The same doll can be a baby or a policeman or a nurse or as a mom. It throws the doors open for creative play.

Simplicity

These toys are simple. They have no moving parts, no lights and sounds. Simplicity is very comforting for the child, brings in a sense of calm and peace and lots of role plays, reasoning, cognitive abilities and creativity.

Safety

Most organic toys are made simply using cotton and cloth, there are no moving parts. No fears of choking and other hazards, safe for all ages.

There are no plastics or lead or harmful dyes just natural wood usually bamboo or hardwood.

Dyes used are from natural plant sources derived from leaves, berries and roots. As long as the plant used for dye is organic it is safe even if sucked and chewed on.

Sharp edges and parts which break away are a concern for parents. Wooden toys are sturdy and are very safe.

Organic Toys for Kids – What to Buy

Overwhelmed ! Looking for ideas to buy the perfect toy for your child? Why not look at a few categories of toys and pick a toy from one suitable for your child.

Stuffed animals and dolls

You can never go wrong with a stuffed doll or animal. One of these is more than enough for a child. Too many choices overwhelm a child, just one stuffed toy can be all the child wants in their imagination including themselves.

These stuffed toys are made from organic cotton and cloth and natural fibers. They are machine washable and the natural fibers pick up parent’s scent which makes it very comforting for the baby.

Wooden toys

It is amazing how many wooden toys are available including rattles, blocks teething rings, wooden trains and pull toys.

Dress-up clothes

Kids love playing dress-up and I used to purchase different costumes ( spiderman, police). After reading up many books and after research and especially after my decision to try to minimalise toys  I have kept a few silk scarves ( bright coloured ones) and some strings ( my kid is big now). I also gave my son my old dupatta or big scarf which he uses as a cape. I gave him an old bedsheet to make forts ( he drapes it over chairs).

Enhances Learning Skills

Construction sets, puzzles and building blocks can help with cognitive skills, motor skills, learning numbers, solving problems. If these toys are organic it adds in another dimension of safety and longevity as it can be passed on down generations.

As a side note kids with learning disabilities can learn from such toys.

Promotes social interaction

This is one benefit which I am so eternally grateful for my fam not sure how our family started allowing kids to play computer games, watch endless mind numbing Television and watching YouTube videos on the tablet.

When I realised my mistake I minimalised everything, got rid of the television, brought in openended toys and have never looked back.

My child used to be isolated, would never mix with other kids and there were constant fights between both the kids.

Gladly all this reversed, he plays a lot, takes part in lots of activities for kids in our community and mysteriously has energy to play and study.

Engrossed Play

The playtime sessions have become more meaningful and intense. Since the toys cannot make any sounds, produce no lights, he provides sounds, voices and interactions on his own.

Related Questions

How to know if a Toys is safe?

As a parent it is our duty to figure out if a toy is safe for our kids, even if it is freely available in a major toy shop or online store.

Many kid safe toys are really not safe. When you contact a manufacturer asking if a toy is safe, they will reply that the levels of ingredients are below safety levels. In reality we do not want our kids exposed to any level of any of the harmful chemicals. If unsure about a toy or craft item, here is what you can doy

  • Look for toys which are made from untreated organic cotton, natural rubber and untreated wood.
  • Ask the manufacturer, they have a customer service email and phone number on every product
  • Look for ACMI ( Art and Creative Materials Institute) label. This label is a guarantee that the product is nontoxic
  • Look for a certificate by the manufacturer on the toy which is labeled “Children’s Product Certificate”. This certificate is issued to the manufacturer after the toys and art supplies have been tested by a third party lab

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