Our kids have a bunch of ‘traditional’ toys.
There is some misty eyed belief that toys from the past are somehow better; that playing with something whittled from wood rather than vac-formed from plastic makes the playing experience more valid or somehow more innocent. That plastic corrupts; that anything with a battery in it is somehow wrong (easy, now…)
This is a crock.
The main problem with wooden toys is that they generally don’t withstand much punishment. Maybe back-in-the-day children treated their toys with more respect because grandpa fashioned their toy train out of an old piece of driftwood and some thrupeny bits and if little Jonny came home with his train in bits then Grandpa would beat him and lock him in the cellar for a couple of weeks. Oh, innocent days…
But I’ve found that small children have an unerring ability to knacker just about anything. I seem to remember hearing or reading somewhere that Volkswagen used 5yr olds to test the interior robustness of one of their new models; apart from unleashing a hoard of sugar loaded gibbons I can’t think of a better test. Every toy in our house has at some time in it’s unfortunate life been thrown with a degree of force at a wall or floor; dropped from tables; tumbled down the stairs or inadvertently left in the garden to brave the elements. Our house is S.A.S training for toys. Most wooden toys don’t survive half of these ordeals.
The other reason wooden toys are cack is that there are so many toys that are not made of wood that are amazing: lego, matchbox cars, transformers, plasticine, Scalletric – loads. I would say that the toys worth their weight in gold in our house are: lego, paints and toy cars.
Wooden toys are aimed at parents (literally, sometimes) and they are the ones that choose them, not the kids. Parents don’t want their children to lose their innocence – as if children from the ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s lived a life from an Enid Blyton book. I was a child in the ’70’s and I can attest that it was not the case. I had a Grifter (my brother – the swine – had the Chopper) and we had an Atari (we would have sold a kidney for an Xbox 360…) and we watched Scooby Doo, Spiderman and Kickstart and tried to copy anything we could from those shows, using the formerly mentioned tools, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
Did we run through fields of corn, in cinefilm shades, like two clear eyed models from a Boden campaign? Of course not. Aside from getting bullied on Facebook or texted abuse from our classmates our childhood was as innocent as today’s. I would bet the farm that people in the 19th century bemoaned the same thing.