Eco Friendly Toys
There are several well documented advantages to buying eco friendly toys for your children. Perhaps the largest advantage is that they are generally more durable than cheaper plastic toys; that means they last longer and can be passed down through families. So whilst they may seem more expensive initially they work out better in the long run. Great examples of wooden toys include blocks, simple jigsaws, animals and hobby horses or other ride along toys for toddlers.
Another major advantage of ethical toys is that they encourage children to use their imaginations more. A lot of modern plastic toys are designed with all sorts of noises and lights and buttons, which speak a word, letter or sound to help small children recognise them. Whilst these may seem like a good idea there is really no substitute for them learning speech recognition from you and the other people around them as facial expressions often make it a lot easier for them to learn words. With wooden or other eco aware toys they are normally simple, but bright and designed to spark imaginations so that older toddlers can make up their own games and do the noises for animals rather than being spoon fed the ideas.
Fair trade toys are another good example here, as they can introduce children to other cultures early so as to encourage recognition of diversity and acceptance of others. This may seem a lofty ideal for a 2 year old, but if they have exposure to toys that depict other cultures or represent them through shapes, themes or art work then when they come to mix with people from other cultures in the classroom environment they are likely to be more receptive to learning more about them. So whilst eco friendly toys may seem a bit of a "hippy ideal", when you start to think more deeply about them they do make a lot of sense for your pocket, your child and give you the sense that buying fair trade you are helping enrich someone else's life in a real and tangible way.