Non-Plastic Toys Kids Actually Like

I’ve read enough granola-mom blogs and books to know how much hip parents love “handcrafted” wooden toys that are “simple” and “curated.” And listen, I am all for eliminating as much plastic from my house as possible. The more I read about plastic, the more I cringe. But finding non-plastic toys my kids actually like playing with is harder than it sounds.

When Nolan was 8 months old and we celebrated his first Christmas, I bought these adorable plain wooden teething toys on Etsy. They were not cheap. He did not play with them once, but my dog enjoyed chewing them, thereby creating dangerous splintered wooden weapons which had to be tossed.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve rounded up some of my kids’ favorite non-obnoxious toys. No plastic, no batteries, no earplugs required.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Stacking Blocks – I love that these nest and don’t take up a lot of space when they’re all together. They aren’t made of the thickest cardboard in the world, so if your kid steps on them they could bend, but we gave them to Will for Christmas and he still absolutely loves them.

Melissa and Doug Geometric Stacker –  Nolan received this as a gift when he was a toddler and now Will loves them too. I find it therapeutic to put them together!

Plan Toys Shape and Sort It Out – this is good for the 1-2 year range. Again, I like that everything can be kept in the box and Will likes that the pieces are very loud when hurled across the room.

Hape Alphabet Abacus – the description on this toy says it’s for 3-5 year olds, but I found it was popular from about 8-14 months and then again at age 2 or 3 when Nolan started recognizing letters and sounds.

Hape Fix It Toolbox – I’m cheating a little here because I think the little screws are plastic. Huge hit with Nolan when he turned 3 and he still plays with it today.  Now Will plays with it sometimes too (read: throws the screws under the couch).

What are your kids favorite toys? Share them below!

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Sanity Saver: The Purgatory Drawer

When Nolan was a baby, we did a pretty good job of preventing his stuff from taking over our house. We kept it mostly contained in a corner of the living room and hidden away in a built-in cabinet. Fast forward four years, a new house, another baby, and our house looks like a Target toy department after it has been picked over on Black Friday.

As he approaches five, Nolan’s memory has sharpened to a fine point, and I find removing stuff harder and harder. “Where is the purple paper I drew a pattern on last August? It was right here on the far corner of my dresser six months ago collecting dust.”

I'm worried he's going to end up like this kid!
I’m worried he’s going to end up like this kid!

I’ve recently created The Purgatory Drawer (a kitchen drawer he never opens full of pots). Right now it’s mostly used for school papers and projects I’m fairly sure he won’t miss. Some old toys go in there too, though, and after a week or so if he hasn’t asked about them, into the garbage they go.

What are your tips for tackling the STUFF?