One of the most popular toys for toddlers have always been block puzzles. Besides being fun to play with, these types of puzzles are also very good for children’s mental development.
They require a high level of attention and concentration. Unlike babies who can’t really focus on something for too long, toddlers are just learning to concentrate and puzzles are the perfect tools to build those “concentration muscles”. Plus, they also help build vital motor skills.
There are different types of block puzzles, adapted for different age groups and featuring different themes. But whichever puzzle design you choose, the most important thing you should bear in mind is for it to be safe. When it comes to safety, parents often can’t decide whether wooden or plastic block puzzles are the better option. These two types of materials are the most common when it comes to toddler toys. Being aware of the advantages and disadvantages of both types can help you make the right choice.
Wooden Block Puzzles
So, why should you explore the range of wooden block puzzles for toddlers? Here are some convincing reasons.
- Long-lasting and safe – Wood is considered to be one of the most durable and safe materials for toddler toys. Puzzles made of wood usually have very soft edges and there’s no chance for your child to be at risk of getting injured. Additionally, wooden toy puzzles won’t break into tiny pieces that children can easily swallow, or fall apart in a way that they become harmful for use.
- Free from Toxic Chemicals – The best thing about wooden block puzzles for toddlers is that they aren’t treated with a variety of chemicals known to be toxic and cause health problems in children, unlike some plastic toys .
- Better for the environment – Wooden toys are eco-friendly because they don’t contain PVC and other chemicals that are used in plastic toys. Plus, they don’t take thousands of years to degrade and as such don’t pollute the environment.
- Simple – Educational wooden puzzles for toddlers are designed with simplicity in mind and your child won’t have any difficulties recognizing the shapes.
No matter how far technology advances, wooden puzzles will never go out of style and will always be among the most beloved toddler toys. There are many different types of wooden puzzles suitable for this age group, with many different childhood themes and colours designs.
However, there are also a few disadvantages of wooden puzzles that should be discussed.
- Heavier than plastic. Wooden puzzles tend to be heavier plastic ones, which can make it harder for some children to hold the pieces.
- Chewing – You child might also chew on his wooden toy, which could lead to swallowing little wood pieces. Although almost all wooden toys for toddlers have been designed bearing all these things in mind, you should purchase wisely.
Plastic Block Puzzles
What makes plastic block puzzles a better option over wooden ones?
- Less expensive – Plastic puzzles are a good option for those who are unable to afford wooden types of toys for their children, because they’re cheaper.
- Washable – A great advantage of the plastic toys, and puzzles and well, is that they are washable, therefore they’re easily to clean and disinfect. This is especially good if your child likes to place the toys to his mouth.
- More colourful – Plastic puzzles and plastic toys in general usually come with a very detailed design and in various colours, which makes them much more interesting then the simple wooden ones.
- BPA free – Many modern plastic toys are BPA free, which is a chemical that has been used to make certain types of plastic. Being BPA free, they are healthier for children. However, not all plastic toys are like that, so make sure that you check the label.
Just like wooden block puzzles, plastic block puzzles also have some negatives sides.
- Less durable – Plastic puzzles are not as durable as wooden puzzles. They can get dents or break easily, especially if the child smashes them roughly. And if this happens, tiny pieces of plastic can be easily swallowed by small children and become a choking hazard.
- Less environmentally friendly – Plastic toys are known for containing chemicals and being non-degradable which makes them bad for the environment.
- Overwhelming – Plastic toys usually come in bright and loud colours, which can visually overwhelm some children.
The best choice you can make when buying puzzles for your curious toddler, is to select ones that are safest, and that will suit your budget at the same time. Be careful and always check if the toy you’re buying is suitable for the age of your child. All in all, you can notice that wooden puzzles are slightly better than plastic puzzles, especially when safety is concerned. Even though they’re a bit more expensive, the fact that they last longer means that several generations of children can use them.