Why Are Toys Made Of Plastic?


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You may not think of this too much, but have you ever just wondered how the idea of plastic toys came about, and why plastic? Why not clay, or some type of metal, or something that lasts longer than plastic? 

Surely there could have been something that would have been a better material for toys.

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It seems that everything that a child owns is made from plastic! 

All the toys they have contain plastic in it somewhere, and they don’t seem to last as long as anyone would like. Think about it though, your kid is going to grow fast, and probably the easiest way for them to let a toy go, is if it breaks. 

Plastic makes the perfect material for a toy to last just the right amount of time.

The actual reason for toys being made of plastic, is it is a lightweight, flexible, and colorful material that can be made into almost any shape and size. On top of that, it is also economical and fast to produce, allowing companies to produce many more and many different types of toys for your kids.

If toys were to be made of metal (as many of them used to be) the prices for those toys would be much higher as the price of metal and using it to make things continues to go up. 

Plastic on the other hand is super easy to mold and cheap to produce so toy manufacturers can keep the costs for toys low (making enticing parents to buy them easier) while still making a healthy profit. 

To see the most popular toys on the market currently just click here. 

When Did Plastic Toys Start Being Made?

How did plastic toys come about? What brought up the idea to someone in the first place? And when did plastic toys become popular? 

These are questions that pop into my head sometimes. It truly does make me scratch my head when I see how much fun a piece of plastic can actually bring to someone. The person that came up with it must have been some kind of genius.

Most toys in the past used to be made of wood or cloth, but plastic, who would have thought? 

The first plastic toys were made of celluloid in the 19th century when the bather with moulded and fully hand-painted blonde hair was created. However, plastic toys did not become firmly established until World War II.

Most people used to make toys for their kids as that’s all they could afford to do. At Christmas, you could find a wood or tin car, a porcelain-eye doll, or a cloth doll made with some straw. Plastic wasn’t even created until the 19th century. Wood and metal proved to be inefficient for the mass production needed to meet the extreme growth of toys.

In the late 1940s, Fisher Price, was the first company to go completely plastic in its toy production. The idea was so great that other companies decided to follow in their footsteps. 

This led to the creation of G.I Joe by Hasbro, then to the Barbie Doll. Today, plastic toys dominate 90% percent of the toy market. Even board games, card games, and some of the more sophisticated games have gone to plastic materials.

Are Wooden Toys Better Than Plastic?

Do I want my future kids to play with all plastic toys? Would wooden toys be a better choice for them? I don’t know which one I would go with over the other, or if I would just do a mix of them. 

I’m sure that each one will have its advantages and disadvantages.

One thing that wooden toys have over plastic is that the child needs to use their imagination when using a wooden toy. Also if you want to be friendly to the environment, wood is definitely the way to go.

As far as safety goes, again, wood is probably the best bet for you. If you want the toy to last longer, wood, if chosen correctly, will last you a very long time!! Lastly, wood is extremely accessible, you can literally walk out your front door and find wood, this will allow you or your child to save money and even use some imagination to make their own toy.

If a child plays with a wooden toy, they choose the color they want it to temporarily be, they choose what role that toy will be playing during that session and so many more things allowing them to develop their creativity. 

Wood is definitely more environmentally friendly and is more natural, so that is a plus if you love to help out nature. In regards to safety (kids love to put things in their mouth) wood is more durable and can be made more sturdy than plastic toys. 

When it comes to wooden toys, though, it may take some time to make it yourself, as not very many companies make them to sell.

Plastic toys are great for convenience as they are already made for you, you can recycle them into a new toy, and they can also create imagination and creativity. Plastic toys, while a little dangerous for smaller children, can be less of a hazard with supervision, or with higher quality toys.

The choice is up to you as to what type of toy you think is better for you and your children. They each have their advantages and disadvantages.

What Type Of Plastic Are Toys Made From?

You may question what your kids are actually playing with. Is it safe for them in the long run? Are they experiencing any type of damage to their bodies? What is in the plastic that their favorite toy is made of?

Most toys that your child is playing with are safe and in no way dangerous to them. On the other hand, some toys can be somewhat harmful since some plastics have been found to contain toxins. 

The amount of toxins is extremely low, but you should still be very cautious when purchasing plastic toys for your children.

Most toys contain polystyrene, a rigid, brittle, and inexpensive plastic commonly used to make plastic model kits. This material is harmless to your children so you don’t have to worry. 

Some older toys may also contain lead that is used to soften the toy. Lead in toys is dangerous if ingested so be sure to keep older toys with possible lead away from younger children. 

All in all, every toy that your child comes into contact with could contain some material that seems dangerous, but don’t worry, they aren’t. But even with this, it’s still a good idea to be very careful and weary of what your child is playing with. 

It  may not be dangerous in the way you think, but almost anything can be harmful to children if a piece breaks off or if they try to eat it and it gets stuck. 

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