Babies, Families

Eco-Friendly Wooden Kids Toys

wooden kids toys

wooden kids toys

Look into any parent of a young child’s home (including ours) and you’ll most likely see a sea of plastic toys, many electronic with music with flashing lights (my least favourite!).

I have to say that I am not a fan of plastic toys, not least for how they are produced and the time it takes for the plastic to break down in landfill (often longer than 700 years).  They are also not the most aesthetically pleasing, and are full of nasty chemicals linked to illness in later life.

I much prefer wooden kids toys.  Wooden toys are (if you choose correctly) sustainable, degradable and free of the chemical risks that plastic toys possess.  They can also be  real hand-me-down pieces.

Of course, we have plastic toys bought for us and I do not discourage my daughter from playing with them.  However, since the age of about 6 months old, when she started showing an interest in toys, her preference has been for wooden kids toys.

Our first purchase, found in a charity shop, was a wooden shape sorter in the shape of a house.  She adored banging the blocks together and other toys barely got a look in.  Since then our collection of wooden toys have grown and she still loves her wooden toys as much as ever.  Her current favourite is a red London bus from Habitat – hours of fun taking the people in and out of the bus!

Here is the rest of our collection:

eco-friendly wooden toys

As wooden kids toys are so durable, even though they all look like new, we actually found most of these in charity shops, and the walker came second-hand from eBay.  The bus was the only toy we bought new, as a Christmas present, and the jigsaw was a gift from a family member.

If you’re looking to buy a special toy for a child in your life, perhaps for a birthday or Christmas present, then here is a run down of some other great wooden kids toys I found on the internet, separated into age groups:


wooden toys for babies

Links: 1/ 2/ 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7



wooden toddler toys

Links: 1 / 2. Canterbury Toy Shop / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

Older Kids
wooden kids toys

Links: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Most of the wooden kids toys I’ve showcased here are from sustainable sources or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accredited – if you are uncertain of the provenance of a toy then do contact the manufacturer.  You can also find a list of international and UK FSC accredited products and suppliers here on the FSC website.

Garden, Home and Garden

Allotment Ideas: Inspiring Allotments

allotment ideas

allotment ideas

For a long time allotment gardening was widely seen as the preserve of older men in flat caps (remember Arthur and his allotment in Eastenders? ), as a place to potter about and sit in their sheds.  However, as food prices continue to grow higher and higher, and more and more modern housing developments are created without any private gardens, more and more people are getting in to allotment gardening.

Allotment gardening is a great and cheap way to have access to your own plot of land for growing fruit and vegetables (approximately £50 a year for a standard sized plot); the allotment community is friendly and sociable and keen to share knowledge and swap seeds; and it’s a relaxing and fairly stress-free hobby (as long as slugs don’t attack!).

Now, it’s true that allotments aren’t exactly renowned for looking particularly pleasing on the eye, but whilst browsing the internet for allotment ideas I came across a few that really grabbed me:

Inspiring Allotment Ideas

The Traditional Allotment

This traditional style allotment, found on Fennel & Fern, looks beautiful and really productive:

beautiful allotment

It seems that with a bit of planning and forethought allotments can look good as well as being practical (although it does help if you have some stellar carpentry skills to create that shed!).

The Modern Allotment

Whilst browsing the internet, it also struck me that developers are cottoning on to the fact that people want access to garden space.  These modern allotments at Saxton in Leeds are a great example of developers incorporating allotments into modern flat developments.  Although the plots are small there is still plenty scope for growing a variety of different vegetables, and I have the say the multi-colour sheds are very aesthetically pleasing.  Who wouldn’t want to be out at their allotment on a gloriously sunny day?

modern allotment

Images from Urban Splash

I know they aren’t the biggest of plots, but it’s given me all sorts of allotment ideas – a brightly coloured shed and some raised beds for starters!

Want Your Own Allotment?

All fired up and wanting your very own allotment?  The best bet is to contact your local council, however the National Allotment Society may also be a useful port of call.

However, I’m not wanting to burst your bubble, but in case you weren’t aware, there is a terrible problem of supply and demand, in that there are often huge waiting lists for allotment spaces.  In some parts of Edinburgh alone there are 9 year waiting lists, and sadly, from what I am aware of, the Council is doing very little to help free up more land for allotments.  In many places up and down the country allotments have even been sold off to developers.

You might be wondering what you can do about this?  There is an online petition that you can sign that calls for the Government to introduce and implement a new allotment strategy to help improve the current provision and increase the number of allotments available to meet demand.  You can sign it here – it’s open until 18th January 2014 and needs at least 20,000 signatures so please spread the word.

I have heard of some areas of the country where there are allotments ready and waiting for occupiers, so it may be that you are one of the lucky few, but in any case, sign the petition for all of us less privileged!