When I started putting my daughter’s nursery together, I knew what I wanted: modern, neutral colors. Cute organic Euro-designed wood toys (all gifts or found at the second-hand store). Lots of books. And NO plastic.
I was most militant about the plastic part. There are real health reasons for avoiding plastic toys, as well as my more questionable aesthetic ones. And then there’s the environmental impact–nothing shouts ‘carbon footprint’ as loudly as a discarded Tickle Me Elmo.
Well, here we are, almost two years later. And I am drowning in a sea of plastic clutter. Noisy, tacky, environmentally questionable clutter.
Why? Kids at this particular developmental stage love it. Anything that is brightly colored, beeping, and requires batteries that are not included is instant toddler crack. Moreover, they love choice—they crave a dizzying variety of shapes, sizes, and sounds. They learn through choosing, sorting, and discarding. Toddlers are capricious; the beloved squeaky toy of yesterday is cruelly cast aside for something shinier (and probably more expensive) the next. In fact, the “Terrible Twos” should be renamed the “Tacky Twos”. Read the rest of this entry »