WHY ECO-FRIENDLY TOYS ARE THE WAY TO GO THIS CHRISTMAS
by Chené Koscielny
You teach your child the importance of looking after the planet, but could this message become lost in the sea of plastic that Santa plans to leave under the Christmas tree?
Sylvia Zihna is the owner of Teia Education & Play, a Meinier-based company specialising in high quality, eco-friendly educational materials and toys online for babies and children aged 0 to 12.
She explains why we should make Christmas 2020 count by choosing green toys to put under the tree.
Not only will we be setting a good example, but sustainable toys are better for the planet, more durable, educational, memorable and fun!
1. LESS IS MORE
The last thing you want is a disappointed little face on Christmas morning, but we also know that when there are too many parcels to open, children soon become overwhelmed and lose interest. In fact, they end up playing with the packaging!
Given the inevitable life lessons we’ve all had to learn as a result of COVID this year, this may just be the perfect year to teach your child that spending time together and playing with one or two creative, quality toys is much more precious than working their way through a plastic mountain under the tree, says Sylvia.
2. SUSTAINABLE TOYS MEANT TO LAST FOREVER
Be honest, how many of the Christmas gifts your child received last year were either broken or long forgotten before the end of that day?
This year – focus on sustainable, eco-friendly toys that are more durable, less likely to break and could bring hours of pleasure for years to come.
Some of our favourites are:
3. CREATE MEMORIES
We all have a few favourite toys from our childhood that bring back memories – for me it’s the wooden Russian dolls my dad brought home after one of his business trips – they still have pride of place in my living room and bring back beautiful memories of that year and of my joy at receiving this special gift.
Here are some examples of gifts that could help to create special memories.
4. EYE CANDY
OK, this may be a little selfish, but how many toys are attractive enough that you don’t mind having them on display in your living room when guests come round? The beauty of sustainable and green toys is that they are often not only well made, but also very decorative and they can even be an interesting talking point.
Here we are thinking of:
5. LEARNING THROUGH PLAY
Children learn best when playing, as we know, and the toys they play with can make a big difference in their education, says Sylvia. Materials created in line with Montessori principles, for example, are designed to be progressive and to focus on the development of specific skills, such as literacy or numeracy skills or coordination and motor skills.
Teia Education & Play is the Swiss flagship distributor of top global Montessori brands and all these materials are certified by the AMI – Association Montessori Internationale – and handcrafted from the finest sustainable materials according to the original blueprints defined by Maria Montessori for the Montessori method.
6. EASE OF MIND
Even before Covid, the question of the safety of toys which often end up in your young child’s mouth was a worry. The last thing you want is a trip to the hospital on Christmas day. How do you ensure that the toys your child plays with are made from safe and non-toxic materials? This is one of the main reasons Sylvia started her company.
“I was never 100% sure that the toys I bought were safe,” she says.
Teia Education & Play only stock toys that have been certified as 100% safe and non-toxic. All paints and dyes used for finishing the toys are water based and non-toxic and this gives me ease of mind.
7. A GOOD INVESTMENT
You often hear parents complain that eco-friendly toys are expensive, says Sylvia, but this is an argument that she just doesn’t buy.
Eco-friendly toys are not mass produced and are often handcrafted by artisans whom receive fair pay, from materials with a certified and traceable origin, as opposed to factory-made plastic toys. These are safe and ethical products which are made with respect for the environment as well as for the people making them. Her advice is to see the toys and learning materials as an investment in your child’s development and as something durable and of high quality that is likely to be passed on from generation to generation instead of ending in the rubbish bin after a week.
WHO IS TEIA EDUCATION & PLAY?
Teia Education & Play is a Swiss family-run company selling sustainable and 100% toxin free educational materials and toys for children aged 0-12 years.
Sylvia, who is Dutch, started the company 2 years ago after struggling to find the original Montessori materials and high quality toys for her children in Switzerland. The company, which she runs from her home in Meinier has grown massively to represent 30 European and American brands.
Her assortment includes educational toys and games, original AMI certified Montessori materials, open-ended handmade wooden toys, Waldorf toys, creative art and craft materials, wooden puzzles, school supplies and furniture and Montessori reference and parenting books.
Teia Education & Play sells online and ships worldwide and also sells offline to preschools, primary schools, Montessori schools, Waldorf/Steiner schools, playgroups, childcare centres, toy libraries, family centres and after-school programs throughout Switzerland and Liechtenstein.