I have wood on my mind…several things have cropped up to cause this. No pun intended!
Firstly, I have been wanting to buy a little kitchen set up for my kids to create a ‘pretend play area’. My Montessori book tells me, why have pretend, when you can actually have your kids in the kitchen, where they want to be? Well it’s not really where I want them to be and apart from the odd times where I may get my son to help me prepare some food, I thought it best to give him a ‘pretend area’. It is also my way to trying to diversify his interests a little away from cars and trains and I have a daughter and niece who will enjoy playing with it also.
I tried E-Bay to no avail. My few forays into E-Bay have left me wary of buying other people’s crap, as I have done on a few occasions. I know many others beg to differ.
Research at the local toy store and elsewhere showed that these toy kitchens (I wanted wood, as Montessori also says that having beautifully crafted wooden toys is good for kids – they appreciate it apparently. Also I think it looks better than plastic) cost around $250 and up! This was not what I had in mind.
I had about given up the idea and was trying to think of ways to convert a bookshelf into this elusive oven, when Aldi had a toy sale extravaganza and what were they selling? All kinds of wooden toys for kids. I was very excited and ordered my husband to buy all kinds of these wooden toys: oven and food accessories; dollhouse and spaceship. But as I did this, I ignored the niggling voice in my head which was questioning where Aldi was sourcing its wood from. At these low prices for which the company prides itself, it surely could not have been sustainably managed forests.
Does this make me a bad Eco-mum? It probably does. Around the time of the purchase, I happened to watch a documentary about the Earth Liberation Front (for more info on them, go to http://earth-liberation-front.org/ ) and the fact that some of the guys in the group have gone to jail and are effectively in isolation. After all, deforestation is a major environmental threat and issue. Trees provide habitat to many species, clean our air by absorbing carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas), stabilize soil and prevent erosion, provide us with fruit and other natural resources (like wood) and are beautiful.
Since, I have tried in vain to find where this brand ‘JacknJill’ source their wood from, but I haven’t found anything. I have also gone to the toy stores to see if the alternatives were more environmentally friendly, but they weren’t. I have however found a website that does sell the alternative at a price: http://www.ecotoys.com.au/store/eco-toys.php?cat=6
In the end, the price was too hard for me to ignore. I could have avoided the whole thing and not bought anything at all, but sometimes being a mum takes precedence over my moral conscience. I have however vowed to write to Aldi and voice my opinion. At least they should say where the wood comes from, maybe in time, the alternative won’t cost 5 to 6 times more.
Wooden toys have continued to be a common part of childhood. By the 1700’s, German toymakers began to craft a variety of play figures from wood to sell to the general public. Salesmen would travel around Europe to market their popular wood toys, taking advance orders for special occasions. Almost life-like dolls and animals were becoming favorite playthings for children all over Europe.,
Think of it this way; it’s probably less of an Eco- footprint then the petroleum used in kitchen sets. Plus you are nurturing what would appear to be far more socially aware kids which can only benefit the earth in the future. I say well done. Wish I could find one of these myself – will havd to rely on our mini lab in the meantime.