Tactile Playtimes: The Benefits of Felt Toys

Posted by Mandy Abel on

 “Unstructured, open-ended play is where the magic of childhood happens.” Alana Pace

Felt toys are perfect for kids of all ages. With their soft texture and open ended nature, they encourage creativity and are a beautiful, durable and earth-friendly choice.
Felt toys represent a powerful blend of playfulness, imagination, tactile experience and conscious consumerism. There are many benefits to choosing felt toys, so let's explore a few (along with some simple care tips for keeping them in top condition!)

Eco Friendly and Made to Last

In contrast to the fleeting joys of more 'traditional' trending toys, felt toys bring a sense of timelessness to play. As plastic toys eventually find their way to landfills, felt toys offer a durable and eco-friendly alternative that nurture creativity without harming the earth. 

Fairplay felt toys are made from the highest quality sheep's wool sourced from our very own Aotearoa. Our suppliers only use non toxic, AZO-free dyes, making them completely safe for your little ones.

From loose parts to small world play, felt toys are timeless, durable and encourage creative play.

Versatile Playtimes

Felt toys are ideal for fostering creativity through play. The less a toy 'does', the more a the child has to use their imagination to play with it. Felt toys are open ended - there are no buttons to push, no flashing lights or noises - they are powered completely by imagination (not batteries!)

From small world fun to learning through play with educational loose parts, felt toys cater to many different interests and play preferences. They are versatile props for imaginative story telling and role playing activities, offering opportunities for children to construct, arrange and lead their own play times. Felt toys also encourage social play - where children can collaborate and cooperate with their peers. 

Felt toysOur felt play food is ideal for collaborative and social play for all ages. Image Credit: Tara Treasures

Sensory Exploration and Fine Motor Skills

Felt toys are a tactile treasure trove, inviting children to explore different textures with their fingers. Sensory engagement is a great way to develop fine motor skills - as little ones manipulate and arrange felt pieces, they're honing their hand-eye coordination and building dexterity in their fingers and wrists. The soft nature of felt toys makes them ideal for independent and quiet play - promoting focus and concentration.

Ethical Considerations

Beyond the many educational and tactile benefits, our felt toys carry stories of empowerment and sustainability - where every stitch is a commitment to craftsmanship and ethical values. 

The majority of our felt suppliers create their collections in the 'cottage industry'  - a small-scale mode of manufacturing generally operated out of a home rather than a large factory. This type of production enables marginalised communities facing income inequalities and other challenges to generate employment - they are often family-run, with a focus on using local resources and having flexible working conditions. In developing countries, particularly rural areas, the cottage industry plays a significant role in helping raise the living standard of the people. 

Our felt toys are a conscious choice that support fair trade practices, women's empowerment and ethical manufacturing. Image credit: Tara Treasures

A Natural Choice

Pure wool felt is inherently hygienic due to its natural antibacterial properties that help inhibit the growth of bacteria and odour. Being non-allergenic, it is great for those with sensitivities and its breathability prevents moisture buildup that can lead to mould or mildew. With proper care, wool felt is a natural and safe choice for play. 

How to Clean Felt Toys

While spot cleaning is usually sufficient, from time to time you may want to give your toys a deeper clean. Regular cleaning and proper care will help keep your felt toys looking their best. Here's what to do:

  1. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water. Add a small amount of mild soap (a few drops) and gently mix to create a soapy solution.

  2. Before cleaning the entire toy, it's a good idea to spot-test a small, inconspicuous area of the felt to ensure the soap doesn't cause any adverse reactions, like colour fading or material damage.

  3. Dip the soft cloth or sponge into the soapy water and gently dab the felt toy's surface. Be careful not to soak the felt excessively; a damp cleaning is usually sufficient. Pay special attention to any areas with stains or soiling.

  4. Rinse the felt toy thoroughly with clean, lukewarm water to remove any soap residue. You can do this by wiping the toy with a clean, damp cloth or by rinsing it under gently running water.

  5. Gently pat the toy with a dry, clean towel to remove excess moisture. It's essential to reshape the toy while drying to maintain its original form. Allow the toy to air dry completely, ideally in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

Additional Tips:

  • Avoid using hot water, as it can cause wool felt to shrink or lose its shape
  • You can use a lint roller or vacuum on a very low setting if required
  • Do not use bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the felt material
  • Always store your felt toys in a clean and dry place

Check out our unique range of felt toys and educational resources

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