Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Things do not change. We change."

Soooo....the problem with kids' toys these days is how incredibly useless so many of them are. I admit I fell prey to a lot of lame toys with my daughter, seeing as she was the first and I didn't really have much experience knowing how kids play, and at what ages. With my second, to be frank, he has many fewer toys--basically just hand-me-downs from his sister, and only the ones that were any good at that.

Now that I have a little more mommy-savvy under my belt, it is becoming increasingly easy to recognize DUMB toys when I see them. Most often, these are toys that a) eliminate (or at least greatly reduce) the need for imagination; b) eliminate (or at least greatly reduce) the need for physical activity; c)have lots of parts, but no purpose; or d) try to make a perfectly good, toy-free game into something new (usually by employing any or all of the aforementioned methods. 

Case in point (Disney...I really am a fan, please don't sue me...):
The Mickey Mouse-ke-TAG system, as seen here. It's a game--of tag (see note D). Only instead of using friends, or your imagination (see note A) to invent endless versions of the game, one lonely child is told by Goofy which toy piece (see note C) he ought to "tag."

I really don't get this...why can't I just yell, "TAG! You're it!" or "Definitely do NOT chase me!" before I take off running away from my toddler?

Here's another recent "invention" that has popped up recently: talking everything. Like this Dora Talking Kitchen. Why does a kitchen have to talk? Isn't the whole point of pretend play for kids to get lost in their imaginations? To be in a pretend world, which they alone construct? To problem solve and think, not be told what to do or have sounds made for them? My daughter, as lame as it is, has a "kitchen" that is made out of an old shoe rack with a stove drawn on top, and an old toy box turned on its end for the fridge. Many a delicious gourmet meal has been cooked for me in that kitchen. And while we are getting her a wooden play kitchen that is slightly more realistic than her shoe rack for Christmas, it will certainly not talk for her. In fact, it won't even hiss, beep, count, or ding.

Actually, as I wander through the aisles of my favorite stores of late, I have noticed a LOT of this. And I have been wondering, is it the world that is getting more obvious with the bombardment of useless consumer items, or am I the one who is changing? Is it just the fact that I am becoming more aware of my purchases, my home, my children, my world that is causing me to notice these things?

So parents...please avoid useless toys this Black Friday! Don't bring them home. Stop, think. CHANGE!

And, just for fun (and as a helpful hint too!) please, please tell me what useless toys you know of. It would be a great way to start the shopping season to avoid these things! (Or alternately, if you know of an amazing toy, post that too!)

Happy Shopping!


  1. Have you ever visited soulemama.typepad.com? She wrote this awesome book where she spends a chapter talking about toys and about how SO many of them eliminate the need for children to use their imagination. It's crazy how much toys "do" FOR our children now instead of the children having to use the toy to "do" something for them. KWIM? I like this post!

  2. Ooh! Thanks, Cerissa! I will check that out! :)

  3. So, being child-less I don't know too many toys.. But I do know that when my nephew was about three, we piled all of his Christmas gifts up (about a 5 foot tall pile.), and we asked him what his favorite present was...
    He looked at the pile, and went straight for his stocking.
    He then held up his 99 cent chocolate orange.


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