Melissa’s Anti-Gift Guide (Worst Children’s Toys)
I’m not someone who believes television is evil, because how can television be evil when Spongebob Squarepants is on it? No television isn’t evil, but advertising is (also, my husband works in advertising….hmm…).
I know how to say no to my kids, so when they ask for every single thing they see on television it doesn’t faze me. The problem starts when a gift giving occasion comes up and I attempt to discern what things on their wish list are worthwhile entertainment for my kids and which things looked like tons of fun on the commercial and will be played with for 2.4 minutes before they learn yet another lesson about truth in advertising.
In an effort to help you avoid my mistakes in judgment, I thought I’d share a few of the toys I saw played for 2 minutes, the ones I cursed for coming into our home and those you should just stay away from. It’s an Anti-Gift Guide.
Dr. Dreadful’s Freaky Food Lab looks like big freaky fun in the commercial. In their own mad scientist-style labratory, your child creates edible concoctions shaped like spiders and snakes. Problem? It’s messy, the molds don’t release and the concoctions taste like what I suspect it would taste like if I wanted to chew on the sole of my running shoes. I don’t and neither do my kids. This toy got about 45 minutes of use, since it takes that long to cook up a batch of rubbery garbage to eat. Another thing to hate? All the recipe packets contain traces of nuts, so don’t buy it for your allergic child. Unless you think an trip to the ER would up the freaky fun factor.
Go Go My Walking Pup has become code for “This probably isn’t as fun as it looks” in our house. When my daughter sees something on television she wants and I know it’s going to be stupid I say, “Remember Go Go?” And she does, oh she does. Go Go My Walking Pup is a FurReal Friend and although GoGo is no longer available we also had the FurReal Cub and if Go Go has become symbolic of all toys that look fun but aren’t, the FurReal Cub has become symbolic of all the toys you want to punch in the face a few times. Go Go was supposed to go for walks with you and come when called. The commercial showed a little girl in an elaborate fantasy where Go Go went for walks through town with her and people stopped to pet it. In the commercial Go Go gave out kisses and came when called. Why, it’s practically like a real dog my (dog-obsessed) daughter thought. Sure Go Go was like a dog, a hard of hearing dog. I’ll never forget the hour after we opened Go Go where my daughter called to Go Go about 100 times. “Go Go. Come here Go Go. Go Go. Go GO! GO GO!!! Here Go Go! Come here girl!” I knew within 15 minutes this toy was a bust and symbolically I grabbed my wallet and tossed the $30 we’d spent on it in the trash.
Moon Sand is a new addition to my Anti Gift List. I purchased it for my daughter’s birthday on a whim. I knew Go Go was going to be pretty lame, but I’ll admit I fell for the Moon Sand commercials. It’s like sand! But better because it’s like wet sand without the mess of a sand table and water in the house! We pulled it out and I expected at least an hour of fun from it. 18 minutes later both kids were fed up. To quote Madison, “I’d rather just play with play dough.” Moon Sand is an interesting concept, build sand castles without the beach! In reality the sand doesn’t really stick all that well, pulling the sand out of the molds inevitably takes off part of it and even though you get a small inflatable container for your moon sand, it still crumbles all over the place. Way to go Moon Sand! You’ve now made me mad by spreading your tiny particles all over my house, but I can get over that if the kids are having some fun at least. But no, you’ve also irritated the kids. I want my $10 back.
I have to include a Bratz doll on my list even though I’ve never bought one or had one come into our home. I’ve told my daughter no Bratz dolls because they’re not very nice girls (which is code for: “They look like tiny whores.”). Madison has countered by suggesting, “They’re actually really nice mom! They just look mean.” Oh, sweet, sweet Madison….they don’t look mean they look awfully nice, for the right price, at least for an hour. I wanted to talk about Bratz Big Babyz Bubble Blowing Trouble doll a friend got as a gift for her daughter (from her mother in law). Her daughter lost interest after 20 minutes watching her parents trying to get the Bubble Blowing Action started. When they finally got the bubbles to work, it was all very anticlimatic. It’s…..blowing…..bubbles….fun? But more than this doll’s inherent lameness, I love the ‘Product Features’ at Amazon. “Yasmin drinks from her special soda bottle to start the action. She hiccups, giggles and blows real bubbles.” Uh….does this sound like a date rape scenario to anyone else? Maybe it’s a teaching tool, “Madison, if anyone offers you a ‘special soda bottle’ at a party, please don’t drink from it.”
Please share with us your lamest toy buys. The things the kids really wanted, that looked like so much fun but were major duds once at home. Help spare us the same fate, what toys make your Anti-Gift Guide?
2007 Melissa’s Anti-Gift Guide
Best Children’s Board Games
Kids’ Digital Cameras Reviews
Best Children’s Holiday Craft Ideas
Handmade Holiday Gifts To Make With Kids
Best Children’s Crafts Websites and Resources
Best Personalized and DIY Gifts
Dear Santa Letter Week: children’s stationery & resources
The Best Handmade Holiday Cards For Kids
The Holiday Open House: Five Easy Steps for Hosting
The Best DIY Advent Calendars
Complete Resource for the Best Advent Calendars