Worst Kids Toys of 2006
I’m not someone who believes television is evil, because how can television be evil when Spongebob Squarepants is on it? No, I don’t think television is evil — but I do think advertising is.
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 am forced to discern what things on their wish list are worthwhile entertainment and what things (that looked like tons of fun on the commercial) will be played with for 2.4 minutes before they are abandoned.
What I’m saying is that I spend a lot of time trying to figure out which gifts are worth it and which are just lessons in the manipulative power of advertising. I swear that’s about thirty percent of parenting, right there.
Because I am helpful, I’ve compiled a quick guide to some toys you should stay away from — i.e. the ones my kids lost interest in after approximately two minutes. Let’s consider this my Anti-Gift Guide. Happy holidays!
Don’t Buy These Toys
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 a 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 yes, that. Go Go My Walking Pup is a FurReal Friend — 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 gave out kisses and came when called. My dog-obsessed daughter thought It’s practically like a real dog! And Go Go was like a dog, a hard of hearing dog who never did what he was asked to do. 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.
Moon Sand is a new addition to my Anti-Gift List. I purchased this on a whim for my daughter’s birthday. And yes, I will admit that 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! 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 winds up with a piece falling off, 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. The fun lasted for 18 minutes. My daughter said (and this is an actual quote), “I’d rather just play with Play Doh.” Moon Sand even irritated the kids (something Play Doh never did).
Bratz dolls make 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 honestly is just 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 — in fact, they look awfully nice, for the right price, at least for an hour. And if the generic Bratz dolls weren’t enough, let’s talk about the Bratz Big Babyz Bubble Blowing Trouble doll. My friend’s daughter got this on as a gift (from her mother in law). The “Product Features”description was one of the most jaw-dropping things I’ve ever read: “Yasmin drinks from her special soda bottle to start the action. She hiccups, giggles and blows real bubbles.” Umm … 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. Okay? Okay.”
Your turn: What toys make your Anti-Gift Guide?