By Jackie Semmens of An Anchored Hope
Children inherit a lot of traits from their parents, but their taste in toys isn’t one of them. Here is a list of toys children love and parents keep trying to donate while their kids aren’t looking.
Toys that make noise
Children are quite capable of making their own noise. Giving them the ability to outsource this task while they take on other acts of destruction is overkill. The worst offenders are toys that come with two settings: loud and louder. Who recommended this idea during product testing? “This toy is great and all, and I love listening to a frog ribbit the ABCs while accompanied by what sounds like an elephant pounding on a drum set, but you know what would be better? If we could make it even LOUDER.”
Toys that make noise even when no one is playing with them
Your children have pushed every single button on the “Light ‘n Play” train set and, five minutes later, they have grown sufficiently tired of it and moved on to another activity. Just as your ears stop ringing, you hear the toy exclaim from across the room, “Boing boing choo choo! Who wants to keep playing? Woohoo!” This function serves no obvious purpose other than to fill an insecure toy’s need for validation. After hearing the call, your children resume pushing every button, yours included.
Okay, technically these aren’t toys. It says so on the package. I’m paraphrasing, but I believe the wording is something like, “Here, hand your child this fruit flavored sugar bomb and please expect them to ignore the brightly colored ball we have placed on top. Be advised, if you hide the lid or throw it away, your child will immediately squirt the contents of the pouch all over you.”
That push toy popper thingamajig
I don’t want to stir up any family conflicts, but if anyone has ever bought this for your children as a “gift,” it’s probably time to start wondering if they hate you. If you buy one of these on Amazon, Excedrin and whiskey should pop up as “things other customers have also bought.” They don’t, but the fact that you can buy this thing on Amazon and send it through the mail to someone and yet not be able to purchase whiskey should tell you we have our priorities out of whack. There are other ways a child can induce a migraine, but few are as swift as this one. If you bought this for yourself, I’m not judging you, but I am seriously questioning your self-preservation instincts.
On the surface, they are the perfect toy. Wooden, possibly even organic, this toy will encourage creativity, imagination, and STEM skills in your oldest child. Buy these and you will virtually cement her future career as an award-winning architect of opera houses and art museums. Unfortunately, because your youngest child has already taken many of these wooden blocks to the head, his career options are more limited.
Toys with more than one piece
Let’s take a minute to think of the classic toys. Ball. Doll. Slinky. What do they all have in common? They are one piece. One. Any toy whose contents can be dumped out, kicked under the couch, and forgotten about in 1/10th the amount of time it takes me to crawl on my hands and knees across the living room to retrieve its pieces has lost its privileges as a regular fixture in the play area and is now relegated to the closet. On the other hand, these toys do encourage language acquisition skills. Like that whole string of new words my toddler learned after I stepped on a Lego last week.
The toy stage of parenting won’t last forever. And remember, you only have to put up with the noise making ones as long as the batteries last. Just hope your sanity doesn’t run out first.
About the Author
Jackie Semmens is a writer by nature and a mother by nurture. She has two rambunctious boys and is willing to chase them all over the hills of Montana in an effort to get them to nap. She writes about family, nature, and the experience of motherhood, occasionally with a touch of humor at An Anchored Hope.