‘Tis the season of pushy commercials, molded plastic and ridiculously-impossible-to-open toy packaging. Seriously, why does the 5-inch doll have to be tied down three times and then vacuum sealed in industrial-strength plastic casing? Is the doll being punished? Am I?
But, that’s another rant for another day. Today, let’s talk about the toys that are making — and maybe even your kids’ wish lists. I love seeing what toys are crowned as “hot” each year. Remember when people were trampling each other for Tickle Me Elmo? Good times. Two points for humanity.
But, kids are maturing. Elmo’s creepy reassurances that “Elmo loves you” are a thing of the past. Kids are moving on to bigger things. At a Christmas concert last week, the children screamed out their top wishes to Santa at the end. A 3-year-old behind me shouted, “A Kindle Fire!” Oh, the innocence of youth.
So, toy makers are responding. You want technology? You got it!
Yes, that’s right. Cuddling your teddy bear is so 2010. Just put your smartphone in in this monkey’s belly and your little tike doesn’t ever have to unplug. Ever.
This little monstrosity took the grand prize in the annual Worst Toy of the Year Award from a consumer group called the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood.
“A teddy bear just won’t cut it for today’s jaded, screen-addicted babies,” the group said.
What’s next? Putting a cell phone inside a good, old-fashioned ball? But wait! The future is here!
Well done, toy makers. You’ve outdone yourself. Now, get to work on implanting a screen inside a live puppy and we’ll talk.
We also have the resurface of some of the most annoying toys. For example, the Furby.
I have tried and tried to find a reason why this toy exists other than as a cruel joke to parents whose kids really, really, really want it. There is also a small part of me that believes Furbys are evil and are plotting to take over the world. No real evidence here. Just a hunch.
And let’s not forget the annual slew of “boy toys” that have been dipped in pink and are now “girl toys.” Hooray for gender equality. Wait? What’s that? Putting makeup on LEGO figures actually perpetuates gender stereotypes? But it has a butterfly on the box! A butterfly!
Yes, toy makers, you’ve figured women out. Watch out engineering schools, you’ll be getting a flood of eager female engineers in about 10 years. Oh, but I should mention they will only know how to design shopping malls and work with pink bricks.
What do you think are the worst toys this year? Any toys on your children’s wish list that you just can’t bring yourself to buy?