Terrible Toys in 2012

‘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!

Fisher Price Apptivity Monkey


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!

TheO by Physical Apps

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!

LEGO Friends Butterfly Shop

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?


  1. mom

    The one that drives me crazy is Legos. I like Legos but why do they have to be so expensive? I have a hard time spending so much on them. My kids always ask for them as presents but they don’t spend much time with them other than the first initial assembly. I’m not sure they are worth so much money for relatively little play time not to mention such tiny pieces. I’m sure I could probably find them on Craig’s list or something but I’m not inclined to do so.

  2. Erin R.

    Anything that makes noise. It might be okay if they could tone it down a bit, but all the talking toys are unstoppably annoying, same with the musical ones, and they’re all so flipping LOUD. I have a little niece and nephew I love getting presents, but I’m never able to bring myself to buy anything that clacks, talks, rings, moos or sings because I love my sisters and don’t want to inflict that on them all day long. (shudder)

  3. Single Dad

    You’re perception of the Lego friends line is dead wrong. My daughter is creative. Legos are a natural outlet for her. But until now, ALL legos were for boys. Helicopters, Avengers, NinjaGo, knights with swords, space aliens….not much for girls until now. It’s now a creative doll set for her so she can build things that she likes.

  4. Susie

    I know it’s well past Christmas but I was just reading this and had to chime in with a toy my 6 year old daughter put on her Christmas wish list. She asked for a flying Winx doll. She was reeled in by this products commercial on TV. Twice I went to the store to purchase this doll and both times couldn’t bring myself to actually get it. It’s this Barbie type doll that has wings and spins up in the air with the help of some sort of mechanism. That’s all fine but this doll had painted on clothing that would make a street walker look modest plus its body was very, very thin. Emaciated really. Also it played loud music when “launched”. Three strikes. My daughter made it through Christmas with only one mention of not getting the doll.

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