I am one of those mums who probably spends way too much time, effort and money buying toys.
Why? Because my kids love toys. And because I’m a massive sucker and I like to make my kids happy/bribe them to behave.
Plus, I like toys too. I like browsing the toy aisles and seeing what toys are new. I like searching for deals and bringing new things home to play with (or watch my kids play with).
In my eight-and-a-half years of buying toys, I’ve thrown out a fair few items. Some because they are cheap plastic crap that broke within a day. Others because my kids never played with them. And others simply because I couldn’t stand the noise coming out of them.
So before you pick up a toy for your kids, or for other kids whose parents you actually like, ask yourself these 10 very important questions:
1. Does it make weird noises?
Like creepy laughing or gun noises? And will it wake you up in the middle of the night?
My daughter’s Baby Alive used to call out “Mummy I’m hungry” from the bottom of the toy chest. Until she ‘got lost’. In the bin.
2. Do the batteries need replacing every seven days?
Meaning you need to make a mad dash down to the corner shop and buy another pack every week?
Especially C batteries. The. Worst.
3. Is it easy to store?
Does it fit in the toy box or on a shelf? Or is it big, bulky and awkwardly shaped so it must remain out in the open, cluttering the playroom or swimming pool… like this major toy mistake that haunted me for months last Christmas.
4. Does it come in 15 layers of plastic that make it impossible to open?
Ain’t no mums got time for that!
5. Will it grow mould or other weird substances?
Save yourself the effort and pass.
7. Will it cause World War III?
Toys that cause fights between kids are not welcome in my home. Which pretty much takes every single board game off the table.
6. Is it horrifyingly creepy?
There’s something about some toys. Some are cute. But some are so horrible that they are bound to scar your children for life.
Like this stuffed animal that has a face for a butt. If the toy could end up in your child’s nightmare, then leave it on the shelf.
8. Are there 8000 itty bitty pieces?
Not just LEGO. Oh no. I’m talking about Barbie earrings, LOL Surprise sunglasses, those microscopic figurines that come in the Cutie Cars.
I swear I spend at least 20 minutes a day trying to find Barbie’s missing shoe. Which I most likely vacuumed up months ago.
9. Does it come with glitter?
Then no. Just no.
Do yourself a huge favour and step away from all things glitter.
10. Is it hidden in some sort of weird egg or blind bag?
Surprise toys are the latest thing – Hatchimals, LOL dolls, Squishy Smelly miniature cakes that cost like $5 and are literally a piece of sponge.
Yes. Kids love surprises. But they are never worth the price tag. Trust me. I’ve bought my fair share! You’re better off placing an old Kinder Surprise toy in a brown paper bag and giving it to them.
Want the relatives to stop buying plastic junk for the kids too? Here’s some ideas for presents that aren’t more toys.