{SQT} Lets Be Honest About Some Toys

With four of our kids celebrating birthdays this fall, plus Christmas looming on the horizon, we’ve officially entered the season of the gimmes in our house.

I try my darndest to check the reviews of an item before I let my kids add it to a wish list or tell grandma about it. But sometimes, there’s just no convincing a child that that soft and huggable animal shaped pillow you saw on TV isn’t as exciting as those paid models make it out to be.

I’d really like some more transparency in advertising, online, on TV and in print. Maybe if companies were forced to be a bit more honest, they’d stop producing such junk.

This Friday, some quick thoughts on popular items your children may start coveting, written by parents and children who know.*

1. Pillow Pet

Guaranteed to provide the least amount of head and neck support for your sleeping child while maximizing their sweat output. If we jump around and look like we’re having a great time with these toys during one of the 2,283 advertisements you’ll see during an hour-long show,  it’s because we’ve been given an unlimited supply of Dr. Pepper and cocaine.

2. Perler bead kits


What a great craft for a rainy day! If only my fine motor skills didn’t make creating anything other than a blob impossible. My mom also acts like she doesn’t know where the iron is or how to use it, so most of my masterpieces get knocked on the floor and eaten, at least in part, by the baby before than can be immortalized forever. I have taken to inserting the beads in my nose out of frustration.  -Timmy, 6

3. Any Craft kit aimed at girls

Seriously? Whether it headbands, jewelry, picture frames or whatever, the only thing I can be sure of is that it’s going to be ugly, usually hot pink ugly, and it will result in me getting a handmade present I’m going to hate but have to wear for a long time. -Kara, 32

4. Tiny Nerf gun with the power to pierce an eyeball at 50ft

I guess the jokes on me! I thought a small Nerf gun would be perfect for my young son who’s always trying to emulate his older brothers. Who would’ve though you’d pack all the power of a howitzer in six square inches of plastic. I never would have offered my backside as a target had I known the truth. You’ll be hearing from my lawyers. -Bob, 37


5. Relaunched classic toy that’s not even 1/8 as durable as the original

Now with 34 percent more plastic shavings in every cone!!

Mommy and Daddy said they used to play with you all the time growing up but you didn’t last for more than a week in my care. After sulking in a corner and pooping my pants, I started feeling better. Then Daddy said he’d blow you up with our remaining Fourth of July fireworks and now I think you might wind up being the best present ever….to see in pieces all over the yard. -Jim Bob, 4


6. Cheap knock off toy designed to mimic a brand name toy that’s too expensive for anyone except Bill Gates.

You look like a Lego, you feel like a Lego and you taste like a Lego, but dammit, you’re not even close to being a real Lego. “Compatible” my behind.  -Eric, 11


7. Toy franchise that introduces a new character/ movie every other week in order to provide my child with more crap to drool after.

Yes Thomas, you’re running a racket. Stop being such a naughty little engine. -Kelly, 35


What’s your favorite toy to hate? I know seven takes can’t come close to covering them all. If you’re a toy manufacturer, feel free to swing back to Jen’s for less constructive criticism.

*and by this I mean me. I wrote them all. 

Join the Conversation


  1. My kids are such suckers for infomercials. Every single time a new stupidest idea ever toy comes out they want it. Of course they also want everything on a regular commercial, everything they happen to walk past, everything they see a picture of…

    The latest thing my daughter is asking for is some kind of toy truck. “It can pull up to 200 pounds!” Um, no it can’t and if it could what on earth makes you think I would let you play with it?! She also wants a robotic dinosaur. $90. Hahahahahaha

  2. If I remember correctly (having had at least 3 of them) the “original” Snopy Snow Cone maker was pretty weak as well : ( My kids do like their pillow pets (but we got mini ones).
    I try to steer clear of commercials in general…

  3. So glad my children are getting older. If I drop 60 bucks on tap shoes or 75 on pointe), I know my daughter will use them! (She’s 12 and has danced for several years).

    People like to ‘donated’ old stuff with asking if we really want/need it. When I try to get rid of stuff, I always ask because I really don’t want toys just taken up space somewhere else.

    Now Im responsible for getting rid of 20 Thomas the Train DVDs, we didn’t buy.

  4. My husband and I joke about the new Thomas toys all the time. He will tell our 3 yr old that they make new trains just to get more money. And the Legos…????

  5. Coming out of lurkerdom-this struck a chord! My MIL deluges the kids with toys I hate. The latest are several well-made, durable, never going away Melissa and Doug puzzles for the one year old. Puzzles. For the one year old. But then, my then-five year old daughter was given a take apart anatomical torso because my MIL doesn’t believe in gender-specific toys.

  6. Toys I hate?
    Anything with batteries.
    I don’t think we have any toys with batteries right now…hummmm….weird.

    My husband and I have been discussing how to manage Christmas without buying toys. What they have is more than sufficient, they are beautiful, quality toys and based on the current state of their play room, bedrooms, hallway, and bathroom….we don’t need any more.

    WHAT TO DO!!???? Ack.

  7. HA! So funny. And so so true. I finally caved and got Jack a pillow pet after he begged for it for Christmas all year. And now it sits in the corner collecting dust.

  8. Oh no! I just bought a Snoopy Sno Cone maker for my daughter! It was so much fun as a kid!

  9. That unicorn pillow pet my then almost 4 year old daughter insisted on taking on a trip to Belgium ended up being very much appreciated by me. Have you ever tried to sleep on a flat square Belgian pillow? That pillow pet was heavenly compared to those pillows.

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