March 11th, 2011

Why Do We Buy Kids’ Toys, Again?

Lisa Douglas

I’m convinced that children don’t need mp3 or iPods, or any fancy electronic toys, no latest action figures or talking/walking/scary toys. All children seemingly need is a few blank sheets of paper (or white walls, if your kid’s into that kind-of thing), endless access to crayons/markers and enough empty boxes to choke a dinosaur. And maybe a package of diapers and wipes (which they can use to endlessly torture us with while undoing, stacking, restacking, unfolding, sticking, wiping and washing their skin, the floor, the chairs, the table, the counters, their dolls and action figures they don’t play with, until they break out the wipes, the crayons, the markers… ahem).

I look at our house, chock-filled with toys and belongings for six children, lots of money spent on birthdays and holidays, only to turn to see my youngest playing in a pile of diapers like confetti when he’s got enough Toy Story 3 toys to share with the entire neighborhood.

What gives?

Or, another example—my toddler daughter, who absolutely insisted on princess-this, or Dora-that—her favorite toy as of late is my husband’s laptop.  And her favorite game? Flipping upside-down while rocking like a horse on my husband’s tattered recliner.

I can’t forget to mention the “Blocks Game” my youngest two play together. It involves taking all the DVD or video game packages they’ve scavenged from the house, stacking them as high as they will go, and then  knocking them over with contagious giggles. Forget actually playing the game, it’s more fun to play with the packages, which, it seems, is the way of the child.

And yet, we continue to buy these “things for our kids,” stupidly, foolishly. All they care about is the package it comes in (or everything you own.)

I think what we really need is a giant superstore chock-filled with packing supplies, rolls of scotch tape to endlessly pull (without the jagged blade, of course), boxes, Styrofoam, and bubble-wrap a-plenty. Forget the giant aisles of toy manufacturer’s mind-numbing electronic whooziwhatzits for kids, bring on the packing peanuts and finger paints!

(Toy companies, are you listening?)

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