Those holiday season lists of toys that parents hate are funny, but we’re going to have to insist that you don’t take them TOO seriously. Yes, there are many categories of toys (and general kid behavior that can get on your nerves, but many of them have proven developmental benefits – and of course, kids love ‘em. So let’s review why a few of these items are indispensable additions to your playroom (and maybe aren’t quite as bad as you were thinking).
Yes, it hurts when you step on them. And yes, they can be tough to keep organized. But they’re also one of the best learning toys on the market, teaching kids an incredible number of skills as they build and play: problem-solving, spatial skills, literacy, planning, creativity, communication… and that’s before you add electronics.
Let’s face it: LEGOs are here to stay – so it’s a good thing that the LEGO company has designed extra-padded slippers you can wear to protect your feet! (And there are plenty of nifty organization systems you can try out to keep the clutter under control.)
Baby toys that play music
Babies and toddlers are itty-bitty scientists, learning through experimentation: what happens when I shake this rattle? What happens when I press this button? What happens when I drop this toy? If I do the same thing again, will it have the same result? These experiments teach them how the world works, and they love slowly gaining mastery over the world around them. And getting to hear a happy song as a result of something they’ve done is the most fun way to learn!
So yes, they’ll want to hear the same song over and over again (and press a button to make it happen as soon as they learn how), and they’ll whack their drums and xylophones, and it may get a little monotonous. But this phase will pass… and in the meantime, you may wind up with some very, very cute moments to record:
Push toys that rattle and clack
The classic push-popper with bouncing balls, and its many clacking cousins, can certainly make a racket (although we think that this reviewer, who compared it to “water torture,” is overstating the case a bit). The thing is: chasing that clickety-clack around the house will help your child learn to walk, strengthen their little legs, and help them with coordination.
Scary Mommy refers to glitter as “the herpes of the art world”: it gets everywhere, and you can’t get rid of it.
Ah, but this is a toy problem with a real-live solution: the geniuses at Melissa & Doug came up with Mess-Free Glitter, and it really works! It’s simple enough for small kids to use, and the results look better than loose glitter, too. So: there’s no need to complain about glitter anymore – now it’s just pure fun!
This is one item on the Scary Mommy list that I took rather personally: I think my parents probably were amused and then annoyed when I memorized an entire book of aardvark jokes as a small child, and insisted on telling them to anyone who would listen. But lo these thirty years later, my mom LOVES reminiscing about my early career as a child comedian.
So if you have a precocious reader with a strong memory for jokes: it may be annoying now, but you’ll treasure the memories later. That’s one that I can definitely vouch for!