marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
I was looking at sensory toys at Amazon, and found this not-very-cool belt buddy thing.  I mean, it may be great but it seems kind of like a dorky toy to me, without much consistency of theme among the shapes, and the sensory possibilities don't seem to be all that fabulous since it appears to have very little texture and the colors are dull.  Also I suspect a kid playing with this in class would have it taken away, because of constantly going "zzzzip!" with the little string reel.  For comparison, I'd call this desk buddy bar a cool sensory toy--interesting textures and easy to use without drawing attention.

Anyway, the description for the belt buddyz has this awesome sales copy: 
  • COLLECT THEM
  • TRADE THEM
  • CHILDREN ARE TRADING ONE BELT BUD FOR 100 SILLY BANDS

Ok, first: no freaking way.  Kids are successfully trading a dorky maroon cat or a chartreuse star on a string for awesome rubber bands that turn into Tinkerbell or Spiderman when you take them off your wrist?  No, they aren't. Second, where are they getting this information?  Is there a little Jim Cramer Jr. who goes around to playgrounds to find out what the going rate for toys is--measured, of course, in silly bands, which are probably like the gold standard for kids at the moment?  Is there a 5th-grade stock ticker service for this kind of thing?  Brothers' All-Natural fruit snacks now trading at half a Twinkie!

Lastly, who advertises a toy by pointing out how easy it is for your kid to get rid of it? 

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (charlie-laugh2)
I finally caved in and got Charlie one of those Leapfrog fake laptop thingies.  I avoid Leapfrog toys, for the most part, because they creep me out with features like saying your child's name to him/her and by disguising learning as play.  Also they market a reading system that helps kids learn without an adult constantly reading to them, and I can't overstate how strongly I feel about the benefits of adults constantly reading to children (Although lately Charlie won't let me read to him because he wants to do it himself; he sits down and turns pages and goes "blah blah blah" in baby talk, which is so cute it about kills me).  So I generally avoid their toys, and similar, in favor of low-tech stuff like plastic animals and hot wheels cars.

Anyway, Charlie appears to be a gadget addict--he's particularly interested in our laptop and in my Kindle. As in, I can never use the laptop in front of him, because he screams and jumps up and down wanting to play with it.  He's a little better about the Kindle--I have a couple kiddie books on there for him, and as long as I let him click it for a little bit he'll go back to other stuff.  But I started to feel like I was just being a mean grouchy Luddite mommy by not letting him play with more technology (we do watch TV with him--we're not total Luddites).  

So I got him a "leaptop" which is a toy laptop that's not too obnoxious.  I got him the pink-n-purple one, instead of the green-n-blue one, because that's what they had in stock at the toy store, so not only am I introducing my child to the evils of technology, but I'm creating gender confusion, oh noes! Because all toys must have gender. MUST HAVE GENDER! Did you know Fisher-Price makes a pink airplane? Because what will the world come to if girls play with the otherwise-identical white airplane? UNCLEAR GENDER ROLES that's what will come of that. Um. But I digress.

I gave him the laptop after he finished his lunch, and his little face lit up like it does when there is a train or a puppy in the vicinity.  He LOVES it, and understood right away how to open it and what it was for. Doesn't want Mommy or Daddy to touch it, either - he'd go "no MINE!" (new word this week...thank you, kids at day care. *sigh*) if we tried to push a button or adjust the lid angle or any of that. I showed him how he could close it and carry it by the handle, so he reluctantly allowed us to change his diaper and let his dad take him out to the car to go visit Grandma--clutching the laptop the whole while.

I know it's a toy that's specifically designed to make kids react like little crack addicts as soon as they see it, but still it warms my technology-addled heart to see my son feeling the same way I do about gadgetry.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
I got to sleep in this morning (ah, bliss!).  When my alarm went off at nine, I was dreaming that I had just happened upon a "Super Toys R Us," (Like a Super Target or a Super Big K), that was 8 stories tall with each floor being a different kind of toy, and I had just gotten the last parking place and was stepping into the elevator.

I decided to sleep for another hour, and promptly went back to dreaming.  This time I was living in a nice apartment building by the sea, which was a few stories deep--all underground with the top floor/entrance at sea level--and a hurricane was about to hit.

GRR. Where is my 8-story toy store, dammit?
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
The Abilitations catalog is full of all kinds of awesome stuff for kids with special needs, ranging from simple school/focus aids like "pencil fidgets" (things that go on the end of a pencil that you can twiddle around) and wiggle cusions (a cushion that has air in it, so you can't really settle on it and have to wiggle around to stay in place) to a whole range of mobility devices and cool stuff you'll mainly only encounter in the therapist's office.  

However, when I saw the "no mess sandbox" on the lower right of this page, I couldn't help but think that the plastic dinosaur in there is really an alien life form, and it's going to escape and turn that kid into a replicator, or give him a sleeping sickness, or one of the other things that invariably happens on Stargate: SG1 and other SF TV whenever they trot out the box with the glovey things in it. So if you're tempted to get this for your child, please don't use it as a biological containment field, because that only leads to heartbreak and needless deaths of extraneous characters.

 


Creepy toys

Sep. 6th, 2008 06:45 am
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
There's a whole aisle of creepy animatronic toys at Toys R Us, some of which activate just from seeing you on the aisle.

Reanimated taxidermy kitties:


Stepford babies:

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