Thursday, January 2, 2014

Some of the worst toys ---according to my boys

My boys and I have been talking a lot lately about how some toys are just a disappointment from the moment you open the box.  They don't live up to the commercial or the hype and ultimately end up being a waste of money.



Sometimes we're unfortunate enough that we get a defect (like the MP3 player we bought-- Alec's works great while Evan has to reset his every hour or so with a straight pin!).  We have had toys that have literally broken as we took them out of the box!  Toys that we have played with and enjoyed at other people's houses, somehow aren't made equally well when it comes to our house.

There definitely seems to be a trend of "throw away" toys that I find upsetting.

A few of the boys' Christmas presents were such let downs that they were encouraging me to take pictures and put them on Facebook telling everyone not to buy them.  I figured I'd do them one better and blog about it. 

So in OUR OPINION these are toys we would not ever buy again.  Not all of the toys on this list are from this Christmas, some were gifts we've bought or received in the past too, but all are gifts we feel could have been made so much better if only _____.  Perhaps I'll have some toy designers on my hands in a few more years. 

1.  Laser Pegs-- My boys wanted these in the worst way.  They all wanted a set but Evan was the only one lucky enough to get some.  At least that is what we thought until we tried to put them together.  They are basically clear Lego bricks that you snap together along with a few choice electronic pieces that you attach to a battery case.  Once the lights are lit up they shine through the whole clear shape.  They're great in theory but are not nearly as well made as actual Lego pieces and we struggled for an hour to put one measly helicopter together.  As soon as we snapped a few pieces together other pieces were falling apart.  I think we managed to keep the whole helicopter together for about 5 minutes until pieces started falling off.  Also our connection kept  wiggling loose and the lights would go out quite frequently.  It's a great idea but the concept needs a bit of work.  I would never buy them again.


2.  Remote Control Millennium Falcon-- my boys are huge Star Wars fans and were thrilled to get this toy... until we read that for every 5 min of flight time you have to charge it for hours.  I may be exaggerating a bit, but not much (I think 4 hours of charging was recommended for every 15min. of playtime).  Seriously, the ship has to be fully charged in order for it to work and it only lasts a short while with each charge.  It is super lightweight and flimsy and it broke in no time.  Such a disappointment.  I bet it would be great for an adult or a teenager who has the patience and the care to really work with it and wait for it to charge, but it was not great for three little boys!   
3.  Anything with batteries that is supposed to work in the water-- we have owned (and fallen prey) to so many of these toys over the years that I lumped them together.  Between the three boys we had a remote control orca whale, a couple of remote control boats, a swimming puppy, a swim and splash Dora doll (my middle son had an obsession with mermaids for a while), and many more I'm sure.  In theory they all looked and sounded fun and they did work for a little while, but we all know that batteries and water DO NOT mix!  Every single one of these items we've owned told us in the manual to take out all the batteries and leave everything to dry completely every time you use the toy.  OK-- that sounds doable, but then you have to remember to bring your screwdriver with you wherever you plan to use said toy because of course all the battery compartments are held shut by several screws (not even designed to hold the water out but to keep the batteries in so your kids don't accidently swallow them I guess).   The manufacturers also really only intend for these toys to be used in clean water-- think bathtub or pool.  We live on the lake and despite my constant warnings all our toys end up in the lake and then sand gets inside and it's not good.   Perhaps we're lazy, but I like to think we're normal in that we don't always remember to take the battery packs out, or else we didn't let them dry completely before trying to use them again.  For whatever reason they don't tend to last that long in our house and then we end up with a few tears over it every time. 

4.  Toy microscopes and telescopes.  I would love my kids to have a real working scientific microscope and telescope but at several hundred dollars each I just don't feel it's doable.  In the past we've gotten toy microscopes and telescopes that are advertised as being "just like the real thing."  But honestly I think we've all learned by now that you typically get what you pay for.  We've taken them out of the boxes, assembled them, found batteries for them (if needed) and anxiously tried them out-- to find that we can't see anything!  It's either just a big black hole where everything is dark or else we see a faint blurry light shining in that never comes into focus no matter how much or how hard we turn the knobs.  I think if I combined the money from all of the failed toys we've bought over the years I could have bought at least one of the real pieces. 

5.  Q Ba Maze.  I was surprised and dismayed to have my son add this to his list of worst toys.  I had such high hopes for this toy and it got such great reviews on Amazon.  But, much like the laser pegs, the pieces don't snap together real well and they kept falling apart.  Of those reviewers on Amazon that didn't give the maze a high rating that was the number one complaint-- and it's a big one! 

** had to update today-** last night the whole family ended up in Ian's room and we got to playing with the Q Ba Maze, once we read and followed the directions we decided it wasn't a total waste of money.  They snap together quite nicely and work well as long as you keep the maze balanced and it doesn't fall over.  So really--- NOT ONE OF THE WORST TOYS!  We actually enjoyed it & it's soon become one of our favorite toys.
6.  Light Bright Cube-- I don't know what happened to the wonderfully fun light bright I had as a kid but I found the Light Bright Cube just about impossible to use.  I don't remember practically needing the force of the hammer to get the Light Bright pegs through the paper and onto the machine.  As child safety becomes ever more popular the pegs have been filed down to dull, rounded points that don't pierce the paper well at all.  I also think there was a real reason the original Light Bright was only one sided and slanted.  Once we managed to get the pegs into the picture with sheer brute force, we inevitably knocked them back out when working on a picture on one of the other sides.  The slant allowed the pegs to stay in I guess because without the slant they fall back out!  Also the paper that comes with the new Light Bright is quite thin and tears very easily.... not fun at all. 

7.  Transformers--- another toys I used to love as a child that seems to have lost something over the years.  Now I feel like I need an engineering degree and an extra day or two of my time in order to figure out how to transform the pieces from vehicle to "man."  Seriously, I don't remember them being that complicated as a kid.  Nor do I remember it being as hard to move the pieces when I was a kid.  Perhaps if we oiled the toys up before playing with them it wouldn't have been as bad but the parts don't move freely and since it's all made out of plastic I'm careful not to be to rough with it.  As frustrated as they get trying to use the transformers they'd really cry if I broke it.  We decided that  the boys must choose if they want a vehicle or a man because there isn't enough time on this Earth for us to keep spending hours transforming them back and forth for them.
 

8.  Hot Wheels Sets-- Don't get me wrong we love the Hot Wheels cars (surprisingly enough they aren't made completely of plastic!!) and we love the sets too... but only in theory.  We find the track sets don't stay together that well and we spend just as much time fixing them as we do playing with them.  It might just be the sets we've purchased but it seems like they're just those kinds of toys that look better on TV than they do in person.  The cars fall out of the tracks, the tracks come apart at the slightest movement, many of them are a bit top heavy and they fall over.  They just seem like one of those toys that always end up being a disappointment to us. 

9.  Remote Control Helicopters-- we've owned a few.  All claimed they were unbreakable, some even came in what looked like a roll- cage, but trust me, if you're giving them to a kid they are breakable.  My kids aren't unusually rough with their toys as some kids we've seen are.  We have taught them long and hard over the years to take care of their things, but some things are just not meant for little kids (even if the box says it's OK).  Some lasted a lot longer than others, all of them flew pretty well too but ultimately they all broke at some point.  Not quite the extreme waste of money some of the other toys were (we'd probably buy another helicopter at some point since they did last almost a year).  Many of them broke where the helicopter clipped into the charger so the battery died, some of them we ended up breaking actual pieces of propeller off (when they crashed, not because we were throwing them or anything).  All of them were toys we hid when company came over in the hopes that other kids wouldn't accidentally break them but inevitably they would get broken.

** ALL photos are courtesy of Amazon.com *** 

Which toys would you add to this list?  Have your kids eagerly anticipated a toy only to be disappointed and in tears over it?

1 comment :

  1. we now LOVE our Q-ba maze set and have figured out hot to use it "properly"

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