This is not a post on having your kids write lists using bullet points. Not anymore. It’s a post about buying toys, and how hard it is to find open-ended, non-plastic toys, especially if you go to a big chain store like Toys R Us. (And, I’ll also tell you my only guideline for buying toys – hint: open-ended.)
Original Post – A Writing Activity:
This morning, I made my daily list of tasks in which I used bullet points. Little JJ wanted climbed up on my lap and began to color in my bullets. She asked what I was writing so I explained how I like to think about my day using a list. Then, I suggested that she and AJ make their birthday wish lists, trying to use bullet points. Both birthdays are coming up. I figured it’d be a fun way to get them writing. Of course, writing a wish list is very motivating in itself.
This would have been such a good post. But, then I went shopping, using the newly written birthday lists . . .
Admittedly, it’s my own fault that the girls’ wish lists got so commercialized with popular toys like Zoobles, Lego sets and Moxie Girls. AJ’s been sick, really sick, for a week and I let her watch a lot of television. And with television, she (and little sister) watched commercials. With commercials, they learned what they really wanted for their birthdays. (Fie on you T.V. and the mom that let her kids watch you!)
Here are their lists. (Gag me.)
JJ’s Birthday List: (She’s 5 so try to sound it out as best you can.)
AJ’s Birthday List: (I think we need to work a bit on the spelling, don’t you?)
Good grief, I can’t believe her spelling! But, we’ll save that for another time.
Okay, so the Lego thing AJ wanted was on sale at Toys R Us. So, like an idiot, I thought I’d check it out; normally I don’t go there. It was my third time ever and my last.
First, let me just say that the Lego sale was such a scam. The shelves were almost entirely empty. I presume there wasn’t a big line at the doorthis morning for a buy one get one half off Lego Set? Perhaps I’m wrong. But, we found the $39.99 Harry Potter Hogwarts Set and did not get it. I mean, really –$39.99 for this?
Short, Quick Rant About Legos:
And also, what the heck is wrong with Legos only selling kits? Where’s the creativity in following directions? There isn’t any! I seriously couldn’t believe that all the Legos were in kits – it’s totally disappointing and in my opinion, just about worthless in developing a child’s imagination and thinking skills. (Back in my day . . .)
Onto My Toys R Us Rant:
Maybe you already knew this but I couldn’t find any non-plastic toys at Toys R Us. (Okay, there were a few plush toys – most made noise so I don’t count them.) Really?
I could summarize the store with this: All the toys were plastic and made overseas, probably in China. To which I say, no thank you. Adios. Yuck.
Sorry, darling girls for letting you watch television. I think it made you believe you needed those plastic toys that you never even knew about before this week. My mistake. Next time, we’ll stick with movies.
I’ve decided to skip some things on your wish lists. I know you might feel disappointed, but I have my reasons. I want toys that allow you to be creative and use your imaginations. Not toys where you push a button and it walks, talks and poops while you watch. Believe me, you’d be bored with those do-everything toys anyway. I hope you can trust me on this one . . .
Your (mean and independent thinking?) mommy
P.S. Ask Grandma. Maybe she’ll get them for you.
My Toy Buying Guideline:
Toys must allow children to use their imaginations, think or create. In other words, open-ended, many possibility toys.
That’s it. My one guideline.
So, no toys with batteries, millions of plastic parts, or only one option for playing it.
And where do you buy these toys? Online or in small, locally-owned toy stores. Here are a few favorites toy companies – which I’ll stick to from now on. I’m sure I’m forgetting many other brands so please forgive me if you don’t see a favorite on the list. Comment with it!
- Melissa and Doug
- Safari, Ltd.
- Educational Insights
- National Geographic
- Fashion Angels
- Wikki Stix
- Zoob (shown in photo above)
- Think Fun Games (thanks to Melissius)
- MakeDo (thanks to @ianchia)
- Grasshopper Store
- Land of Nod
- Plan Toys
- Klutz (thanks Erin @LetterSoup for all these!)
- plus lots more!
What are your favorite online stores or toy companies?
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