The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What's the Deal With Toys?

I don't have children of my own, but I do have three nieces - ages 7, 5 and almost 2 - and my job (which I take very seriously) is to be the cool aunt who gives good toys and books and never, ever anything practical like nightgowns. Therefore I'm always on the look out for stuff to buy them for birthdays and holidays.

Lately I'm noticing an explosion in what I would call tie-in toys. In one catalog that I've always liked for good variety and prices practically *every* toy or book set is tied in with Dora the Explorer, the Disney Princesses or the movie "Cars" or Spiderman!

Now, I think kids are exposed to enough advertising as it is, I don't feel comfortable encouraging them to play with toys that are basically commercials. One of the girls is into the whole princess thing, and I'll happily buy her generic princess stuff, but I don't want to buy her Disney princess stuff. Another one has Mexican ancestry and her mom wants me to help her include learning Spanish in toys in books - but I don't want it to be Dora the Explorer.

Mind you I don't take issue with Dora the Explorer, Or the Disney Princesses (Since when they were all clumped together though?), etc. I just don't like submerging kids into advertising when they should just be playing.

Am I wrong? Is this just part of a changing world?

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Blogger Muffy St. Bernard said...

Children's toys confuse me too, but are tie-in toys such a new thing?

When I was a kid it was all about the Star Wars action figures. And while George Lucas is credited with the real push for tie-in toys, I can't help thinking of those Daniel Boone coonskin caps and Howdy Doody games and Monkees TV shows.

Though maybe TV shows are more aggressive and proactive with their tie-ins. When I was a kid, the Smurf toys and My Little Pony toys came out BEFORE the TV shows. Now they probably do it in the other way round.

Last year I went looking for a beach ball, and I was amazed that the only ones I could find had "Bratz" all over them.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Hilda said...

Hi Muffy,

Yes, there were always tie-in toys, but they weren't *all* there was. Now practically everythig I see in regular retail locations are tie-ins. I have to go to specialty sites to find plain, old toys.

12:25 PM  
Blogger sari said...

We do not buy Dora. Or Princess. Or anything like that.

It has nothing to do with the fact that I have only boys, I don't buy the for girls I know, I hate the stupid advertising angle.

We do, however, buy Pokemon plush toys...but they're stuffed animals and are used in Pokemon battles in our house on a daily basis. I don't know if that makes a difference or not.

With the Dora stuff, I feel like it's an opportunity to slap her face on anything, regardless of whether or not it is something from the show. It's like SpongeBob. I *love* SpongeBob, but I'm not going to buy SpongeBob stuff because what does he have to do with most anything, other than getting kids to buy it?

7:00 PM  

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