Toys always seem like such a good idea, don’t they?
When you see them neatly laid out on a shelf, tightly wrapped in packaging, it’s all too easy to get carried away imagining the joy your child will have playing with them.
What you should really do is picture the pieces scattered all over the living room floor. Then imagine the ache in your back as you bend to tidy them away, and the sharp pain in your foot, when you stand on stray pieces.
If you kept that reality in mind, you probably wouldn’t buy your kids quite so many toys.
I’ve tried hard not to let it happen, but my house is entirely filled with toys. I don’t know why.
My theory is the toys breed like rabbits and reproduce when I’m sleeping.
Or perhaps there are mirrors I don’t know about, hidden all over my house to give the illusion of more toys than there really are.
10 Toys I Regret Buying For My Kids
Of course, some toys are brilliant and inspire magical adventures in kids. Others, um, just don’t.
Here are 10 toys I regret buying for my kids:
#1: Play Dough
Any toy that sticks to your carpet and remains there for ever is never a good idea, is it? If I wanted carpets spattered and smeared with luminous pink, bright orange and neon green bits, I would have ordered one.
My once beautiful carpet is now covered with hardened lumps of play dough, plasticine and slime. And yes, I have tried to get them off. And yes, it does make a difference but it takes an awful lot of elbow grease and I have to do it every single time my children play with the dough.
The dough is now kept on the highest shelf in the playroom – so high that my kids can’t reach it. And unfortunately for them, some days I can’t reach it either.
#2: The Ball Pit
All I wanted was to be able to take adorable photographs of my beautiful baby playing in her pit of brightly coloured balls.
I didn’t want to spend half my life, with my face pressed to the floor, trying to get the balls out from under the sofa.
The ball pit was great for about 30 seconds, then it was tipped over and all the balls disappeared under the furniture. It turns out my living room floor isn’t exactly level. Who knew?
#3: All The Building Toys
Lego. Stickle Bricks. Duplo. All the cheerfully bright wooden blocks. It doesn’t matter which building toys you have, I can personally confirm it hurts – a lot – when you stand on them barefoot.
I don’t do it deliberately, you understand. Standing barefoot on building toys is not my weird fetish or a personal challenge I’ve set myself. I’m just trying to walk from one side of my living room to the other.
Why are these tiny plastic toys in the living room? I don’t know. Why have they been left on the floor? I don’t know. Why don’t I see them as I walk across the room?
What are the chances of standing on one tiny piece of plastic in a big room? One hundred percent. If it’s there, I’m going to heel it. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t slept since I became a mother.
#4: The Creepy Skeleton Mask
I used to take my daughter to a secondhand shop when she was a toddler. We were building up our collection of children’s books, but I would also let her choose a toy.
It was usually something small – a little plastic animal or a car – but one time she asked for a mask. Not just any mask. The world’s scariest mask.
It’s a pirate skeleton mask with an angry expression on its face. ‘Sure’, I said, not realising when I woke up in the middle of the night she would be standing by my bed wearing it.
I will never forget the fear I felt as I opened my eyes to see where the mouth breathing was coming from and came face-to-face with the mask.
#5: The Till
Don’t get me wrong, this was probably one of my daughter’s favourite toys and it was definitely value for money. My daughter loved playing shops; she played with the till every day when she was two.
She loved tapping on the till buttons, hitting the button that made the till drawer fly open, and dispensing change at random.
The only problem was she made me play with her. I had to play shops every single day for well over a year. That was a very long year.
#6: The Recorder
I must have been having a day of nostalgia when I bought the recorder. I saw it sitting on a shelf in the toy shop. It was green and shiny, and reminded me of my childhood, when I was playing the recorder at school and learning how to read music.
Unfortunately, it didn’t remind me how terrible I was at playing, and how my parents winced each time I squawked out a tune. I only remembered those things after I had given the recorder to my daughter, and immediately wished it had a mute button.
#7: Everything With Small Parts
For four and a half years, I had only one child. During that time we amassed an impressive number of toys with small parts.
There were tiny bricks, shiny marbles, and miniature plastic accessories for dolls. We had a house full of minute bits of plastic. And then we added a baby.
And the baby figured out how to move, and so I was forced to spend my every waking moment moving dangerously small choking hazards out of her reach.
#8: The Electronic Ladybird
This toy was loud and bright and it claimed to be educational. In reality, it was just plain annoying. It had a selection of brightly coloured buttons along its wings and two different modes: ‘musical’ and ‘learning’.
In the musical mode it played high-pitched tinny music that made me feel like my ears were bleeding. In learning mode it just yelled random letters and numbers in a robotic voice at my bemused toddler, who mostly pretended the ladybird didn’t even exist.
#9: The Replica Toys
Oh look, my toddler keeps playing with my phone. I know, I’ll get her a toy phone of her very own.
That definitely didn’t work. Now she has thrown the toy phone behind the sofa and is still clambering after my painfully expensive smartphone.
Well, I didn’t see that coming. Even though the same thing happened with the toy computer. And the toy keys. And the toy tablet.
#10: The Toy Box
My daughter has a big wooden toy box. Ok, it’s not exactly a toy, but she does climb on it a lot so it is certainly played with. My dad built it and my mum decorated it and it holds great sentimental value. It also holds some soft toys, a box of Duplo and some mouldy fruit.
Yep, every time I delve into the box of fun I pull out at least one piece of mouldy fruit. Apples are bearable, pears make me want to die. Have you ever seen a mouldy pear? Have you ever touched a rotten one? Have you ever cleaned fermented pear off a teddy bear’s fur? No? Well, lucky you.