My birthday is this week. One of the little girls in our church turns four today and is having a big birthday celebration. As a result, I’ve been thinking about gifts and children’s toys. Considering I’m twenty years older than my little friend, I don’t anticipate receiving the party and gifts like she will be.
The only gift I’ve received this year was a cute little notebook in the shape of a purse and two cute candle holders from my secret sister. Being the youngest in the whole thing, I tend to get gifts that, well, clearly point out that age difference. 🙂 But that’s okay, it makes me smile inside every time, knowing that whoever my secret sister is understands I’m still just a kid in many ways.
Thinking about kids’ gifts, though, I came to realize that there are two days in every typical child’s year that tend to be much more tragic than any other day: the day after Christmas and the day after their birthday. Those are the days that most of their toys tend to break. That is, unless you have an extremely particular child who never breaks anything. (If you do, I’d like to meet your child because that’s not normal.) Many even consider the day after Christmas National Whiner’s Day due to this.
Last month, I had the privilege of watching two birthday children the day after their birthday party. By lunch time, a crown, a drumstick and a drum had busted. Who knows what other new toys I missed as they were dismembered while I was off making pb & j sandwiches for lunch? The mother of these kids likes to claim that they are “curiously destructive”. I like that term.
That brings me to ask a few questions about children’s toys:
(1) Why is it that the annoying ones are the ones that never seem to die and the other toys just fall apart within a day’s time? I think toy makers intentionally do this to parents and childcare providers. Batteries seem to last longer on the obnoxious toys (and, thankfully, we can never seem to find replacements once they do). As for the trinket-type toys, they break by the end of the day from either being stepped on or torn apart by children who wonder why they don’t make the same obnoxious noises as their other toys. I’ve decided that someone needs to make sturdy, non-obnoxious toys before I have kids.
(2) Why is it that people always think that they’re giving kids something fun when they give them a cheap $.25 toy that’s going to make them cry when they break it the next day? I have to confess, it’s easy to do. You think to yourself, “Oh, little Johnny will like this” even though you’re simultaneously thinking, “This toy is a piece of crap with a price tag.” Sadly, it’s too easy to let that sentimental side convince you that, while you know the toy is going to break soon after the child receives it, the smile on his or her face is worth that measly $.25. But is it really? Maybe, if you’re not the one who has to deal with the broken toy later.
What do you think? Are toys made sturdy enough for kids? Or do we just buy the cheap ones because they’re inexpensive?
Did you have a favorite toy when you were a kid? Was it prone to breakage, or did you know to keep it out of harm’s way?