Dear Toy Makers, Do You Hate Parents? - The Big Parenting Questions Series

We are lucky to have reviewed lots of toys over the 9 years I have been blogging and I have bought and been given many more. I have seen good toys, bad toys and fun for 2.34 minute toys but the question I am sometimes left asking is:

Dear toy makers, do you hate us parents? 

Peppa's Laugh & Learn Laptop in packaging with a large cut out so the toy can be seen and touched while in the toy shop

The Trouble With Toy Packaging

I understand the importance of packaging. It needs to protect the toy in transit and in shops while showing enough of the product to encourage people to buy it, especially children. In recent years there has been a trend towards more packaging with the ever popular blind bags, but this fortunately seems to gradually been improving (at the London Toy Fair this week there were a lot of conversations with major brands about how they are trying to be more eco-friendly).

I understand all this but why does the packaging have to be such an awkward shape for wrapping? Surely a rectangle (or square) is more efficient for putting on shelves and transporting. You know that cut away section on so many products so you can see the toy? Well that bit is perfect for little fingers to poke in the run up to Christmas when it’s covered in paper: it rips so easily.

Those boxes with cut away sections are also useless if you want to be able to store the toy in the box. There is only one place this packaging goes: in the recycling (although I suspect much of it can’t actually be recycled). Not having a box to neatly store the toy doesn’t mean we play with it more, it often means I tidy it away to a cupboard or high up shelf where it ends up being out of sight and out of mind.

The other problem with this fancy, display all packaging is it sometimes requires a parent to have a degree in engineering (plus a screwdriver) to get the toy out. I have had some smaller parts of a toy I’ve thrown away before because I couldn’t get them out of the packaging!

A close up of a red and yellow plastic Little Tikes crab with a on and off switch
Volume control: Off, loud and very loud

The Toys Themselves

I love wooden toys and I have a great collection of Grimms, but there is no doubt shiny plastic toys appeal to my children and people are very fond of giving us toys which make noises. These toys can be educational, fun and very entertaining for children, which is all great. The more time children are busy playing the more time we as parents get to do other things (generally housework or cooking in my case), but there are times, especially early morning where I will sit on the sofa, coffee in hand and wish the batteries would vanish.

Why do so many electronic toys not have volume control and yet some how magically make much more noise early in the morning or when other children are napping. The beeps and chirpy singing seem to travel far further than even the children's shrieks of delight. We have a number of toys that do have a form of volume control in the form of the switch with 3 settings: off, loud and louder. It requires less dexterity (and so is easier for children) to swipe across to the loudest setting rather than the slightly less painful volume in the middle position.

At least those toys have an off switch though. We have a growing collection of toys with no off switch at all including several of the toys we have recently received to review. It's not unusual for me to knock the toy box and hear Peppa shouting "Play With Me, snort" or Elsa declaring she is going "Into The Unknown". These toys might be hidden at the bottom of the toy box, but suddenly my children have been reminded of them and they *have* to get them out to play with. Oh joy.

What really annoys you about children's toys?

You might be interested in reading other posts my new series: The Big Parenting Questions.

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