Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fake Plastic Entertainment

Upon entering, I am overwhelmed by an acrid, artificial smell. Nothing earthy, nothing woodsy, nothing natural. It is definitely a chemical stink. It is the smell of plastic... plastic toys, plastic packaging, plastic furniture; I am surrounded by polymer. The assault continues in an ocular vein: a shiny, gaudy, primary colored plastic world with flashing, seizure-inducing lights. A chorus of tinny saccharine voices greets me. I've arrived at the toddler and baby toy section at Toys R Us.

I don't know exactly what I am looking for... maybe a push and walk wagon, maybe an activity box, maybe just a simple sorting toy. I'm hoping to at least find something to occupy Linus on one or maybe two of his upcoming flights. Wandering aimlessly through aisle after aisle of landfill material I begin to lose hope. I end up leaving empty-handed unable to bring myself to pay $14.99 for what is basically a doggy chew toy that recites the color names in three languages while flashing a disco light show.

What exactly had I been hoping for? How about a toy that inspires learning or creative play? One that doesn't leave my son looking hypnotized. He may be only 9 months old, not exactly an age of imagination (at least that we know about), but I would rather stimulate his tiny brain than send it into a coma-like slumber. For $14.99 (plus tax!), this mommy would like the toy to keep his interest for more than five minutes total, for more than a day even. I want a toy that he goes back to again and again, and for that to happen it has to be something that can function on more than a shock and awe level. And maybe, if we're lucky, something that could be used by future munchkins(not necessarily ours, so keep breathing)without looking like I pulled it out of a trashcan.

That's when I pulled out my secret weapon... the Internet, and started searching. I began my search with a company I recalled fondly from my days as a 1st grade teacher. There I found baby-size building blocks, rolling tubes like Linus loves at the Museum, and the ultimate pull to stand entertainer. I was drooling just thinking about Linus's play time.

From there I moved on to other companies: one whose toys fill the infant area at the museum, another who is environmentally forward thinking, and even one who's known for cheap prices.

With so many choices that excite me in a way that Fisher-Price never could, now all I have to do is begin to narrow it down. Maybe I'll start here.


Chimpsea said...

Such awesome toys! They look durable too. I bet Adrian could make a pull-up bar/mirror combo happen for less, though!

Unknown said...

We LOVE Oompa! Also, (and you probably all ready know this), but Target has one isle of these sorts of toys - wooden, environmentally minded, & no batteries needed. Although, it will cost you in gas to drive there it will save you in tax, shipping, & time. They don't have the selection that the online stores have, but they carry some of the same products and in our experience for less even. One of the boys favs are the Tatiri instruments ( and they sell most of this line at Target.
Good Luck!
It is hard... I am have had many sleepless nights and too many posts about toys.
Sam :)

Unknown said...

P.S. Our local Target also has Anamalz ( and both boys, especially Maddox LOVEs these!