PoliToys

1 Dec

Who knew going into the Toys R Us would be so political?  Cool and I never go there since we don’t have kids or any young relatives, or even any friends that are parents.  But with Christmas approaching, we wanted to do somthing to help local needy children–and there are a LOT here!

I want to promote learning, but not gaming/computers.  I think kids should spend more time developing their brains, and less developing their thumb muscles.  This rendered a quarter of the store off-limits.

Firstly, when did Legos get so expensive?  Before we entered the store we thought we wanted to get a nice Lego set so our kid-recipient could build.  After looking at (4 aisles!) of the blocks, we realized the good Lego sets were in the hundred dollar range and out of our allotted price bracket.  That alone is political   Why pay so much for the simplest of age-old building materials?  How much could they possibly cost to make?

So we wandered.  I don’t agree with the premise of Barbie, because I think it gives little girl poor self-image, makes kids and adults alike have unreasonable body expectations, and contributes nothing to developing the mind, body, or motor skills for that matter.  And on that same track, I think gifts should be age-appropriate.  I was pretty appalled to see full makeup sets being marketed to girls.  How early must they start fitting into society’s cookie-cutter ideal of the beautiful woman?!  So almost half the store was not a gifting option.

I also have a problem with gendered gifts.  I think little boys and girls should be able to play with anything they want so the rows and rows splashed with pink were out, as were the guns.  Why were there so many toys promoting violence for boys?  Between the video games, afore-mentioned guns, and war-themed trinkets, that was pretty much the extent of their selection.  I thought about GI Joe figures, but decided against it, because I don’t really think little boys should be dragged into the political arena in the form of pro-armed forces at such a young age.

I thought maybe something educational, athletic, or musical would be cool, and fit with my belief system, but again these items were well out of my price range.  I saw some awesome things for myself in these particular sections though.  Did you know they have little microscopes for kids?  Guitars, keyboards, and bongo sets?  Electroplasma Lava Lamps?  It was crazy!

In the end, Cool got an amazing deal on 10 different colors of play dough and I found a whole box of ocean animal figurines.  That way the child that gets my gift can learn about different ocean animals, gain an appreciation (hopefully) for ocean conservation efforts, AND play for a long time.  Oh, and we got an ant farm that has glow in the dark gel instead of sand for ourselves!  I hope the cats are intrigued by it.

Lessons:  Giving to the underprivileged feel really good, shopping for kids is fun, and political agendas are aimed at our youth.  Who knew?  Well, I guess Pepsi Co did.  And McDonald’s.  And Camel.  OK, I guess I knew too, but forgot–and didn’t realize it was so blatant and pervasive.

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