Torturous Toys and the Children Who Love Them

Prior to parenthood, I had no idea about the toy world. Yes, I knew them as a child who enjoyed them. As an adult, I thought of them as being something that you just give.  When I became a parent, the world of toys became something else. Guest author Samara is right on target when it comes to them.  I never thought toys to be torturous until now….

There’s nothing like seeing a kid’s face light up when she receives the gift of her dreams. Whether it’s a teddy bear, a guitar, new shoes or a turtle, witnessing such delight is something we parents live for.

In fact, we cherish these perfect moments so much that sometimes we forget “to think before we give.”

Too often we shop spontaneously or at the last minute, ignoring product reviews and the fine print. The result: torturous toys (or toys kids love but parents can’t stand!).

We never expected to have such strong opinions about toys (of all the things!). But below are popular toys that we think should be outlawed (unless you want to be driven insane!).

Even if these are at the top of your children’s wish list, and even if your little one begs and pleads and begs some more, listen up and avoid these items like the plague.

(You can thank us later.)

Torturous Toys and the Children Who Love Them #ouch #parenthood #toys -

Music Makers

Let’s face it; the sound that young children produce with their first musical instruments is not even close to what we call “music.”

So why do we insist on placing a sound-producing instrument in their small, unskilled hands? Whether it’s a ukulele, a harmonica, a cowbell or a drum set, the best you can hope for is a headache that doesn’t last too long.

Other Toys with Sound

Nothing scares us more than toys that laugh on their own... #toys #parenthood -
Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

But worst of all are the sound makers that have a life of their own. It may sound like a tale from the Twilight Zone, but we’ve actually witnessed toys automatically turning on and making noise at random times. Imagine you’re alone in the house at night when suddenly the Tickle Me Elmo starts laughing…

Remote Controlled Things

What's so bad about a toy with batteries? #parenthood #batteriesrequired #youdonthaveany -

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

First of all, let’s talk about batteries. Although we pretend they’re no big deal, batteries are a financial burden and a mega inconvenience.

Secondly, every remote control car, plane, or creature that we’ve encountered is noisy and destructive. They whir, beep, buzz, growl, and bump and break things. Even outside, there’s the risk of losing the toy in a tree, a ditch, or in a neighbor’s yard.

Living Creatures

What could be better than the gift of life? Honestly, just about anything!

A pet (no matter what type) comes with many invisible strings attached. It will cost you more money and take up more time than you can imagine. Even though your little one will promise to love, cherish, and take care of the critter, we all know the novelty will wear off. And when that happens, guess who has to pick up the slack?

All that Glitters (and Oozes)

Who knew that something so small and pretty could be so maddening? We’re talking about you, glitter.

Once you introduce glitter into your home, it stays. Forever. Years after you’ve made that sparkly Valentine’s Day card for Grandma, you’ll find glitter between the cushions on the couch. And in the washing machine. And on your face.

It’s the same deal with slime and fancy sand. These are good toys only if you don’t mind living with slimy stains, shiny debris and sandy floors for the rest of your life.


Of all the torturous toys, we have to say Bunchems take the cake.

Bunchems are little plastic balls that stick together with Velcro-like hooks to create 3D objects (animals, cars, flowers, creatures, etc.). And while they can entertain your kids for hours, they are actually evil in disguise.

Bunchems refuse to let go of whatever they’ve latched on to. We’re talking kids’ hair, the carpet, your hair, a friends’ hair, a dolls’ hair, your pet, stuffed animals, blankets and so on. So unless you’re OK with drastic makeovers that involve creative haircuts (or bald spots), keep clear of these devilish toys.

Giant Plush Toys

The bigger the better! Or not.

A giant stuffed teddy bear or giraffe under the Christmas tree is picture perfect. But what do you do with it after the holiday? Will it even fit in your kid’s room? How will you vacuum around it? And don’t get us started on the cleanliness issue: how the heck do you clean it?

Other Large Scale Things

So you never got a giant teepee in your room, or an expansive train set to wind around the living room, or a jungle gym with swings and a slide. Get over it. Your unfulfilled desire is no reason to foist these gigantic gifts on others.

Never assume that folks have the room to display or store large scale items. Very quickly a gift becomes a burden when there is—literally—no place to put it.

Assembly Required

So many pieces to put together - more fun or just torture #assemblyrequired #parenthood -

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The only thing worse than “batteries not included” is “assembly required.”

Putting together that giant marble run or a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge or a Lego Death Star sounds challenging (in a good way); however, any toy with more than one page of instructions is like a bad dream. When the assembly also requires lots of tiny pieces, it becomes nothing short of a full-fledged nightmare.

The Reality of Giving Gifts

Toys can be grand, but they can be torture too! #parenthood #toys -

PC: feeloona on pixabay

The thing is, in this day and age it’s already tough to be a successful parental figure. Certainly, we don’t need more obstacles or annoyances if we want to keep our cool while we raise our kids. That’s why we need to shop responsibly whenever we’re looking for a gift for children.

A kid’s toy is meant to encourage distraction, promote joy, and spark creativity or imagination. What it is not meant to do is incite fear and loathing in the parents.

So unless you’re out to settle a score or play a (really mean) prank on a fellow parent, take the above list to heart.

(You’re welcome.)

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Samara Kamenecka is a VA specializing in SEO and writing, based in Madrid. When she’s not chained to her desk working, she likes to explore the city with her boyfriend, their two kids and their dog. She blogs about everything from pregnancy gear to parenting hacks over at, and pins her heart out on Pinterest.

21 thoughts on “Torturous Toys and the Children Who Love Them

  1. Bunch ’ems are the worst toy invented. I did a pre-release review of them and it wasn’t pretty. We ended up throwing them away.

    I love toys that promote creative play, Legos, K’nex, toy kitchen, play food, toy animals.


  2. My nephew lives next to my house, and I actually consider to give him a hamster for his next birthday since he looooves animals and I love how my cats and he could get along way too easily. His last birthday, I gave him some train toys with the music when it’s turned on. 😀


  3. That is completely new intelligent take to children’s toys. I agree a child’s toy is meant to encourage distraction, promote joy, and spark creativity or imagination.


  4. BHahahaha. I love your category descriptions. Also, though we don’t have them, when you described Bunchems, I can totally picture what you’re talking about and just imagining them stuck in my 3 girls’ hair. NIGHTMARE. Isn’t it great that kids really need WAY WAY WAY fewer toys than they often have?


  5. I would get my friends back on their kids’ birthdays with those multi-piece toys! I would curse whenever I stepped on one of those painful pieces, including Legos! Now that I think about it, what a disservice to our environment with all those toys that end up in the garbage because we have no idea where everything was that belonged to it. I had a Tickle Me Elmo too that laughed by itself in a bedroom and it totally freaked me out, lol!


  6. Your kids are adorable! Also can relate with young ones. I spent two days discussing how to make the best space rock cookies with my son. From there improvised and had a blast over the weekend concocting our own weird creation.


  7. I’m over the glitter! I have boys but my nieces loooove all the glitter gadgets. I laughed when I saw Bunchems. My niece and my son were playing with them and short story of it- they got tangled in her hair so bad that my sister in law had a panic attack. We thought it would result in cutting off her hair. What a disaster!


  8. Who knew toys have to have so much thought put into them. I’m guilty of buying something and quickly regretting it after the toy comes home. I’m very cautious about what I buy for my girls. Great post.


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