Tiring Toys

Tiring Toys?

The things we buy our children because parenthood just isn’t exhausting enough.

This post was inspired by a woman I vaguely know on Facebook. She posted in one of the mommy groups that she’s looking for one of those rubber floor mat puzzles for her son. My first thought was, “NO rookie, don’t do it!”

Rubber Floor Mat Puzzles

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, they’re made of foam rubber and you get either 26 (alphabet), ten (numbers) or, as I once had, 36 (both numbers and alphabet) brightly coloured frames into which the numbers, letters, shapes etc. fit.

The frames then interlock to form a beautiful, bright floor mat for your child’s room, saving at least a section of the carpet from the inevitable juice, pee and half chewed biscuit your toddler insists on mashing into every surface of the house.

In theory it’s a win. In reality it’s a horror show.

Yes, you do have a beautiful, bright floor mat … for about five minutes. Let me tell you something, people; toddlers are not about building and keeping things clean. They are about destruction and mess. Large amounts of both.

You will spend ten minutes building the thing for the first time (it takes much longer all the subsequent times and you’ll soon understand why) and then in the time it takes you to go for a wee, your precious child will wreck it utterly. You will return to what looks like a Toyland warzone.

Here’s where the increased build time comes in because now you have to crawl around the room on all fours straining to see under the bed/toy box/bureau searching for the letters and matching them to their frames.

Finally, an unknown number of minutes (hours?) later, you complete the puzzle mat again, stand back to admire the effect and realise it has holes in it. You see, what the lovely manufacturers of this time wasting treasure have kindly done is to include the little filler bits where there should be open space in the letters.

So, for instance, you are now missing the tiny triangle from the middle of the ‘A’ or the two semi-ovals from inside the ‘B’ and so on.

Now, what you want desperately to do is walk away, drink coffee and think happy thoughts but if you, like me, are mildly obsessive compulsive, you are compelled to find every last piece, even the one he’s stuck down his nappy for no clearly discernible reason.

After a few days of this frustrating rigmarole, I promise you will pile all those pieces up in a corner where you hope he won’t notice them and wait for the whole lot to disintegrate.

Moving on to another self-inflicted torture – the toys that make the noise.

Toys that make a noise

Now you might think you’re too smart to fall into that old hole. You would never inflict that kind of suffering on yourself. Here’s the problem, though: GRANDPARENTS. Grandparents, you see, don’t live with you so when they see the adorable singing/talking plaything they don’t waste a second thinking about what it will be like to live with.

Now, I didn’t mind my daughter’s Barney doll which, when squeezed, played the Barney theme song although there were times when I would wake up in the middle of the night and I swear I could hear that thing singing to itself somewhere in the house. She also once had a doll which would invite you to brush its hair and sing a cheesy pop song when you obliged.

Toys that make a noise

I didn’t mind that either but I have two sons for whom people buy soldiers and guns which, when activated, scream “FIRE! FIRE!” followed by machine gun fire and explosions.

I can’t even conceive of how you can fit a small plastic toy with concert grade speakers but the Chinese seem to manage it.

We’ve had a Spongebob plush toy that played music with lyrics you couldn’t quite make out, a roly poly panda bear with the same issue and several cars which sound as though they’ve been fitted with actual V8 engines. Not to mention a parade of keyboards, drum kits and other ‘musical’ instruments.

The list of tiring toys includes, it would seem, just about all toys.

Tiring Toys - BarbieBarbie Dolls

Barbie dolls lose shoes like Cinderella on speed, their hair is a constant snarl which can’t technically be brushed because it’s plastic and, if you have sons, they have marker, crayon and stolen lipstick all over their faces which you absolutely have to wash off before your daughter pitches a fit.

Toy Soldiers

Toy soldiers can never stay together even when you buy a special box or bag for them all to go into when they’re not being played with. And there will always be one waiting in the dark for you to stand on and break.

Speaking of things which wait in the dark, how about Lego?


Not only does Lego wait for your bare foot to come down upon it, causing you almost unbearable agony, but it also has a tendency to eat itself. At least I assume that’s what’s happening because my oldest son has had much Lego purchased for him in his nearly eleven years and yet, when I tell him to go and build something, his response is always that he doesn’t have enough to build anything cool.

Tiring Toys - LegoA peek into yet another specially purchased box reveals that, indeed, half of his Legos appear to have vanished into thin air. Sure, some are lurking in the dark, as mentioned earlier but the rest are a mystery on the level of lost lighters, hair clips and odd socks.

We have to buy Legos though don’t we? Just like we have to buy puzzles which will never have the correct number of pieces and books which we will have to repeatedly stick back together so that we can attempt to read them through our children’s scribbles.

These toys, after all, are important for our kids’ development. Sometimes though, at the end of another crazy day, I wonder if development is really that important.

Teddy Bears

Before we start buying the infuriating ‘educational’ toys for our children, they like Teddy Bears.

I like Teddy Bears.

I like them because they have no moving or detachable parts. Teddy bears make no noise and when they get dirty you can throw them in the wash. Best of all, Teddies are too big (and friendly) to lurk in the dark.

Even if you do step on one it will not cause you to drop the “F” bomb at the top of your voice which is, perhaps, not the education you were looking to give your toddler. VIVE LA TEDDY BEAR!

I suppose some things are a necessary evil but I highly recommend that you think very carefully next time you’re considering buying something for your child.

Ask yourself, “In how many ways will this purchase potentially destroy my sanity?” and go from there.

Guest Post by Lisa Bennett

I am a mother of three (two boys with a girl in between). I used to home school but I blew a fuse in my brain and put all my kids in school which has its advantages (like a moment to myself now and then) and disadvantages (don’t even get me started.) I live on the REAL West Coast (the middle of nowhere) and my kids are beach bums with a serious YouTube obsession.

So mommies… have your say about annoying toys in the comments! Which toy drives you the most crazy?

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  1. Lol a toy that’s making noise oh I hate that my 2 year old has a drummer that makes sounds lol drive me crazy

    • Oh yes Cindy-Ann I completely agree, when someone buys my kids noisy toys I wonder why they are wanting to torture me!

      Any drum sets, whistles and of course any toys with batteries in… noooo! One of my close friends bought my daughter a little train she could ride and push for her first birthday, it had made a massive noise with the thing making music sounds, whistling and talking. If you start pushing it then the sounds start up and when you leave it alone for a while it stops.

      However after about 10 minutes of being quiet this voice booms out “Are you still there” so as soon as she has finally forgotten about it and we have peace and quiet it reminds her and off she goes again. That thing drove me bonkers!

    • Hehehe – aren’t drums just the worst? Someone gave my youngest a drum kit for his 2nd birthday … a toy drum kit!! Needless to say, it hasn’t made it to his fourth birthday. I managed to pass that particular little treasure on to some other unsuspecting individual.

  2. LOL!!!!! I couldn’t stop laughing while reading this whole post…. ?, I was

    • Hi Olivia

      So happy to make you laugh, I loved this guest post that was sent in by Lisa. I could not wait for it to be published!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Olivia. It’s always nice to know you aren’t suffering alone and there really is a bright side … somewhere. 🙂

  3. lmao … i couldnt help laughing out loud as i relate to the “fire fire” toy – with a boy in teh house that likes everything army and wants everything as realistic as possible I know the feeling of waking up in horror to toys making machine gun noise and some actually scream out loud that they need cover.

    • LOL Rosetta, thankfully my son hasn’t yet gotten to that stage, but I am sure I will poep myself when we get there. For now he is content with his little cars and he just drives them around making his own noises… which are annoying at times but not too bad.

      I am sure very soon I will need to “take cover” too!

    • I can tell you and I have had the same toys, Rosetta. All fun and games until someone develops PTSD just from being in your house for an hour.

  4. My 3yr old son has a box of wooden blocks with letters, numbers, etc . They lie all over the house. He plays with them and gets bored and leaves them all over. And on those odd days when I’ve located every one of them and put them neatly in the box, he suddenly gets the urge to play with them

    • I had those blocks!! The dog chewed some, the babies chewed some others but I kept trying to get the box neatly closed with all of them inside. Eventually managed to give what was left of them away, at which point I kept finding the missing ones buried in the garden or in the crate with the bath toys. Drove me nuts!

  5. those hammers with the whistle when the hammer gets hit and squeaks it makes a terrible noise and the kids love it. I hate it lol!

    • OMG yes! Those are awful aren’t they? Thankfully I have managed to get all of those out of our house, donated to torture another poor mother!

  6. Those rubber floor puzzles… But at this very moment with my one year old it would be shape sorters!!! She adores the shapes and concept of putting them where they should be, but they are mostly strewn across the floor and under the furniture.

    • Hi Leani

      Yes making obstacles all over! I remember those. Thankfully we are over those, for use it is Barbies, little cars and Lego blocks that are killing me.

      And don’t even get me started on Animal Cards from Pick n Pay and the Angry Birds from Spar lol, those are always lying around.

  7. Bwhahahaha!!! I love this! You mention your son and the Barbies. My daughter puts “make up” on hers with kokis and then throws a fit if i cant get it completely off. We’ve had many i fight and now im done 😛 so all her dolls look absolutely frightening, haha. As for the hair, trying to explain to my four year old that if you cut her hair it will NOT grow back, i think was the most difficult conversation 🙂 and almost had me pulling my hair out.

    • Oh my gosh Tamara, I know what you mean! When I was small I chopped all my Barbies hair short and then I wasn’t happy with their look. Then our dog used to chew the heads off all the Barbies and the strange thing is the head would come off but it would be fine. The neck would be chewed down. We could then get the head on, but we had to push it down onto the tiny neck piece left…basically leaving all the Barbies without necks!

      Oh the joys of childhood right? My daughter also draws on all her dolls and gets upset afterwards.

  8. I can say with open heart toys that making noise is a tiring toy…my boy got for his first christmas 3 months old toys that make noise and still play with and he gets so excited playing and it was alot im so used to all the noises and sounds i dont hear it any more but when hubby is at home i can see its getting to him but our boy enjoy them so much how can we take it away or remove batteries it wont be the same for him. LOL

  9. Elize Swanepoel

    I had to laugh when I read this post because I can certainly relate.

    when JD was a small baby I was already looking at the rubber floor mat puzzles and deliberating whether I should get them or not. My husband was the voice of reason and convinced me not to get them. I end up buying a colorful waterproof floor mat with dinosaurs instead. This was the best choice and we used it for almost a year before I threw it out due to wear and tear.

    We haven’t bought lego’s yet, but I’m sure we will probably get to that point because this is a hugely popular toy. We did however buy wooden blocks and the bigger size plastic blocks. I eventually threw it in a tin and put it away because my husband and myself stepped on quite a few of them.

    *The noise toys – oh my word. We have a lot of them.
    *Dog guitar – plays music and make sounds (luckily we can adjust the volume)
    *Red telephone – plays music and makes animal sounds etc. (Granddad bought this one – no volume adjuster)
    *Educational minion toy (last year’s christmas present – very irritating but has a volume adjuster)
    *Cheap hammer/figurine toy – plays twinkle twinkle little star in a high pitch irritating voice. (no volume adjuster)
    *3D minion educational tablet like toy – very loud and irritating but has a volume adjuster.

    We’ve gotten used to the different toy sounds, but I think people that visit us might go crazy after a few minutes.

    Thankfully at this point JD enjoys looking through his animal book and identifies the different animals – no annoying sounds! And he loves riding his horse (one of those rubber toys that you hop on). We don’t have to endure the noise toys quite as much as we used to. Thank goodness for small mercy’s. 🙂

    Teddy bears/soft toys are great. I do think we have too many though. I have a laundry basket in the room where I store them.

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