2012 TOADY Award - How You Voted

Today, CCFC presented its TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award for Worst Toy of the Year to the Fisher-Price™ Laugh & Learn™ Apptivity™ Monkey. Capturing 33% of the vote, the stuffy with an iPhone in its belly beat out rivals the Lego Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop (30%), TheO ball (21%), 7-11 Slurpee Maker (10%), and the Put Me In The Story app (7%). While the Apptivity Monkey may have taken the day, each of the five exceptional finalists had its passionate supporters. CCFC members explain which they voted for and why below.


TOADY Winner! Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey by Fisher Price
Price: $30
Recommended Age: 6 months+
“Clear violation of all pediatrician and professional recommendations to keep babies and toddlers under 2 years of age away from any screens at all...It targets our youngest children and preys upon parents' desire to provide their children with educational opportunities by promoting it as an educational toy...Basically it replaces interaction with people and physical objects with a screen...More like the Capptivity Monkey…It’s bad enough that most toys for babies are battery operated and flashy/light-up, but now they are encouraging screen time as part of a toy. . . I'm sad for the sweet little babies that get an Apptivity Monkey this holiday and for the unknowing parents that buy it thinking it's good for their baby... Screens hanging from crib mobiles will be next.”


LEGO Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop
Price: $29
Recommended Age: 6-12
“Reinforces the negative stereotypes feminists have been fighting for so long to break…Do we really need to program our little girls for primping and shopping? Or GOSSIP?...While I know there are lots of ‘bad toys’ to choose from that fall into that same category of gender marketing gone crazy, I was particularly disappointed to see LEGO going that route... Incredibly insulting that my daughter should be presented with Lego Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop as the norm for girls and my son with a kit to build the space shuttle...Traditional LEGOs are some of the best toys out there and it was sad to see them stoop to making something like the beauty shop.”

TheO ball by Physical Apps
Price: Coming Soon
Recommended Age: Coming Soon
“To take a toy that encourages creative, active play and add a screen and voice to it is downright creepy…Since when does a ball require instructions or technology?... No child needs to play with a smartphone and no ball needs a screen in the middle of it to promote play. It seems like a cynical amalgamation created by an advertiser… It is by far the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.”


The 7-11 Slurpee Maker by Spin Master
Price: $35
Recommended Age: 6+
“Toys should inspire the imagination instead of creating a desire to drink sugar water...I consider this the toy that keeps on giving—obesity, diabetes and bad health…Marketing to children is slimy and wrong and this toy takes it to a new level with turning young children into slurpaholics…When all is said and done and the toy is in the landfill, kids will continue to crave this artificially flavored, colored and sugary drink called Slurpee.”


The Put Me In The Story App by Jabberwocky Kids
Prices: App: Free; ebooks: $4.99
Recommended Age: 3+
“I’m dismayed at the apparent belief that books in and of themselves will not interest children. A good story, interesting illustrations, a warm lap, and a loving reader are all that children need to grow into happy readers themselves…Nurture imagination and empathy, not narcissism and selfishness!...Anything that fosters self-absorption in a child is truly obscene.”






The Put me in the STory App

I chose this one because it is not only an assault on childrens' intelligence and imagination, but a huge slap in the face to authors who wrote the original stories. To think that children can only understand and enjoy books that relate directly to themselves is so stupid, for want of a more intellectual word! This nasty app robs kids of the memories they could have as they grow up and old of books that took them to worlds that they had never seen or heard of, but which became beloved imaginary landscapes.

Put me in the Story

The Put me in the Story app didn't bother me initially, but the more I think about it, the more it does. I know this is aimed at young children, but one of the things that made me the adult I am today was all the reading I did as a kid about people who were different from me, and learning about how the "other half lives" through books. It taught me how to empathize with people who weren't like me and how my way of life wasn't universal, a skill that set me apart from a lot of my more sheltered friends. Teaching kids that books should be all about them is very bothersome to me.

I'm not sure which one I would vote for, though. I think maybe the Lego set because Legos have always been great as a gender-neutral toy, and it's sad to see them kowtowing to gendered stereotypes. I played with some "mall" and "hair dresser" toys when I was little, sure, but the notion that a brand now thinks it can't be marketing toward girls at all without going that route is really distressing. I also played with dinosaurs, toy airplanes and the like. I never thought for a second that my gender should have anything to do with what I liked.