We Are Both Right

Best of: The Most Annoying Kids’ Toys


Which toys would you like to take not only out of the toy box, but out of the house? ©Step2

Most of the time, toys are fun playthings designed to entertain and sometimes even educate.

Most of the time.

There are, however, instances (for grown-ups anyway) where a toy is anything but something you derive joy from. Rather, it becomes something you view as a beeping, blinking, battery-sucking object of doom.

Dramatic much? Maybe. But if you’ve ever been annoyed by one of your child’s treasured trinkets, then you know that there is no exaggerating the level of irritation, nor the spike in your blood pressure every time you trip over it.

So in that vein, we present our (least) favorite toys:


Elefun: This one seems harmless enough — sweet even. I mean what could be cuter than an adorable baby elephant and dozens of colorful butterflies? That is until you actually get the toy and play with it. The premise is simple — Elefun shoots the butterflies out with his trunk and your kids have to catch them with their nets. Except it doesn’t quite work that way. Sometimes the butterflies get stuck. And sometimes the fan that is supposed to make the butterflies fly isn’t strong enough to do so. Also, Elefun likes batteries. A lot. And do you know how long it takes all of the butterflies to fly up in the air and land? Not very. Which means you and your kids are spending more time putting the butterflies back into Elefun rather than catching them.

Crayola “Washable” Color Bubbles: Another toy that sounds great but has an incredibly flawed execution. I bought these for our nearly 2-year-old, thinking he’d get a kick out of the colors. He did. What I did not get a kick out of was spending a good hour on my hands and knees, scrubbing our deck after the mixture stained it a dark blue, scrubbing my son’s hands and face after the mixture stained him a dark blue and scrubbing his clothing after the mixture stained them a dark blue too. Trust me on this one — these bubbles might be made of soap, but the dye does not come out.

Trampolines: I feel like I’m in the minority with this one but I can’t stand these things. Are we the only family I know that doesn’t own one (except for Suzanne’s)? Safety nets or not, to me a trampoline is nothing more than an incredibly enticing, bouncarific invitation for a kid to get hurt. Broken bones, bruised limbs, bumped heads — thanks, but no thanks. I get that they are a good way for kids to exercise but I suspect I can find another way to help my kids stay active that doesn’t involve hurtling in the air over and over again. (Not to mention that our pediatrician said she’d drop our kids as patients if we ever bought one.)


First of all, in the spirit of disagreeing, I have to say I like Elefun! We just played it the other night at a friend’s house (oh, the wild and crazy parties we get invited to these days) and it worked like a charm. But since this isn’t about our favorite toys, rather our least favorite, here goes:

Little Mommy Talking Doll: Yes the one that was accused of saying things other than goo-goo and ga-ga, which coincided with my daughter getting this doll for her first birthday. The voice immediately struck me as eery (and that was before we could even listen closely to the words). Once the cake plates were cleaned up and the cheese doodles crumbs were picked out of the rug, I had already made the decision to remove her batteries, just so that we didn’t spend a sleepless night being spooked by the doll who never shut-up. She would talk whenever she felt like it, regardless of whether there was a human within reach or in sight. I don’t do dolls with their own brains. S. still has it, but we just can’t seem to find batteries that will make her talk again.

Slip-N-Slide: After my son came home with burns on his chest from sliding down this slippery mat about a hundred too many times last summer, I turned sour on this classic. He probably should have taken a cue from the other kids who figured out when enough was enough, except that to him it only meant that he got to take extra turns. So sliding down a water-soaked mat that provides about a millimeter of protection between you and errant rocks in the lawn was banned forevermore by this fun-hating mommy.

Nerf Guns: I’m not a fan of any toy gun, but I do let my son play with the Nerf versions if only because they’re huge and orange and have no chance of being mistaken for the real thing. In this case, it’s not even the gun that ends up on my least favorites list — it’s those orange foam darts with the suction cup at the end that get shot out of the gun in rapid fire that make me want to misplace the toy for a few weeks at a time. They end up all over the room when they’re fired, behind couches, in shoes, on top of lamps, and then the dog ultimately finds them before we do, treating them like her favorite chew toy. (Honestly, I don’t mind when she bites them in half, because that means there’s one less to look for.) And I know I’m not alone on this one, because as laid-back as Amanda is I remember her shuddering when our three oldest had a Nerf War in her living room when her youngest was weeks old. The thought of the baby finding a dart in his Pack-n-Play was justification enough for a temporary ban on this toy.


Now it’s your turn. What toys do you find the most annoying? Any on our list you disagree with?