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8 Toys That Are Actually Worse Than Garbage

Photograph by Twenty20

There’s nothing that signifies American consumerism and excess quite like a house full of forgotten, unloved toys. Toys in the bedroom. Toys in the living room. Toys creeping into every corner of the house, rolling onto every surface (including that scary dust-dungeon under the refrigerator).

Some toys are worse than others. I’m thinking specifically of the toys that do not stand the test of time.

These are the toys will not last. They are the ones that do not bring joy that persists more than a week or two. And they are the toys that will end up in the “donate” bag or the trash can faster than you can say, “Please, give my kids experiences, not gifts!”

Stuffed animals

Lots of kids will adopt a beloved stuffy to snuggle at night, but that beloved stuffy is an anomaly. Any additional stuffed animals will remain neglected for 99% of their existence. And that other 1% is reserved for when your kid discovers that you’ve moved their stuffed animal to the “donate” bag, and then all of the sudden it’s their most favorite, wonderful, amazing toy ever. (Don’t give in, just give some more thought to your stealth mode.)

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Character-branded toys

As soon as you get them the Daniel Tiger stuffed animal, they’re moving on to Paw Patrol.

As soon as you’ve transitioned to Paw Patrol toys, they’ve graduated to Doc McStuffins.

Then they might hit a strange-cool Gravity Falls phase. Run with it. Just don’t run to the toy store with it.

99% of children’s books based on television or movies

Your kids will be done with that flimsy “Moana” book—you know, the one you found in the weird aisle of the grocery store—the moment you finish reading the third page.

Those books are crap, stop buying them.

These toys don’t stand the test of time because parents’ patience and sanity cannot stand the test of time with them in the house.

The toys in birthday favor bags

No one. Needs. Another. Bag. Of. Plastic. Garbage.

You might as well put a handful of quarters in a few Ziploc bags and call it a day.

The “hot” toy of the holiday season

Does anyone actually remember playing with their Cabbage Patch Doll? Their Teddy Ruxpin? Their Furby?

Guess what? Your kids probably aren’t weaving lasting memories about their Hatchimals, either.

All the small pieces

If there are parents out there who find a tiny plastic shoe in the corner of the kitchen for the fifth time in one week and say to themselves, “Oh! We must find where this goes! Back to its rightful place (which is not the trash can),” I salute them.

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Obnoxious musical instruments

Especially recorders. In fact, hell is a room full of small children playing recorders. (Why do you torture yourselves so, elementary school music teachers?)

These toys don’t stand the test of time because parents’ patience and sanity cannot stand the test of time with them in the house.


It will get mixed with other colors. It will get left out longer than it should. It will become dry and crumbly.

It will not last.

So take my word for it: Keep these toys to a minimum. Better yet, keep them out of your house.

The landfill (and your aversion to a toy-avalanche inside your house) will thank you for it.

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