Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Batteries Not Included

Far be it from me to insult Santa's elves during their well deserved vacation time, but there seems to be a conspiracy taking place, making me feel the need to blow the whistle on the whole operation.

It stands to reason that those who make toys must be getting some sort of a kick back from those who make batteries. It sometimes feels like there is not a toy left on the face of the earth that does not sing, dance, or light up for those who do.

Gone are the days of old where kids actually had to pedal bikes and push things for themselves. Heaven forbid someone would have to exert some energy. With the touch of a button, the toys of today take on a life of their own.

Well, after the deposit of 4,668 double D batteries, that is.

Now I don't know about you, but I don't like the idea of Park playing with toys that are smarter than me. It's just down right creepy. And my own little Energizer Bunny makes enough noise by himself without having help from inanimate little friends that "keep going and going and going", thank you very much.

Despite all the bells and whistle type of games Leap Frog has come out with, I would just rather Park play it the old fashioned way.....Hop over your partner and then they, in turn, hop over you.

No batteries required.

Not to mention that just the amount of engineering skills it takes to simply assemble a toy these days is about as "Vtech"nical as I can handle.

As a rule of thumb, this Christmas we tried to stay away from toys that talked more than Park. Truthfully, it wasn't that hard because, frankly, he talks so much my ears sometimes hurt.

But, even so, we somehow ended up with a kitchen set that requires batteries. And I'm not sure if I should be more alarmed by the fact that this toy reads out recipes that sound better than anything I've ever made or that upon receiving it, Park announced that he could now "cook like DADDY."
However, this was the item that led to my epiphany. (And sorry, Chris, it was not that I need to cook more) Despite what the directions say, batteries are NOT required. I am the parent. The toy is living in my house. Therefore it must abide by my rules while sleeping under our roof. And this mommy decided that seeing Park play imaginatively with his plastic pots and pans was worth bypassing some killer recipes.

Ones that I would probably have trouble following anyway.

So, as the batteries in Park's toys continue to run out, I'm simply not replacing them. I'm making a conscious effort to minimize the flash, so that he can discover his own creative uses for them. And I'm finding that these same toys hold his interest much longer without the added distraction of noise and lights. Not to mention he has invented some pretty comical sound effects while playing.

Needless to say, our house is not going to become a 100% battery free zone. There is always a place for toys with batteries that can enhance the magical experience of childhood. However, those toys will be the exception and not the rule.

So, thank you for your services, Mr. Duracell. However, it seems that I CAN, in fact, stop the copper top. But, if you'd like to be of further assistance, please feel free to send me a rechargeable battery. Seeing as how much energy it takes to keep up with my little man, I'm sure to need a new one very shortly.

*For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, click here.


happygeek said...

Yes, my MIL once helpfully told me that one of the boy's toys could take batteries and then make sounds. "Oh I know" I replied. The older my boys get, the more suspicious of "learning toys" I get!

Jaime said...

We've been trying to cut down on this also. This year Ava got primarily imaginative toys--Play Doh and other art supplies, a Mr. Potato Head, etc. We made two exceptions on toys that teach the ABCs since that's the stage she's at. It's been so great to see her blossom with the art and begin to think for herself.

Phyllis Sommer said...

LOL - often the batteries in my house don't ever get replaced because i can't find a darn screwdriver to open the battery case! seriously, though, you are totally right. but i notice that they tend to play with the noisy toys only for a while and can spend hours zooming matchbox cars...hooray!

Amy said...

What a fantastic idea! Thanks!

Christy said...

I am so with you on this one. Granted I just spent my children's college fund on AA batteries this Christmas. Laura Grace got a doll that even requires batteries. A BABY DOLL. I made the mistake of giving the doll batteries.


The doll came alive. Complete with rooting motions and sounds.

Creepy doesn't even begin to describe it.

SAHMmy Says said...

We do the same! Any toy that requires batteries gets one round...that's it. Then we decide if it's off to Goodwill or worth playing with without the electronic bells and whistles. Surprisingly, most toys are still adored without the lights/noise.

Kelly said...

Amen! A great place to find more of the "old fashioned" toys for us has been Hearthsongs. They have so many great toys, and so far, all have been battery free.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Great idea, Brittani. I've gone one step further in recent years by donating any toys that no longer hold interest once the "noise" runs out. If they are that big of a one-trick pony, I'd rather not have them lying around.

Molly said...

Amen! We have done the same! This year our girls did not get anything that required batteries and we have filtered out almost all previously owned toys that required them. We got them books, games that we can play as a family, and art supplies this year and they were ecstatic! Two companies that we really like to purchase from are Melissa&Doug and Gamewright. Both can be found on and almost all of their products count toward the free shipping promotion. Gamewright has some really neat games...both educational and just plain fun. Melissa&Doug company has TONS of wooden toys that are really nifty and DON'T REQUIRE BATTERIES!! Can't beat that! They are the two places we look first for gift ideas at Christmas and birthdays...and I LOVE having it delivered to my door with no shipping charge! :)

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

Yes m'am. Totally agree with you.

All these "learning toys" these days are shady.

Brittani's Holding Little Hands said...

Thanks ladies for all the affirmation and suggestions of where to find toys without all the fluff! I somehow end up GETTING more great ideas than I give out on WFMW. The internet is a beautiful thing:)