Modern toys are just junk

I’ve been noticing that modern toys are just junk now. We are returning 5 Christmas presents because they just don’t work or are poorly designed… And this is across brands, from Playmobil to Jakks or Little Tikes.

Example. $40 Mario Kart r/c toy from Jakks. It’s just plain wired wrong, one side is dead. Another example:. A toy electric guitar from Little Tikes, also $40. Buttons straight up don’t work and the selector switch is misaligned. A Playmobile horse and carraige set, the pin that connects the harness to the carriage is the wrong size so it just flops about without securing it… It goes on and on.

Any toy you order from Walmart/Target/Amazon seems to be of the “cheap Chinese” variety while still trying to charge you full price.

Do they make good toys besides Lego for kids anymore?

Jakks has been synonymous with cheap crap for decades afaik, but this doesn’t surprise me.

We’ve had reasonably good luck with B and Melissa & Doug stuff. Lakeshore Learning also tends to stock things that mostly don’t disintegrate on contact with the child.

Honestly just avoid electronic toys. Even if they’re not flimsy junk, like as not they’ll become so annoying you’ll chuck them yourself. Kids entertain themselves quite effectively without batteries, I promise.

To clarify, these are all toys someone else gave them. We go pretty old school on toys and get a lot of them from Etsy.

Toys are definitely different today, though I’m not sure they are any more poorly made, dollar for dollar. We used to complain about “cheap Japanese” stuff, back before Japan became synonymous with high quality, but really we complaining that cheap toys were, well, cheap. Some stuff was certainly quite robust, but then, while there were electric toys, there were no electronic toys. So manufacturing was mostly a very physical thing, about quality off materials and basic assembly of mostly mechanical bits and pieces.

Of course, many of the toys I had as a kid were second-hand, so it was hard to tell if any problems were caused by manufacturing or a previous owner. When I did get new stuff–like when my mother won a contest in 1967 I think from Mattel, which got us a new Mattel product each month for a year or something, I did get to sample the joys of 1960s “toys that can kill you,” including the wonders of Creepy Crawlers, Plasti-goop, and more!

We also had a lot more toys that shot sharp objects, burned things, and allowed us to mix dangerous chemicals, too.

+1 on everything from Melissa and Doug. It’s a little more expensive but almost always high quality stuff and usually made primarily with materials like wood and less plastic.

I’ve been pretty successful with the Think Fun stuff too: Gravity Maze, Laser Maze, etc.

Definitely quality for younger kids

Also National Geographic has a whole line of mostly not quite toys that is fantastic. Stuff I would have killed for as a kid. We’ve gotten my son rock kits, a rock tumbler, telescope, etc from them. Honestly once you look in the Stem areas there has never been a better time to be a kid.

Cheap plastic toys are what they ever were. But Hot Wheels, Nerf, Playdoh, Lego are all still around for a reason. My almost 3 tear old is loving the Mario Kart Hot Wheels set he got.

I’m ok with some of the cheap toys because the kids will abandon them before too long anyway. Maybe other kids are different but I remember my kids playing with their Christmas toys for a week or two and then most got piled in a box and hardly looked at again.

Anyway, it wasn’t too long before they wanted videogames anyway.

Heh. One benefit of video games is that they don’t leave much evidence of their abandonment.

I had my Dad’s erector set as a kid. This thing had a beefy motor in it that weighed in at several pounds, all parts were steel not aluminum. The kit practically weighted as much as I did. Yea, they don’t make stuff like this anymore.

When we go to my parents’ house, my kids play with some of the toys that I had when I was a kid. In particular we’ve got a Fisher-Price Play Farm and a Fisher-Price work bench. These toys are practically 40 years old and with the exception of some lost parts they’re in perfect condition. They really built them to last back in the day.

This reminded me of a truly fascinating teardown of a rereleased Fisher Price record player toy from earlier this year. The thread is more interesting than it first appears, at least to me :)

That was fascinating.

It was indeed and it begs the question, why?! I mean the answer is obvious surely - it’s cheaper to do the electronic version than replicate the original mechanical version, but it boggles my mind that that can be the case.

$40 in today’s money is like $20 in 90s money. You could get … A players handbook. Four shitty lead shadows figures. You couldn’t even get a pair of sneakers.