‘Tis the Season for Cheap Plastic Toys?

As more wreaths adorn front doors and more coats and rain boots adorn our neighbors, it’s clear that the holidays are approaching, and with them, the peak shopping season of the year.

Despite the growing popularity of decluttering and minimalism, and despite the growing consciousness about the impact of our Stuff on our communities and the planet, overconsumption is still a huge issue in the developed world. The holidays offer a sobering view of our consumption habits, particularly how these habits affect our children. For many children, who have been viewing toy commercials all year, holidays mean presents.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We believe kids deserve a holiday season that’s about gratitude, magic, and quality time with their friends and families. And we don’t think it’s right that so many toy companies and marketing campaigns seek to prime our kids for shopping and normalize overconsumption. It seems that kids are being targeted at a younger age every year!

That’s why we’ve teamed up with our friends at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to highlight some of the worst toys of this year. Our nomination for 2016 is the Shopkins’ Tall Mall Playset by Moose Toys. Shopkins represent everything that’s wrong with children’s toys today. They’re collections of tiny, cheap plastic toys that vaguely resemble items you would find in stores. They come in series, with new sets released a few times a year, and kids encouraged to collect them all. What’s more, when kids play with Shopkins toys, they’re pretending to be shopping. In fact, the explicit motto of the Shopkins brand is, “Once you shop…you can’t stop!”

We’re all for high-quality, non-toxic toys that teach our children values like accountability and creativity, and that spark curiosity and excitement about the world around them. But what we certainly we don’t need are toys like Shopkins, that send a dangerous message to our children that shopping is more fun than any other activity.

This holiday season, let’s raise the standards – both for our kids and for their toys.


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