While toy makers around the world are hoping they’ll be considered among the best toys of the year, the folks at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood are calling out a handful of toys as nominees in their worst-of 2011 contest.
Here are the nominees up for a TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award:
Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet
Price: $479; Recommended Age: 4 and under
“The $479 may seem like a lot, but that’s a small price to pay for the tranquility that comes when your infant is virtually lobotomized,” writes the CCFC. “The Vinci’s hypnotic apps are designed to guarantee that Junior won’t even know you’re gone. Plus, the Vinci makes lots of bogus educational claims, so you can join the company in pretending that screen time is great for your little one.”
I Am T-Pain Mic
Retails for: $39.99; Recommended Age: 7+
For the parent who enjoys the novelty of their children singing “I’m in Love with a Stripper”… Superstar rapper T-Pain slapped his name on this toy because, “A lot of kids don’t have cellphones, (so) in order to reach everyone, I’m taking it to where it can be a toy.”
Responds the CCFC: “Thank you, T-Pain, for your dedication and service to our children.”
Monopoly – Coca Cola 125th Anniversary Collector’s Edition
Retails for: $39.99; Recommended Age: 8-10 years
This $40 ad-in-a-box replaces Monopoly’s classic playing piece with “collectible” tokens like a Coke bottle, Coke can and the Coke polar bear. “Why give your kids the classic version of America’s favorite board game when you can immerse them in an ad for Coca Cola?,” asks the CCFC.
Monster High Ghoul Spirit Fearleading Doll 3-Pack: Draculaura, Cleo de Nile and Gholia Yelps
Retails for: $42.99; Recommended Age: 6+
What’s so scary about these ghoulish cheerleaders isn’t the fact that they are undead, explains the CCFC, but that they enforce stereotypes that should have died decades ago:
“Behold the horrors of impossibly thin body types; recoil from the micro-mini-skirts, booty shorts, and fishnet stockings; shriek in frustration, because–in Mattel’s world–girls are always relegated to the sidelines.”
WWE Colossal Crashdown Arena
Retails for: $38.99; Recommended Age: 6+
Looks like the CCFC has mixed feelings about this toy. While it says the toy promotes the WWE’s “unique blend of bullying, violence, homophobia, and misogyny,” it also points out that the “Colossal Crashdown Arena is so ridiculously pathetic that it could be the toy which actually turns kids away from the WWE forever.”
If you want to vote on one of these nominees, go to the CCFC website. And if you want to share your own opinion on the worst toy — not just of the year, but ever — do so in the comments.