Barbie Girl Scout, Cartoon Network App, Mini Mall Lead This Year’s List Of Worst Toys

Image courtesy of Just one of the several available stores for building your child's Mini Mall.

Like it or not, holiday shopping season is upon us. That means it’s time for sales, decorations, crowds, stress, and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s annual list of the year’s worst toys.

Once again, the CCFC has unveiled its list of nominees for its TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award — a play on the Toy Industry Association’s TOTY award for Toy of the Year — celebrating those kid-targeted products that did their best to merge the experience of play with the thrill of marketing, brand identity, and commercialism.

Here are the nominees for this years TOADYs, which you can vote on now at the CCFC site:

leapband• LeapBand by LeapFrog
Price: $38.79
Recommended Age: 4-7

Encouraging kids to exercise is a good thing, but do they need a wearable fitness tracker when millennia of experience have shown you can get good results by turning off the TV and giving the kid something active to do?

Even if you’re okay with the idea of a fitness tracker for the first-grade set, should that tracker reward physical activity by unlocking video games?

• Mini Mall by miWorld
Price: Stores sold separately, range in price from $14.99 to $49.99
Recommended Age: 7+

Just one of the several available stores for building your child's Mini Mall.

Just one of the several available stores for building your child’s Mini Mall.

It’s not just a play set that allows your kid to construct a mall (because it’s apparently 1987), it also uses real fast food and retail brands like Dairy Queen, Mrs. Fields, and Skechers to make sure your grade-schooler’s brand awareness is keenly developed. And since it’s modular, you can buy everything from a store “starter kit” for a single store, and then spend more to add other stores and $10 mini vending machines and photo booths.

Uverse_Baby_V1• U-verse app by BabyFirst
Price: Free with subscription to AT&T U-verse
Recommended Age: 0-5

Because we live in a world where being fixated on one screen is no longer acceptable, BabyFirst is there to provide kids with a reason to stare at a second screen while they watch TV instead of doing something else.

“Prepare your little one for a lifetime of digital multitasking with the BabyFirst U-verse app, the first ‘second screen’ experience for infants and toddlers,” writes the CCFC. “When your little one ‘draws’ on a tablet or smart phone, his ‘creations’ appear on the TV screen right over regular BabyFirstTV programing! “Experts” claim that young children learn best from singularly focused activities and multisensory interaction. But the glazed look in baby’s eyes while he’s multitasking shows that something truly revolutionary is happening—right in his developing brain.”

pTRU1-18309565enh-z6• Barbie Loves Girl Scouts by Mattel
Price: $12.99
Recommended Age: 3-10

Earlier this year, when we asked readers what they thought about the Girl Scouts offering a Barbie-branded badge, a majority of you said it was a step too far. So it’s not a surprise that the toy manifestation of this partnership has made the TOADY list.

“The Barbie Loves Girl Scouts doll, brought to you by a $2 million dollar payoff from Mattel to Girl Scouts of the USA, features Barbie’s trademarked impossibly thin body, pink capris, and high-heeled hiking boots,” writes the CCFC. “Of course you can buy other, more scantily clad, sexualized, and obviously TOADY-worthy dolls, but Girl Scout Barbie is the perfect toy to teach your daughter the soul-crushing truth that everything is for sale—including the nation’s largest leadership organization for girls.”

cn app• Anything app by Cartoon Network
Price: Free
Recommended Age: 6-11

Branded clips of preteen-targeted TV content, each no longer than 15 seconds, all delivered in an app sponsored by McDonald’s? Sign us up!

The CCFC describes this app as providing a “steady stream of bathroom humor and cartoon violence without any superfluous narrative.”

Last year’s TOADY winner was the despicable iPotty iPad stand that makes sure a potty-training toddler is never away from the tablet screen his/her parents use as a $600 pacifier.

It beat out other nominees like a version of Monopoly intended to increase brand awareness, a virtual Play-Doh app, and a laser/missle-shooting dinosaur that we’re pretty sure is not historically accurate.

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