Something I hear a lot today is that kids don’t play with toys anymore. That kids are too obsessed with their video games and their phones to sit down and play these days. My first thought is always whether or not these people really would have played with their toys if they’d had video games. Because of course they would! That’s how things go. When ‘books’ first became a thing, everyone was worried that reading would ruin the minds of young people.
Besides, as much as kids enjoy their technology, they still play with toys. Toys are great. Lego is as popular now as it’s ever been! Toys allow children to explore their new worlds and their imaginations, creating new scenarios and experiences.
But as great as the reputation for toys is, no one could claim that there haven’t been a few slip ups. It’s understandable surely, after all toys have been around since early humans, they couldn’t all have been gems. Besides, during the last few years, it feels like parents have become so protective of their little precious sproglets that they’re on the lookout for anything vaguely questionable. Although there are probably a few things on this list that even the most liberal or neglectful parent might think twice about.
So, if you have one of those grumpy friends who thinks that kids should play with toys more than their electronic items, then show them this list. It might just change their minds!
30 Beware Of Elmo
So, Sesame Street has been around forever and has helped talk to very small children about really big issues. Notable examples include divorce, death, incarceration, and recently autism! I know so many adults who still talk about it with praise even now.
Instead, I found it disturbingly creepy. I don’t know why, since I was fine with the Muppets. While I’ve mostly accepted that my fears were irrational, images like this do not help!
So, the small boy in the box with Elmo is given Big Hugs Elmo and great Big Hug. Elmo however has other ideas. The way Elmo is covering the kids mouth looks like he’s giving him a final good night. While I’m pretty sure that in this box Elmo has simply slipped, after seeing this box, none of the other boxes look right!
29 Don’t Mess With The Narwhal
I love narwhals so much! They’re the most beautiful, amazing animals in the entire world. They’re underwater unicorns! While most people I know have at least one plushie of their favourite animals, those I know who love cats having at least ten, it’s been hard over the years to find a cute narwhal friend! But after finding this sweet, little narwhal friend, I think it was probably for the best.
Although this toy is defiantly disturbing, I can’t promise that I wouldn’t have had fun with this as a child. After all, why is there a koala in the Arctic! It’s cute! Besides, we don’t know what these little animals did to deserve it.
28 Good Ol’ Victorian Fun
Sometimes when a toy goes into development, you just can’t comprehend who thought this was a good idea. This set is called the “Victorian Policeman and Hobo.” Why do the hobo and the policeman belong in the scene together? What’s really going on? I guess that’s up to the kids to decide!
Whilst this is without a doubt a questionable scene that only a questionable parent would get for their child, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. They’re both smiling, right? Maybe they're old school chums and the policeman is going to help the homeless man get back on his feet! At least that’s what I’ve decided it was about.
27 The Hairy Baby
When I saw this, I immediately thought of the first ever Claudine Wolf doll from the Monster High franchise. Basically, Claudine was a fifteen-year-old girl who issues with her body hair and mentioned (on her package) that she shaved and waxed. The doll did not grow hair and children were not encouraged to help Claudine with her routine. It was just mentioned on the box, presumably as a joke about the hairiness of werewolves. I bring this up because I remember parents getting so annoyed and taking to Twitter to let the entire world know how pissed they were!
So, if a fifteen-year-old shaving and waxing was deemed inappropriate for children, what the heck did parents think about this baby?
26 Help Skipper Grow
I wouldn’t necessarily think of this as inappropriate, but it’s certainly questionable.
This Mattel doll was marketed as Barbie’s younger sister Skipper. Skipper came packaged as a young girl, with a cute little small skirt. But, when the creative, playful child pulled on Skippers arm, she becomes a lovely young woman! By that I mean she grows an inch taller and gains a bust. She also has a sensible longer skirt and white heeled shoes for a more grown-up look.
While I don’t have a big problem with the core concept of this, as it gives tween kids a doll that experiences what they do, the execution of it is very strange. As a shout-out to kids: Pulling on someone’s arm will NOT start the process!
25 Kid’s First Rope
When I saw this, I honestly laughed, as I thought that, like Elmo, this was nothing more than a poor packaging choice. I mean, kids play with rope, don’t they? This rope could be a million different things? You could play westerns. Or something similar to westerns. And wouldn’t you rather have a glittery rope adorned with gems to play with then a silly old boring rope.
This was until I saw the words “Pretty Death” in the background. “Pretty Death.” There is nothing else that that could mean. I think it’s best not to think about this one too much. I just hope it never saw it to the shelves.
24 Questionable Man!
I’m amazed that so many of these toys made it to production stage without anyone in the company speaking up. “The idea is great, Steve. Really, it is. I just think that maybe his strap-on gun should be on chest? Or maybe his arm? Or you know, literally anywhere else?”
From what I can tell this is a weird action man, with an angry face, who fires some sort of hand-free gun. The idea of kids playing with guns is disturbing enough in my eyes, but I’d buy many BB guns before I’d pick up one of these.
23 Your Career, Your Choice
If you thought the Victorian Policeman was the weirdest thing Playmobil had ever come up, then you have peaked too soon!
I’m well aware that kids should be given more credit and that no-one is going to head towards a life of crime because they had this toy. But surely this isn’t exactly a positive thing for a kid to experience? Maybe playing pretend in the life of a bank robber is more fun than playing the life of a florist (that Playmobil have also made), but surely you wouldn’t want your kid to get too into this.
I do kind of like that they are dressed as gangster robbers rather than cartoony robbers. Teaches kids that criminals can dress like everybody else. Although robbers are more likely to have stubble!
22 The Next Stage
If you start to worry that your little innocent offspring have been spending too much time playing with their Playmobil bank robbers, why not show them where bad toys end up? This thing wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t look so creepily real. It's even isolated on an island, the way that some prisons actually are. These perps aren't going anywhere.
At least your kid has to put the effort into building that prison from scratch. There’s something very impressive in that. Maybe after building the whole prison your kid will want their toys to live there, after they spent time making it so nice.
21 Don’t Look Into Its Eyes!
When I was a small child, Jar Jar Binks was my favourite Star Wars character. I don’t remember why, I don’t remember how it happened or what was wrong with my brain to make me think that. The only thing I remember is that I liked him. Then I got older, realized everyone hated him, rewatched the films and agreed with them.
With a character so ugly and annoying, I suppose it would be difficult to create a toy that isn’t both ugly and annoying. But even by those standards, this is just gross! I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to be! Just don’t look at it for too long.
20 Beware Of The Monkey
I’m going to make the confession that I’ve never seen a cymbal banging monkey in person before. I’ve seen them in cartoons and comics, but I’ve never seen a live-action one. People have acted like this is a weird thing, saying things like: “Omg, but they're so cute!”
Now, after seeing this, I think I have been spared a horrific ordeal. That is one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen in my life. How has this thing brought joy to anyone? Does it hypnotize them into thinking they aren’t evil? What happened to this monkey? Was he abused in a lab? Poor thing! But still, stay the heck away from me!
19 Riding Daddy
First of all, what kind of kid is asking this for Christmas? Secondly, what kind of father (or mother, or parent) is buying this for their child?
“Every child’s favourite game,” sounds ambitious. After all, if riding on their father’s back really is the child’s favourite game, then clearly this is a child who doesn’t have many toys. And if that’s the case, then why is this family wasting money on a saddle for the Dad? And is the saddle really enhancing the experience of riding on Dad’s back? This is for a child with no imagination and a weird relationship with both their father and the sofa!
18 Watch The Babies!
Bratz as a fandom is incredibly weird. It just feels like a series about ridiculous, fashion obsessed teenagers with no real-world problems, who never do anything of note. (Plus, when they change their shoes, they literally take their entire feet off!)
But, for whatever reason, the teenage girl dolls sold very well. So, they decided to make baby versions of the dolls! Before commissioning the baby dolls, someone presumably said: “So should we dress them like normal babies, in normal comfy baby clothes that babies like to wear? Or should we have them show the same amount of flesh and have the same style of clothes they wear as teens?” They made the wrong decision.
17 SpongeBob AirPants
This isn’t so much an inappropriate toy as a poorly designed toy! There is no real malice to this. Just stupidity. It’s a balloon, right? One of those cheap ones that goes onto a stick. So, if SpongeBob was going to fit comfortably on a stick for your child to carry around the shopping centre, surely this is the best place to put the inflation device. I mean, in terms of balloons.
This is just silly. Just plain silly. I think if you bought this for your kid you probably wouldn’t realize until afterwards how silly. It’s not the most inappropriate position SpongeBob has ever been in, but for a toy, it’s pretty inappropriate.
16 God Of Bugs!
Is your child fascinated with insects? Are you yourself terrified of bugs and don’t like your kids being around real ones? Perhaps your kids keep going out looking for bugs and come back inside cover in dirt, which they track inside on the carpet that you just freaking cleaned? Is the rate at which your kids keep pulling the legs off bugs starting to disturb you?
Rather than assessing your life choices and how you’ve raised your sproglets, why not just let them make their own bugs at home? Let them make colourful, slimy bugs for them to play with or torture at their own leisure. I'm sure they’re reasonably less messy but probably a little more toxic.
15 Bad Little Bear
From what I can tell this is just your average, fluffy little bear toy for your kids to cuddle and play with. Accept this bear likes to spit balls from his mouth when you squeeze them. Because fun. This is one that would probably go right over your kid’s heads, but I’m sure the parents had a snigger. After all, the toy itself isn’t inappropriate. I don’t know what fun your kid would have shooting balls at people from its mouth. I guess that would get sort of annoying. If you’re not sure about the bear, the packet implies that there might be a bunny alternative. Not that the package would look any better.
14 A New Party Game
I’m not going to lie and pretend I have any idea what is being said on the package. But according to sources, this is no ordinary toy gun. Yep, this bright, colourful piece of pretend weaponry is your child’s own Russian Roulette game! You know, that evil game that your child has just been dying to recreate.
I mean, does it really have to be pink? Does it really have to have little angel and devil cherubs on it? Does it really have to exist! I’m sure every item on this list was a poor decision, but really who the heck green lit this?
13 How To Be A Parent
I’ll be honest, I’ve thought of this before. Kids can be tough! Can you honestly say that you’ve never seen a little thing having a tantrum in the supermarket and imagined them in something similar to this?
But that someone actually made it is a little weird. Is it responsible to be encouraging parents like this? I don’t know if this was ever actually on the market, but I imagine it was guilt that stopped parents from buying it in the masses. Also, why is the little girl in the picture so happy about it? Surely that’s cause for concern.
(This one might be fake, but still... just wow!)
12 Baby Steps
I’ve been in a lot of conversations lately about this culture and how our society's fear of is what’s causing underage usage. If we stopped treating alcohol like the devil’s nectar, then young people would stop seeing it as something to seek out.
But perhaps there is a line between normalizing it and these teething toys. Although unlike a lot of items on this list, I can actually see parents buying these. It's probably something for all the grown-ups to sit around and laugh at while their baby teethes, with no idea what’s going on.
Although the brand names on those bottles feel disturbing. Did they have to get permission to use those? Were they willing to be part of that?
11 Baby’s Baby
This one is a little interesting, as it (probably) wasn’t intended to be a children’s toy. Baby’s First Baby was created by UK artist Darren Cullen. The baby doll, featuring stretch marks, cravings and a water that actually breaks, is pregnant with their own pregnant foetus. There is also a twin version of the doll, both twins pregnant with their own pregnant twins. “The fun never stops!”
It’s thought that the project was a reflection on TV shows that glamorize teen mothers.
The doll looks incredibly creepy and disturbing. Although I’m also a little disturbed that all articles ask whether you would buy this “for your daughter.” What if your son wanted a creepy, pregnant baby doll?
10 Lil’ Hunter
Perhaps it’s my long-standing vegetarianism that’s making this one particularly creepy, but why would you get this for your child? I know that there are people who do this kind of thing as an actual hobby, but that’s also an incredibly creepy image. Maybe you’d buy this for your kid if you were a devote hunter and you thought your kid was getting way too into Bambi.
I just don’t see who this toy benefits. Though the deer lifts his head and sings Sweet Home Alabama, so I guess he isn’t really dead. Just… tied to the bonnet of a car while two guys with large hats drive along the road.
9 Parental Issues
Sometimes it isn’t so much the toy that’s the problem, but what the parents see. Luckily, we have the internet, so enraged parents can scream out their disapproval, letting the whole world hear about their outrage.
So, this is a part of a Play-Doh set, with tubes that make the dough into shapes. Parents then picked up this particular part of the set and stared at it too long. I agree that it probably could have been made into a different shape. I can understand why the people at Play-Doh didn’t see it in a way that would make it come across as the object that these parents are implying it looks like, but maybe they should have been more careful. But I really don’t feel like this one ill-designed piece of a toy ruined anyone’s entire Christmas.
8 Dream Big!
This toy is inappropriate in an entirely different way. While most toys in this list have made me laugh, this one just made me angry.
What sort of child would want this and what sort of parent would buy this for their child? Aside from the fact that it doesn’t look fun and it’s a stupid concept... if your child really dreamed of being a cleaner, then why not let them clean your actual house instead of pretend cleaning?
The fact the it’s being marketed towards girls makes it all that more worse, with its bright pink box and girl in the frilly dress! You would never have seen something like this marketed towards boys, and I hope we never see something like this again.
7 Parenting Lessons Part 2
If you thought the straitjacket was bad, this might be worse! It’s slightly cuter than the straitjacket, what with it being in a fun blue colour and decorated with little blue fishes. But that sort of makes it worse! It’s not a bad, dirty prison cage, it’s the “Funny Cage!” See, your sprog can have all their toys and will sit there all smiley and lovely. (Although where is that kid pushing his train. There is no room for the train to go anywhere. Unless… That boy was never really in the age!)
Remember parents: Adult assembly required! You can’t just have your kid build the cage that they have to sit it. You at least have to do enough parenting to build the cage.
(We're aware that this one was a prank toy, but baby/child cages do exist and are used.)
6 Aim Bigger
Perhaps if your little one isn’t really into their cleaning trolley, maybe give them another career to reach for. I didn’t believe this one at first, but after a little research I learned that this was actually sold in stores. This was something you could actually go and buy for your child.
Pole Dancing in itself has been trying to get a better reputation in the last few years. I’ve seen it advertised in recreation centres. Apparently, it’s a great upper body workout and great cardio. But even if we look at pole dancing in that light, I still don’t think kids should really be interested. That and the sparkly glitter on the box does not make it look like the doll is in it for a good upper body workout!
5 Fake Obesity
Another high-end career path for your sproglets to consider!
This has to be the bottom of the barrel, doesn’t it? Not only is it letting your child role-play a horrid, customer service, minimum wage job when they could be playing space or unicorns or something; it’s a great advertisement for an evil cooperation. It still surprises me that McDonalds are allowed to advertise to kids the way they do, with those little tacky toys that come with the meals. Childhood obesity is a real thing, and after playing with this all afternoon, there are no prizes for guessing what the spawn will want for dinner.
4 The Beast And The Beastie
I’ll be honest, all Disney dolls creep me out. They have those big eyes and plastic, static smiles that are way out of proportion to the rest of their faces. There is just something about them that is way creepier that’s ever come out of Mattel. But if this is their attempt to make their dolls look more realistic and less creepy, they need to try a little harder! Those dark, staring eyes look like their trying to suck out your soul, for goodness sake! I’m not saying that I prefer a regular Disney doll to watching this, but I wouldn’t like to wake up in the middle of the night to find either of them watching me.
3 Can You Keep A Secret?
The only thing that could have made that Belle doll creepier would be if it could whisper to you.
This doll was realized in 1966, and as far as I can figure out was an entirely serious product that they thought kids would like to play with. If you pull a string, her lips will move and she will whisper things in a hushed voice to your child. Things such as: “Is anyone else awake?,” “I know a secret. Do you?,” “I want to tell you something” and presumably, “Where did you leave the bodies?”
The doll has those dead eyes that seemed to be the standard issue for baby dolls before the nineties, but I think this could be the cutest little county princess winner and still give me chills.
2 The Almightiest!
If you’ve had enough of the creepy dolls above and want to give your child a wholesome action figure, then it doesn’t get more wholesome than this. How did this become a thing? Surely, this is the sort of thing that would annoy someone.
It paints an interesting image of God. If their supposed to be the benevolent all knowing, all powerful human than surely, they don’t need an AK-47 Assault rifle. The Hallowed Cloak of Invulnerability seems accurate though. While I could see this existing as some sort of gag gift, the Jesus Christ Superstore seems like a wholesome Christian distribution centre.
1 Terrible Decisions
So, this toy was available in bags of sweets and known as The World Trade Centre Toy, during 2004. Three years after a tragic event occurred. The product depicted a plane in-between two buildings, possibly flying into one. It's labelled with the product number 9011.
Fourteen-thousand of these toys were distributed. Complaints had it taken off the shelves. Like most of this list, I’d like to chalk this down to stupidity or poor product design. But to me it feels like it would take actual malice to create something this insensitive. Hopefully nothing like this will ever see the toy aisle again!