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Electronic Toys Aren't All Bad

Posted by on May. 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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When I tell you our kids don't have many electronic toys, please understand that it's not because I'm a total hippie or because I think technology is singlehandedly rotting away the brains of our youth. The real reason is because electronic toys--basically anything that lights up and/or makes "music" and/or talks in a perpetually chipper cartoon voice--usually makes me want to throw it out the window. So annoying.

Here's the problem, though: Babies love that stuff. They love slamming their little hamfists around and making lights and sounds go on and off as if by magic, and oh, it's so cute I almost want to buy them all the electronic toys in the world. Except not, because ANNOYING. And yet although I'm not the type of mom who gives in to my children's every desires (for instance, the baby would like to tongue kiss the power outlet, but I'm not about to let him), I do concede that sometimes a compromise is in order. Also, grandparents have a way of thwarting these types of rules.  

Thank goodness we found three electronic toys the kids like and that we adults don't actively despise, starting with one of my must-have pieces of baby gear:

1. The ExerSaucer.


We use and love it so much that a new vocabulary has grown up around it: "Where's the baby?" "He's saucing." "Where do you want me to put the baby?" "Throw him in the sauce!" These little activity centers are a great way to contain your baby in a small space while letting him practice both his gross and fine motor skills. Here's the key to getting a good one: When you're picking it out, don't just consider how it looks or how cool the accessories are, consider how it sounds. (The one we have, pictured above, is five years old and no longer available, but Evenflo has a comparable model that comes with a playmat for younger babies and opens up into an activity table for older babies. Genius.)

2. Mozart Magic Cube.


I like this toy an awful lot. I'm not saying I like it so much I play with it when my kids aren't around, except...okay, yes, fine, I play with it when my kids aren't around. It's just so cool. The toy plays a handful of Mozart excerpts, and each side of the cube features a different instrument, each of which lights up in rhythm with its part of the song. By pressing each side, you--er, I mean your baby can turn the instrument sound and light on and off to change the overall composition of the song. So smart. And a total steal at $16

3. Flash Beat Drum.


This toy has four different settings--elecrtronic drum beats, goofy sound effects, a series of songs, and bell-like chimes that play when you roll the drum on its side--and when we got it as a hand-me-down I cringed because GAH, DRUMS. As it turns out, the feature that makes this tolerable for me is that the songs aren't your typical overplayed nursery rhyme tunes but pieces with a little more interest and "flavor." (There are several demos on YouTube if you want to see it in action.) Also, it's really cute when your baby gets big enough that he wants to pretend he's people and use the drum as a stool. Adorable.

One final tip about electronic toys: Make sure you turn them off before you go to bed, as they have a tendency to "wake up" in the middle of the night and scare the bejeezus out of you. 

Does your baby have any electronic toys that you actually like? Will you confess to playing with any of them when your kids aren't around?

All images from Amazon.com.

by on May. 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
pittymama
by Bronze Member on May. 20, 2013 at 12:45 AM
1 mom liked this

no electronic toys here. we had an exersaucer/jumperoo when she was little. i don't mind electronic toys but she isn't getting an ipad, a toy that an ipad goes into, or anything similar. 

KelliansMom
by Darbie - Head Admin on May. 20, 2013 at 7:57 AM
My son has a 3ds and he does play with my kindle (the have a kid friendly zone) electronic toys are not all bad. And a preschooler using an iPad is not bad either. Most of the school in my district use them for school anyways. But we do limit the amount of time he is on them. He does his chores and behaves to earn play time
MomToovey
by Marianne - Owner on May. 20, 2013 at 8:43 AM

 My DD had an exersaucer and a jumparoo, she loved both. She did also have the Mozart cube, but I think I liked it more than she did. I was seriously always playing with that thing! I almost didn't put it in the garage sale we had last month! LOL, I'm so lame.

All that said, while some toys do get rather annoying, none of her toys ever really bothered me, so I've never had any restrictions on toys like that. I'm more opposed to babies being in front of the tv - or other screens - all the time. They can be educational, and let's face it, the way our society is going, the better versed they are in each and every technology will do them well in the future - but when I see moms throwing their phones in front of their kids to make them be quiet in public places, I want to scream. All you're doing is rewarding their misbehavior and turning them into spoiled brats!

anotherhalf
by on May. 20, 2013 at 7:24 PM

The saucer was great.  I put DS in there so I could take a shower.  

I do love when they go off in the middle of the night.  Spooky;)




SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on May. 20, 2013 at 8:19 PM

UGH, I HATE toys like this. They make me crazy. Always making noise and flashing, and the kids always figure out how to turn them to the loudest setting. Plus the batteries die, and I can never find the teeny screwdriver to change the batteries.

I had an exersaucer and just didn't use the electronic parts. As for the other two mentioned, well, those sound like something my son would have loved. Personally I tried to do away with them all because they just made me crazy.

sara_7106
by Bronze Member on May. 21, 2013 at 8:39 PM
My dd has a few but doesn't play with them often
MrsRobinson06
by on May. 21, 2013 at 8:45 PM

 Mine have lots.

proudmommy690
by on May. 22, 2013 at 10:43 AM
My baby loves music so she has a lot of toys that play music.
katvixenstar
by Member on May. 22, 2013 at 6:44 PM

hahahaha, "throw him in the sauce!" i love it

i know the annoying factor, and the toys going off in the middle of the night factor. we used to have an electronic book that went off for no reason.

and my son got two tractors that make noise for christmas two years ago. if the batteries weren't dead in them, they would go off at the most random times, in the middle of the night, when noone was around. it would creep you out bigtime.

and we have a talking potty chair, the sensors are messed up on it or something, because it will go off when noone's around either, it's nuts!


elasmimi
by on May. 22, 2013 at 9:14 PM

Mine is 6 now, and has an ipad mini. She is better on the computer, (on some things) than I am. She just changed my wallpaper again! We do try to balance her play time and computer time, though.

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