Four Unfortunate Little Tikes Toys

Photo of a plastic sandbox shaped to look like a tree stump, including a lid adorned with tree rings.

1. Wilderness Sandbox — Imbue your 1-year-old with a love of nature by giving the timeless gift of a plastic sandbox molded into the shape of a tree stump.

This sandbox could be improved with a gas motor. The motor wouldn’t do anything functional except consume gasoline and spew exhaust, but hey, as long as you’re making a plastic tree stump, might as well complete the political statement.

Overview photo of an inflatable rock climbing toy and a photo of a toddler climbing the tower inside the toy's safety netting.

2. Race to the top Bouncer — Parents love that their toddlers climb everything in sight, especially furniture. Now you can nurture that independent spirit with an inflatable rock-climbing tower.

Foot and handholds are color coded for three levels of difficulty. The 11-foot-tall tower is enclosed in netting and the unit is staked to the ground for safety. All this can be yours for a mere $500.

Photo of a toy gasoline pump and a photo of a Hummer H2 ride-on toy.

3. Electronic Sounds Pumper — After you buy your 3-year-old a battery-powered Hummer H2 ride-on toy, complete the experience with a toy gas pump. The unit includes three weatherproof sound-making fuel buttons, a credit card swipe and a pretend gas nozzle.

If you have two kids, good news, the gas pump is rated for 1.5-year-olds, so you can train your youngest as a gas station attendant. Buy a 3-minute egg timer so that the kids know when to gas up the Hummer.

Photo of a plastic toddler slide with a built-in overhead water spray. The slide is positioned on top of wood chips and young evergreens are visible in the background.

4. Classic Water Wave Slide — This plastic slide for 2-year-olds has a built-in sprinkler that sprays water above the slide. It costs $100. For $30 less you could buy a normal slide and stand over your kids spraying them with your lead-free garden hose.

Let’s be honest. If your water slide is positioned over playground wood chips like in the product photo, you should probably just save $75 and buy a toddler pool.

I bet in the product photo, amid those recently planted seedlings, there are hiding a few giant tree stumps.


6 Responses to “Four Unfortunate Little Tikes Toys”

  1. nathan says:

    I don’t get what’s wrong with the bouncer. The price is high, but that looks like it would be a blast and would defeat the climbing on couches and the like. “No, honey. You can only climb on the bouncer, not the couch” works well with our kid.

    We’ll see if it works on #2.

    August 24th, 2007 at 8:55 am

  2. colin Campbell says:

    A.J. Funny stuff, specially the bit about the plastic stump w/ motor

    August 24th, 2007 at 8:57 am

  3. AJ says:

    Nathan, the rock climber is probably the most reasonable of the toys.

    I wondered about injuries. My greatest fear would be snapping a neck or some other injury based on landing in the wrong position. I’ve helped my daughter scale solid climbing structures at playgrounds, but with me holding on. This toy puts me on the outside, behind netting. And how solid is it given that it’s inflated and has other kids climbing on other sides of the tower? I don’t know.

    Mostly, it struck me as an odd behavior and/or sport to encourage at such a young age.

    August 24th, 2007 at 9:13 am

  4. Paul says:

    Though the magic of photography does not indicate, the kids’ favorite part of the Classic Water Wave Slide will undoubtedly be the muddy, sloshy mess that gathers at the bottom. I also agree that the rock climbing thing looks pretty cool – but my local community recreation center has a rock climbing wall, and I could buy a bunch of passes for that money, and would not have to worry about what to do with an 11′ tall inflatable rock wall when Ben loses interest. A nice accessory to the tree stump sandbox might be a clear plastic bubble cover to simulate the global warming that may occur with overharvesting. Love the blog!

    August 24th, 2007 at 9:51 am

  5. Adrienne says:

    We have an older version of the Little Tikes gas pump ($9 at a yard sale with a great Little Tikes police cruiser). Jim insists we update the pump with current gas prices.

    He argues that we use it to teach about alternative fuel sources (eg- make our little cars without gas caps solar vehicles or something).

    CORRECTION: You’d need a 3 minute timer for the Hummer itself and 20 minute timer for when it visits the pump.

    Built in sprinkler = mold. ick.

    August 27th, 2007 at 3:12 pm

  6. anjii says:

    I was just googling the rock climber, and lo and behold, found this post, which I’d read ages ago, but forgotten all about… I agree, that at $500, this thing would be ridiculous, but my local grocery store has a couple old stock clearing out for $160, and I’m seriously considering getting it as a joint birthday gift for my youngest, from us and my parents. My sister has their bouncy room w/slide, and her four boys have SO much fun with it… only problem with this thing is, I was looking for something to use inside, to burn off excess winter energy in our big basement. At 11′ tall, this would be relegated to nice weather, outdoor use only :(

    April 23rd, 2010 at 5:20 pm