Don't Parents Buy Age-Appropriate Toys Anymore?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Franklin Homes Realty LLC

kids playing with toysI'm frustrated by a recent trend I've been seeing from parents. They don't buy their kids toys anymore. If they do, they buy a toy that isn't age appropriate.

For example, last year my stepson bought his 6 year old son the Legos Millenium Falcon. This toy has 1,254 pieces with a suggested age of 9 to 14 years.

Did my 6 year old grandson put it together? Of course not, his dad did. Then the 6 year old pulled it apart because he hadn't done the hard work of actually constructing it.

My son would have loved receiving the Millenium Falcon when he was little and without a doubt been able to construct it himself but his parents weren't going to spend $200 on a toy. Nowadays, it seems that $200 is nothing for parents to spend.

Since our grandkids live out of state and we don't really know what they have in regards to toys, we decided to send money so their parents could shop for them. Their parents decided to buy a second iPad for the kids because they were fighting over the one they already had. Did I mention the kids' ages are 7, 5, 3 and 1?

Whatever happened to Candyland? Don't parents buy age-appropriate toys anymore?

My kids are 21 and 19. They are a junior and sophomore in college. They received their very first iPad yesterday. They didn't get smartphones until they left for college. My niece received a smartphone when she was 11 and an iPad at 12. My daughter was still playing with dolls at 11. Don't little girls play with dolls anymore?

I actually believe there are life skills learned through playing with age-appropriate toys. My daughter learned her times tables by playing Yatzee. My son has a keen sense of how things fit together. Skills he received by playing with Legos, Kinex and puzzles. They both are excellent writers. Skills obtained through reading lots of great literature and playing games like Scrabble, Wordigo and Bananagrams.

I understand that parents want their kids to know how to use electronic devices but there's plenty of time for that. There are other skills they need to learn before they need to know how to play Angry Birds on the iPad.

Don't parents buy age-appropriate toys anymore?

Posted by
Tammie White, Managing Broker/Owner
Franklin Homes Realty LLC
Franklin, TN
(615) 495-0752 
This posting with the content written here and photographs displayed are the intellectual property and opinions of Tammie White of Franklin Homes Realty LLC. Any party who uses this material without the written permission of Tammie White is subject to copyright infringement and possible lawsuit.

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Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO
We worked for years to keep it simple with our daughter, then society overcame us. I remember one summer day, when Sierra was helping daddy in the garden. She asked him...what do you want to play with now. Rocks, dirt or water? Oh boy those days are gone. I miss them.
Dec 26, 2013 12:07 PM #1
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Many skills we learned as young children have fallen by the wayside. We learned so much from role playing and looking up to our role models. Playing board games was a way to learn how to interact with others. Today role models are found on electronic devices. I am amazed at the number of children who cannot tell time by looking at a clock, spell, or write in cursive.  All they need is their iPad!

Dec 26, 2013 01:56 PM #2
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Some of this is simply that that the person buying the gift is out of touch with the kid.  When you spend a lot of time w/ the kid (or kids similar aged) you know what they do/say/like and then it's much easier. And, I agree, kids need some basic play and make believe time.

Dec 26, 2013 06:40 PM #3
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Tammie.... I understand grandchildren all wanted ipads last year and that's what I bought each one of them including the then 9 year old.... they mastered it.... I don't have one yet!!!!!! my 10 year old granddaughter wanted a new printer for her laptop and a digital camera that was more advanced than the one she has...I bought them for her this christmas.... I use my phone camera and my all in one printer is 6 years old!!!!  I'm the dummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dec 26, 2013 07:15 PM #4
Jill Winchel
Royal Shell Real Estate - The Koffman Group - Cape Coral, FL
We make it easy. You make it home.

Electronics have overtaken the simple board games, but even some of those have gotten high-tech. We still play board games at our house and I agree that they help kids learn many skills. I am all for buying age appropriate toys and letting kids be kids as they'll grow up soon enough.

Dec 26, 2013 09:13 PM #5
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

While I do understand (and agree) with your thoughts here, it's just a sign of the times.  If there were ipads around when I was a kid, I would have wanted one.  Kids are growing up faster these days and that's not going to change, sadly. 

Dec 26, 2013 09:51 PM #6
Jeff Fritzson: Frisco Real Estate Pro
Jeff Fritzson Real Estate, Ebby Halliday Realtors - Frisco, TX
Your Success is My Focus!

It is hard to fault people trying to give the best and expecting more from their exceptional grand children than they are capable. 

Dec 26, 2013 09:58 PM #7
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

I often see the gifts that the guys in the family buy for their kids/nephews are toys that they want to play with.

I think a kid playing with an iPad is good, however getting one of their very own? Not necessary. My brother recently got one for the for him but it's good on the long trips in the car with his daughter when we travel back to Long Island. It keeps her entertained and it teaches her the whole "touch screen" feel. But she's almost 7, she doesn't need one of her very own.

Dec 26, 2013 11:55 PM #8
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Debbie - Life was so much simpler then.

Sharon - That's actually scary to me.

Debbie - Last year, I wanted to my our 6 year old grandson age-appropriate Legos. However, those sets were less than 50 pieces. Very basic sets. Tom said, "We can't buy that--it looks too childish." Guess what, he is a child. Ridiculous that we can't buy our grandkids toys, rather than electronic gadgets.

Barbara - Please don't misunderstand, but I blame parents for that. Society is putting the pressure on and parents are going along with it instead of putting their foot down and telling kids be kids.

Jill - A favorite board game for my kids was Clue. We still play it. It develops excellent deductive reasoning skills. My daughter just got an "A" in her Critical Thinking class. Do I think games like this helped her develop these skills? Absolutely!

Jared - It is sad.

Jeff - My grandkids toss around their iPad like a tennis ball. They don't develop any respect for the technology because they see it as a toy. That is messed up.

Suzanne - Maybe kids are spending too much time in front of computer screens and haven't actually learned the fine art of play.

Dec 27, 2013 12:41 AM #9
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Good question, Tammie.  We're facing that debate in our family too.  Our kids were raised much like yours.  All the other kids had Nintendos and etc. ... our kids did not.  They have actually thanked us for that, now that they are adults.  I'm not saying kids shouldn't have technology.  But maybe just a bit of direction and control over HOW MUCH they have access to it would be wise??  I agree with you .. not everything can be learned on technology devices or TV ...


Dec 27, 2013 12:56 AM #10
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

I know what you mean.  I also am amazed as to the gifts that parents buy kids now. $400 -$500 gifts plus other gifts. How abut the cash gifts of $100.  The teenage grndchildren rake in up to a thousand dollars fromm the relatives, plus expensive gifts. Some overdo Christmas.

Dec 27, 2013 01:05 AM #11
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Yes, it is amazing when I see what some parents spend and I am really pleased that my daughter purchases ONLY age appropriate items and Christmas gifts always include books.

Dec 27, 2013 03:32 AM #12
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Gene - Kids have forgotten how to play. I can remember taking road trips with our kids and making a game of it to find as many license plates from other states as we could. Parents do those things anymore because their kids have their noses buried in an iPad.

Larry - I guess parents have more disposable income than we did.

Barbara-Jo - I hope that my kids do the same.

Dec 27, 2013 11:17 AM #13
Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers

I think your son wanted that gift and could not buy it for himself for whatever reason. Next year get him something similar.

I agree with this post too. My daughter always goes over the top at birthdays, Easter, and Christmas. This year, I heard her tell her daughter that her purchase her children's smart pads (for children)for her kids were way over their heads. I believe they were too. They are smart kids and will be a little hard to learn how to use them. However, someone needs to teach them.

I also think that if a child gets too much in his young years then he doesn't become a well rounded person. In my opinion they tend to expect things that have not earned.

Dec 28, 2013 12:46 PM #14
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Sussie - I so agree. My grandkids throw around the iPad like it's a toy. I fell a couple of years ago while at a showing. Really embarrassing but all I could say was, "Is my iPad okay?" I thought I'd broken it as I saw it fly through the air. How do we expect kids to appreciate these types of things if we lump them in with toys.

Dec 28, 2013 01:04 PM #15
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