Why the Children’s Toys We Typically See in Stores Are Very Limiting

And what’s best for kids.

Adelina Vasile


A toy from a three-year-old’s personal collection, remotely resembling a helicopter. Photo by Adelina Vasile

An old Romanian poem talks about humans having three faces as they play, love, and become wiser throughout life:

The child laughs:
“Playing is my wisdom and love!”
The youngster sings:
“Loving is my play and wisdom!”
The old man is silent:
“Wisdom is my love and play!”
(Lucian Blaga — Three Faces)

Playing is serious business for children, indeed. But it also serves a global business with a global market segment.

How do we choose the right instruments for our children to play with?

Educators say that everything a child does should aim to stimulate their thinking, creativity, and social cooperation abilities.

When we put toys under scrutiny, it becomes obvious which ones help build these vital skills, and which aren’t. Dolls and babies, robots, cars, and helicopters, castles and others alike are far from ideal toys. What’s the matter with them?

They feed children with limited play options, telling them how to use those toys, rather than letting them set the rules. What can you do with a baby doll other than feeding and rocking? How about with a helicopter, other than having it fly? Or a robot, other than making it fight?

The best toys are toys that can be anything and the best games are the play pretend games.

The best items for children’s play are items from real life that they can use to experiment with and learn how things go in the real world.

Instead of perfectly finished toys with a clear purpose, children would make better use of items with a high power of creative transformation. I’m talking…

The toilet paper rolls:

Toilet paper rolls crafts from Pinterest

Buttons in all sizes and colors:

Button kids crafts from Pinterest



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself.