Don’t Buy It: Toys

5 12 2009

So, it’s Christmastime, and we’ve been inundated with catalogs designed to help the sugarplums dance in my son’s head in the costliest fashion possible. Usually, in all honesty, these catalogs make me remember being a little girl, circling practically everything in the JCPenney Wish Book. But not yesterday. I was paging through a new one from a company called Constructive Playthings, and instead of being filled with nostalgia, I was absolutely astonished that for almost every toy, I could think of a creative fellow blogger who had made exactly the same thing for less money, with more play value, than the shiny new plaything on the page.

Wanna see?

Constructive Playthings’ Dinosaur Park, $60:

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vs. The Filth Wizards’ Playdough Dinosaur Island (the playdough is homemade, not commercial, and can you imagine how much more fun this would be, besides being cheaper, greener, and waaayy bigger and more elaborate?)

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Constructive Playthings’ Fancy Fun Tutus ($20):

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vs. Grosgrain Fabulous’s much more gorgeous and durable Midsummer Night’s Dream tutu

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Constructive Playthings’ Mermaid Mountain (an incredible $70):

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vs. The Filth Wizards’ Playdough Mermaid Kingdom (check out those recycled mermaid houses! download the templates to turn any dollie into a resplendent butterfly-fairy-mermaid-princess!):

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Constructive Playthings’ Pop-Up Flower Tent, $45:

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vs. Family Fun Magazine‘s much bigger, and again more durable, Secret Playhouse:

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Constructive Playthings’ Personalized Capers ($20, and it won’t make it in time for Christmas, by the way, because personalization takes longer):

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vs. Floating World Views’ dead-simple, make-it-today Superhero Cape:

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Constructive Playthings’ Lion Around Pillow/Blanket set ($22, and did they totally crib this from Family Fun, or what?)

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vs. Family Fun‘s No-Sew Fleece Lion Pillow, which they actually list as a craft so simple kids can make it themselves:

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Constructive Playthings’ Tabletop Soccer Game ($35, which is pretty cheap, actually, but not as cheap as….)

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The Filth Wizards’ Clothespin Foosball Table:

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I could go on for hours like this, but just one more, because I can’t resist the price markup on this sucker:

Constructive Playthings’ Classic Wood Kitchen ($178, Made in Thailand):

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vs. Making Do With the Not So New’s (much bigger, fancier, and more fun) Kitchen Entertainment Center ($6.22, no child labor involved):

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What are you making your kids for the holidays this year?

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2 responses

7 12 2009
R. May

That catalogue amuses me – talk about overpriced crap.

I am mostly a buyer though. Considering the outlay of cost for material and time vs what I spend I’m happy with it.

22 11 2010
cheaplikeme

These are great! Although I have to say … looking at the mounds of play dough spread all over the dining table, I admire the creativity … but I couldn’t stand it. To me, it makes the fold-up dinosaur place look compact and appealing.

My 9-year-old daughter has a net “canopy” over her bed that we made with a huge embroidery hoop and netting … and some felt horses, which no catalog stocked. I think it cost almost $20 including the hoop (which will get some other use in the future) compared to $75 and up in catalogs.

For Christmas, don’t tell her, but I’ve made a reading pillow with gorgeous tween-friendly fabric and I’m going to knit some Dr. Who washcloths.

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