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Children's Toys and the Environment

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  • Brooks, AB
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    I like watching my three-year-old son play with his cars and trucks. I often wonder what he is thinking about as he moves cars across the living room floor, complete with sounds and songs and crashes and proper lines.

    The smaller cars--Hot Wheels and Matchbox--are fairly indestructible. About half of his bigger cars are second hand and have a few battle scars on them. They are not likely to last beyond my son's usage. The other half are new--and some of them are not likely to find their way into the second-hand market. These toys are not built well.

    But they cost $10 to $20, something that many parents can justify spending. If higher quality is desired, the costs could rise $40 to $60.

    I say we should go in that direction. True it is that many families will not want to spend $50 for one toy car. But the wealthier people will. If the toy is well built, it should survive a few generations of toddler boys at play. The less than wealthy will be looking at the second hand market to get their toy cars. And when their boy moves on, the toy can be resold (or given away) second hand-----again and again.

    A high quality toy should last 10 to 20 years before it is landfilled. Most toy car today are lucky to make two years.

    Not only that, local artisans could probably make a living handcrafting high quality toys for $50 a piece. If more people are employed in a creative fashion rather than being robots on an assembly line, that is a sign of a more contented society.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Dave Volek Wrote:

    I like watching my three-year-old son play with his cars and trucks. I often wonder what he is thinking about as he moves cars across the living room floor, complete with sounds and songs and crashes and proper lines.

    The smaller cars--Hot Wheels and Matchbox--are fairly indestructible. About half of his bigger cars are second hand and have a few battle scars on them. They are not likely to last beyond my son's usage. The other half are new--and some of them are not likely to find their way into the second-hand market. These toys are not built well.

    But they cost $10 to $20, something that many parents can justify spending. If higher quality is desired, the costs could rise $40 to $60.

    I say we should go in that direction. True it is that many families will not want to spend $50 for one toy car. But the wealthier people will. If the toy is well built, it should survive a few generations of toddler boys at play. The less than wealthy will be looking at the second hand market to get their toy cars. And when their boy moves on, the toy can be resold (or given away) second hand-----again and again.

    A high quality toy should last 10 to 20 years before it is landfilled. Most toy car today are lucky to make two years.

    Not only that, local artisans could probably make a living handcrafting high quality toys for $50 a piece. If more people are employed in a creative fashion rather than being robots on an assembly line, that is a sign of a more contented society.

    We have a collection of pre WWII toy cars some as old as 1914; all in good condition. but they are actually to delicate to play with, because most of them have an convertible top.
  • Brooks, AB
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    Dutch Wrote:
    We have a collection of pre WWII toy cars some as old as 1914; all in good condition. but they are actually to delicate to play with, because most of them have an convertible top.

    Back in my childhood, "Tonka" was the toy to have. Built really tough. But it was too expensive for many families. We got a couple of new Tonkas, and a few hand-me-downs. But they lasted for years at the hands of my and my brother's hands. Today "Tonka" is just a little tougher than your average toy. Effective life is not that great.

    I think we have the know-how to create long lasting toys. But we can't make them if the retail price is $10.

    I also think that the low price entices families to buy more toys than they really need. My family is guilty of this.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Kenosha, WI
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    The brats in my area play with plastic guns, the parents and the plastic guns should be thrown in the recycle bin together.
  • Brooks, AB
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    Dockadams Wrote: The brats in my area play with plastic guns, the parents and the plastic guns should be thrown in the recycle bin together.

    We had toy guns in our childhood as well. No serious side effects in my family.

    I had a neighbor in Edmonton who tried to keep her two boys from toy guns. The two boys would just get a couple of sticks and "shoot" each other.

    Getting back to my original intent, a friend of mine had a toy M16 machine gun. Cock back the lever, and machine gun sounds galore. We played with that for hours. And he had other boys over to play. His nephews later had access to that gun, and gave a lot of time to it. Later my friend brought it from his parents' house to his house. Son #3 was the final user before it fell apart. Definitely a well built toy.

    Stepson had a couple of toy guns: they fell apart after minimal usage.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Dave Volek Wrote:
    Dockadams Wrote: The brats in my area play with plastic guns, the parents and the plastic guns should be thrown in the recycle bin together.

    We had toy guns in our childhood as well. No serious side effects in my family.

    I had a neighbor in Edmonton who tried to keep her two boys from toy guns. The two boys would just get a couple of sticks and "shoot" each other.

    Getting back to my original intent, a friend of mine had a toy M16 machine gun. Cock back the lever, and machine gun sounds galore. We played with that for hours. And he had other boys over to play. His nephews later had access to that gun, and gave a lot of time to it. Later my friend brought it from his parents' house to his house. Son #3 was the final user before it fell apart. Definitely a well built toy.

    Stepson had a couple of toy guns: they fell apart after minimal usage.

    When I was a kid, both my brother and I had guns and plenty of bullets, which were left behind in the woods by the Germans. We built a fire and dove behind an heap of sand and tossed in the bullets; made an awful sound. Around the meadow there was an wire fence with concrete poles with holes for the wire; we put the bullets in the holes and hit them with an hammer. Luckily we did not kill ourselves. The guns got taken away, but my brother had hidden his and did not use it anymore as far as I know. Later we resorted to building our own bow and arrows and did target shooting with that. We also had an crashed V2 in the woods which got taken away directly after the war. No more guns for me!
  • Brooks, AB
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    Dutch Wrote:
    When I was a kid, both my brother and I had guns and plenty of bullets, which were left behind in the woods by the Germans. We built a fire and dove behind an heap of sand and tossed in the bullets; made an awful sound. Around the meadow there was an wire fence with concrete poles with holes for the wire; we put the bullets in the holes and hit them with an hammer. Luckily we did not kill ourselves. The guns got taken away, but my brother had hidden his and did not use it anymore as far as I know. Later we resorted to building our own bow and arrows and did target shooting with that. We also had an crashed V2 in the woods which got taken away directly after the war. No more guns for me!
    Nice story. I bet there were a lot of wrecks hanging around Europe in the aftermath of WW2. Probably took a decade to clear them up.