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I just did a giant decluttering of my kids’ toys. While I love the feeling after a good clean out, I do not like the feeling that I just threw away some money that could have been used towards other thing. But thankfully, I rarely get that feeling anymore because I have figured out how to know if a toy is worth the money before actually buying it.
SAY WHAT???? You mean I can find out if the hot new toy is worth it or not before spending money on it. YEP! And I have developed 5 ways I use to decide if I will invest in a toy or not. So I am going to share those with you today, so that you can make wise purchasing choices, avoid toys that just gather dust, and more.
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own and we really do these tests on toys before purchasing. The Think & Learn Rocktopus™ is available at Walmart.
5 Tests To Know If A Toy Is Worth The Money
So what are these magical five tests? Well, honestly, they aren’t that magical, but they will get you thinking about if a toy is really worth the purchase. I am excited to share how we did these tests on the Think & Learn Rocktopus™ by Fisher-Price.
1. The “Test of Time”
There are a few items that my kids have all loved, and still love. The test of time is not just about if these are toys that have been around for years. This involves thinking about how many uses it will get for the money we spend. This is an old tip I learned about anything you go to buy, but it works really well on toys too.
Think about how often your children will get to play with the toy, and for how long it will interest them. Going to be 100% honest that there are certain brands that their toys are able to be used for years. They either have different levels of play depending on the child’s ability, or maybe the toy can be less or more complex.
The Rocktopus does this. There are 3 modes, math, music and games. The math and music are perfect for my preschool age twins. The math deals with numbers between 0-4, so right where they should be. But as they get older, the games are great too. My oldest loved the games that dealt with patterns. And he is older than the “recommended age” but is completely in love with this toy.
2. The Parts Test
Okay, this one is all about the type of parts the toy has in it. The more complicated the parts, and more essential the parts are to the toy, the more cautious I am about purchasing a toy.
So like building blocks, while having multiples are important to the function, in general, the loss of one block, will not ruin the ability to use the other pieces and still enjoy the toy. Make sense?
As my children get older, this will become a smaller part of our decision making, but guys, when you have preschoolers, this is so important. Even though we try very hard to make sure we clean up one toy before getting out another, or that we keep pieces together, parts still get lost.
So did the Rocktopus pass this test?
Yep. Yes, I know… it has parts, but the loss of one of the parts does not make the toy “broken” and there are so many extras, we could lose quite a few. Also, the pieces are not small, so they will not be lost easily. Finally, the loose pieces are not something that my kids can easily break. There are not hinges they can break, or gears they can pull off. They are really preschooler friendly.
3. The Playdate Test
This is my favorite test because it is usually the most accurate one in determining if my children will enjoy a toy enough to make the “Test of Time” test.
My mom-friends and I have started having playdates where everyone brings a toy that their family loves, so others can check it out to see if it is a good purchase before buying. I recently hosted one of these playdates. We like to have a theme to them, so this one was music toys. I brought the Rocktopus, and others brought their favorite musical toys.
All of the kids had a chance to play with things. We were able to see how the toys worked, talk about their quality, and really get a feel for which toys our kids gravitate towards the most.
*Bonus Of Playdate Tests: We were able to figure out which musical toys drive us nuts and which ones we can handle listening to over and over. The Rocktopus won for having the best music!
4. The Brain Test
Does the toy either foster creative and imaginary play, or work their brain in some way? That is important. Not because I am a “all toys need to be educational” person, but because if a toy does those things, it is more likely they will continue to play with it over and over.
My kids loved that the Rocktopus had challenging levels that tested their memory, levels that let them create music, and that every time they play with it, they get a new experience.
5. The Fight Test
It doesn’t matter how great a toy is if it will just cause constant fights between my kids. They have some great toys I have packed up because I “can’t handle the fighting another minute.” Playdates can help with this test as well, when you see how kids play with it, but really, I look for how I can stop fights (because there will always be fights) without having to take the toy away.
So something like the Rocktopus passes because I can assign each kid an arm or two that is “theirs” or they can take turns choosing the mode. But at the same time, they can play with it individually, which is nice for when only one kid wants to play. It isn’t something that “takes two people.”
So when you are at Walmart, looking for the Rocktopus or any other toy, think about these five tests.