I remember buying this beautiful pink castle for my girls for Christmas one year. They were so excited to get it; they couldn’t wait to play with it. We put the whole thing together, out came their dolls and away they went into the world of their imagination. I scooted off to the kitchen to start preparing the holiday meal when I heard…”Mom, can you fix the castle”? That phrase would haunt me over and over that day, and many days to follow. Nothing would stay on it – doors, balconies, and floors you name it, it came off regularly. My seven year old looked at me one day and said “This isn’t a very good toy.” No truer words said, and I deeply regretted my purchase. I wish I had known about “ATSM”, the American Society for Testing and Materials standard. I could have checked before I purchased the castle to see if it had met its testing standards.
As you get ready to go out shopping this season, keep in mind some simple suggestions that could save you a lot of time and aggravation. First, check for the ASTM rating. You will also want to check for appropriate age ratings. Some toys are marked with skill level; this allows you to determine if your kids will actually be able to use the toy as it was intended at their developmental level.
Other things you might want to take into consideration are sharp edges or points. You wouldn’t want your child injured if they fell on the toy. This is especially important with toddlers who are easily toppled. Speaking of toppling, you want to make sure the toy would be sturdy enough to withstand an impact. A toy like the castle that constantly fell apart when used is of no value to a serious kid at play!
Keeping these tips in mind will help save you from sharing the experience of the Worst Toy Ever!