How Not To Be a Toyologist

A few months ago, Flea and I were recruited to become Toyologists for the toy store ToysRUs. The mission was simple: every couple of weeks we’d receive a big box of toys. We had to test them out, and write about them, ideally in a super-creative, fun way.

Readers, I regret to inform you that we have failed. Miserably.

In recent weeks, the generous people at ToysRUs have sent us everything from battle hamsters (yes, really) and construction sets to family board games, Power Rangers figures and Play-Doh sets. Some of these toys have been played with. Some have not. Some have been cunningly hidden away in a drawer where I sincerely hope my daughter will forget they ever existed (Zhu Zhu hamsters, I’m thinking of you).

But for the most part, they live in cardboard boxes in the utility room. Turns out there is such a thing as too many toys.

However, I’m not a person who gives up easily, especially when there’s a good cheat available. So on Friday, I came up with a cunning plan.

I filled my car boot with six enormous cardboard boxes full of toys. And I went down to Flea’s school and shared them all out. I was like Father Christmas with breasts instead of a beard. Oh, yes, I’m not above buying influence and friendship – even if it is only from 20 five year olds. It still totally counts.

“Now remember,” I told the children. “You get to keep these toys, but in return, it’s very important that you review them very carefully, and tell me all the things you like and don’t like.”

It’s so important to teach children about the importance of honouring commitments and being responsible, isn’t it? Cough.

So for the next 30 days, I will be publishing the verdicts of my sweatshop employees (aka Flea’s friends) on 2010’s finest toys for 5-year-olds. Head over to the Great Toy Guide to see our verdicts on all this year’s best-selling toys, along with some great reviews from other bloggers and their families.

StockingThis week, we’ve also published a round-up of the best reusable advent calendars of 2010, and we’re giving away a fantastic Maileg Pixie Advent Calendar from Armstrong Ward, worth £69. You just need to pop over and leave a comment to enter.

And if you fancy being a (much better) Toyologist in the run-up to Christmas, ToysRUs is currently recruiting new volunteers. You can find all the information you need over at their Facebook page.  

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