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.  


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 13th November 2010 / 12:32 pm

    This sounds like an excellent way of reviewing the toys – if anything much more useful to Toys R Us as they will have a better mix of reviewers.
    Father Christmas with breasts eh…the mind boggles but my smile widens.

  2. 13th November 2010 / 12:40 pm

    Well, that is just modelling creative thinking and problem solving. An excellent example for Flea!

  3. Nikki
    13th November 2010 / 1:32 pm

    Visited the site once I found it, and they’re not recruiting anymore – bah humbug! 🙂

    13th November 2010 / 1:50 pm

    I bet the parents loved you 😉

  5. 13th November 2010 / 3:59 pm

    Looks to me like it’s still open, just post on the wall!

  6. Nikki
    13th November 2010 / 8:46 pm

    unfortunately not- just checked-!/toysrusuk?v=app_6009294086
    “We have been inundated with requests from wannabe
    Toys R Us Toyologists. We’re currently full to the brim,
    but if you think that you fit the bill or if you know someone
    that would be perfect please do keep an eye on the Toys
    R Us UK Fan page as while we are not currently recruiting
    we will be running several one off competitions over the
    coming months and giving away great toys to be reviewed
    right here.”
    But thanks anyway Sally! Will bookmark the page 🙂

  7. 13th November 2010 / 10:27 pm

    That’s on the Toyologist page and is an old message.
    Look at their home page and the status message posted today reads: “Calling all wannabe Toyologists! Tell us why you think we should pick you to join us in the run up to Christmas. Entries can be videos, photos or simply written. Invite your friends to join Toys R Us UK to increase the number of toys you can test, AND the number of runner up prizes.”
    People have been posting applications all day, I assure you!

  8. Lorraine The Party Times
    13th November 2010 / 10:41 pm

    brill plan!

  9. 13th November 2010 / 11:50 pm

    Wow what fun the kids shall have :0) I think it would be lovely too if some toys could be given by toysrus and maybe make their way to childrens wards, especially at christmas time.
    Well popped my little message on their FB wall, doubt they shall see it amongst all the posts, wow the Poppins’ family would love to be Toyologists, would need a badge though, am one for my badges ;0)

  10. Nikki
    14th November 2010 / 6:03 pm

    Ok so I’m a plank LOL, thanks Sally!!!

  11. 15th November 2010 / 9:13 pm

    You are just a genius!!! That is totally the most creative solution a most awkward situation!!! Love it!!!