minimalism and happy meal toys

September 16, 2008

lex luthor is to superman as happy meal toys are to minimalism.

we took our two kids to mcdonald’s for lunch today. we like it, they love it, it’s cheap…not a bad combo. and while i don’t mind eating there, i do mind bringing home the two happy meal toys every single time. it’s not because i don’t want my kids to have toys, it’s because i don’t want them to have these toys.

somewhere in the multi-billion dollar research and development department of mcdonald’s, they have been able to recreate a 25 cent toy that is played with once and never touched again. yet, as soon as they are thrown away by parents, the child immediately wants to play with it the next morning – regardless of how long has lapsed since the eating of the happy meal. i don’t know how they do it, but they’ve got my kids figured out.


8 Responses to “minimalism and happy meal toys”

  1. CLM Says:

    Just a comment about my Happy Meal Vote. I voted NO, however… I used to have lots of Happy Meal Toys in my home (I have three children.) Now that the youngest is 13 the toys no longer litter my home but I find them at my daughter’s home, I have 3 small grandchildren. I guess you can never be fully rid of them, unless you or family never walk through the door of a McDonalds again!

  2. Christy Says:

    This is timely for me. I have decided to tackle the kids play area – the whole rest of the house has been totally purged and over-hauled, but I haven’t done as much with their stuff because I didn’t want my oldest to feel out of control, which sends her off the deep end.

    But yesterday I decided to bring them into this equation, and I told my 2 kids if they could each bring me 10 things to take to the thrift store, they’d get a bonus on their allowance.

    My son schlepped down there and quickly came up with 10 discarded toys. My daughter came back up with a container of her brother’s often- used soccer stuff. *rolls eyes*

    I finally managed to get 20 legit things out of them, but oy vey. It’s going to be a long process at this rate. I may have to resort to going through it when they’re at school. Less fuss and it would take them months to notice. ;o)

  3. Christy Says:

    Well, your post was the boost I needed. I had 1 & 3/4 hours between the end of my shift and the time the kids came home from school, and I decided to see how much I could get done. I actually got finished, so there was a lot less stuff down there than I thought. Clearly we had already purged once when it went down to the play area.

    2 bags of garbage out and a big bin of stuff for the thrift store later, I am pretty amazed at how much is gone. And even more amazed at how all they got excited about was how clean the room was, and not how much junk was missing. ;o)

    I am glad it’s done, but I’m bothered by the fact that despite the fact that we have worked really hard to instill a social conscience into our kids, they can’t see past the end of their own noses to give things away unless it’s done stealthily. Even my pack-rat daughter doesn’t miss a thing that’s gone, but can’t manage to give anything away (even pre-school toys), even if it just sits. I think it’s a common kid thing, but it’s frustrating when I feel so free for all the stuff I’m doing without.

    How have you managed to get your kids to purge, or at their young ages do you guys just do it for them?

  4. Christy Says:

    (And FYI, I have now voted YES to the Happy Meal Toy poll…but they are in the thrift store box to be dropped off Monday! LOL)

  5. we handle the purging for our 2-year old daughter.

    my son is 6 and handles his own purging (he’s pretty bright and would notice if something is missing). he’s also good at sticking to his decisions so if he decides that it’s time to get rid of a toy – he never looks back. when it is time to minimalize his toys, we ask him if he has any toys that he would like to give to “kids that don’t have as many.” from his selection, we throw some away, give some to friends if the toy is appropriate, or put it in the garage sale pile. so far, he’s done very well… better than we thought (and better than his parents too).

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