It’s common to see the best and “must-have” gifts this time of year, but what about those that don’t quite make the cut? For as many fun and fabulous toys that hit the market, there are also those leave us shaking our heads. We’ve sifted through the worst-of-the-worst from the past few years, just in case you need help on what to avoid (some of these items are still on the market) and come up with finds that only deserve a place on Santa’s naughty list.
Black Panther Slash Claw
While we totally get where the creators were going with the Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw, creating a toy that is all about acting like an oversized cat with sharp claws creates a problem. The creator didn't do themselves any favors by including a warning not to swing or hit at people––seemingly the whole purpose of the toy in general.
Nerf Vortex VTX Praxis Blaster
Nerf usually comes through with kid-safe options, but not this time. When they released the Nerf Vortex Praxis, they switched up the ammo from soft darts to hard plastic discs. The result? Scared parents who can now truly say "you'll shoot your eye out."
Monopoly Game: Cheaters Game
Nothing like teaching your kids right from wrong! While Monopoly Cheaters Edition is supposed to be a funny tack on the OG version, it's definitely not a great option for littles. Among the cards that ask players to cheat, the game also comes with a pair of handcuffs for those that get caught in the act.
Play-Doh Poop Troop
If your littles can't get enough bathroom humor than the Play-Doh Poop Troop is for them. Kids use a variety of tools to literally squeeze out "poop" from the rather large collection of included dough tubs (the most of which are brown) to make personalized turds. Just what they've always wanted.
Lightning Reaction Reloaded
A game that includes electrocution if you're too slow? What could go wrong? Even better is the fact that this is a real game you can still buy on Amazon for $35! The toy description says to "Bust out this shocking game for an electrifying good time," and the comments are equally enjoyable. One user uses the game to encourage the kiddos to do chores and says "What started out as a gag game, has turned into how I dictate which of my 3 kids will do chores. If I lose, I take the garbage out and do the dishes myself. Chores just got a little more fun around this camp." Glad we don't live at her house!
Mamas want their babies to grow up and be ... pole dancers? While the packaging of this "toy" was made to look pretty alluring to kids, what with the glitter and gems, we all know this is one career we're taking out of the running.
Love n' Licks Pets
Their tagline is that you'll get "so wet, you should wear a bathing suit!" If that's not enough to steer you clear away from this doggy that drools, then consider the goal of this toy is to rub it's head so much that it barks––because everyone loves a barking dog. The commercial is a compilation of kids covered in towels or wearing a raincoat and bathing suit which is a dead giveaway how un-fun this toy can be. You can buy a used one from Amazon for a mere $88!
Super Soaker Oozinator
The Super Soaker Oozinator was released in the '90s and was supposed to be the next generation of squirt guns. But instead of shooting free water, kids got to squirt each other from ooze cartridges––basically tantamount to shooting huge boogers at each other. The three-pound worked the same way as the traditional super soakers, but this one boasted "extra pumping required." Gross.
Vibrating Harry Potter Broom
Back in 2010, Mattel started selling the Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 vibrating broomstick much to the delight of Potter fans worldwide. But when sex shops in New York City‘s Times Square started buying and re-selling the broomstick for double Amazon’s price, Mattel decided the fun and games were over and discontinued the model. You can still find similar products on Amazon, just make sure to read the reviews, "This broom looks like it has been designed and created by muggles. I arrived late to Hogwarts and almost missed the sorting hat ceremony." Ba-dum tsss...
Pretend Tattoo Parlor
While Spin Master Toys has been cranking out the hits for many years (including Star Wars, Paw Patrol and this year's Hatchimals), every once in a while they have a dud. In 2006, they definitely hit a new low with a pretend tattoo parlor for kids. The set came complete with an electronic tattoo pen, washable ink, stencils, and, presumably, a pretend follow-up morning of regrets and a hangover.
Playmobil Security Checkpoint
Unsurprisingly, this Security Checkpoint model did not perform as well as other Playmobil models like Barnyard with Silo or Pirate Fort, so it was discontinued. If you have a kindergartner passionate about airline security, fear not, you can still purchase a discontinued model on Amazon for $249. The reviews themselves provide hours of entertainment, "This toy would be a lot more realistic with about 350 people standing in line for an average of an hour. It still makes a nice set with the interrogation room."
Pee and Poo Dolls
Isn't Potty Humor fun?! Don't you want to cuddle with a defecation-themed plushy?! These Pee & Poo dolls are an early ancestor of the popular poop emoji we're currently inundated with today (thanks, Uncle Poop!). Originated in Sweden in 2004, the Pee&Poo brand now has a dedicated website with a full line of products for your potty-obessed family and friends.
Not only is this a horrifyingly bad design (if you haven't noticed, take another peek), the whole Aquapet concept is a bit creepy as well (like, why isn't she wearing scuba gear? Is this akin to toy waterboarding?). The suggestive design was first noticed in 2009 when the Dora Aquapet started showing up on moms' Christmas lists on Amazon.
Yume-chan Doll that Cries
Introduced at the Tokyo toy fair in 2012, manufacturer TOMY (makers of Chuggington, Pokemon and Lamaze products) had the ill-fated idea that it would be fun for kids to watch their doll cry after immunization. A evil plot by anti-vaxxers to scare kids? We'll never know.
Heelarious Baby High Heels
When we received the first press release for this product, we thought it was gag gift. And while it's true the founder/creator of baby high heels has taken a tongue-in-cheek approach to her products, there are parents on either end of the spectrum either squealing with delight or venting with outrage, regardless of intent
Barbie & Her Dog Tanner
Another Mattel classic sure to be discontinued (note recall for bite-sized magnetic poop pellets) and/or a future overpriced collectible. The $89 sticker price is a bit more palatable when you are entertained by Amazon reviews like this gem, " God bless America! Does this toy teach young girls moral lessons about the responsibilities of pet ownership and the importance of cleaning up their mess? Or, is the feces-eating devil dog teaching impressionable young kids that its ok to consume their own excrement? Who knows, and who cares."
My Cleaning Trolley
Look at little Arya, doesn't she look like she is having fun vacuuming?! Put your kids to work starting at toddler-age, teaching them how to sweep, mop and dust. The gift offers the perfect inspiration for an aspiring janitorial career. We're kidding. Of course, lots of kids love to "clean" and "pretend to clean". The primary reason this sparked outrage was because of the packaging, which had a big, "For Girls Only" sticker on the front.
Poopy Time Fun Shapes
This image has been circulating on Reddit and Buzzfeed since 2009, though we can't find an actual manufacturer or more product detail. Since parents seem willing to do anything to get their kids to potty train (rewards, gold stars, M & M's), we'll simply categorize this product as "good intention gone bad."
––Karly Wood & Shahrzad Warkentin