Grave Digger for Kids…Why?

Grave Digger Truck from Hot Wheels

We are adding this one to our list of “what were they thinking toys”? I can’t really see an argument that supports making a toy truck for young children with the name Grave Digger.  And even if you were to say, hey many of them aren’t even old enough to read the name (it’s on the truck as well as the box)…how about that artwork?  Really? This seems more like a design school final project – intended as a spoof on a classic toy rather than an offering from the nation’s largest toy company intended for the six and under crowd. A major disappointment from the design department at Hot Wheels. 

Barbie Video Girl

There’s always one toy that seems to draw the attention of the media…and this year it’s the new Barbie Video Girl.  Critics are  suggesting that she could be used as a tool for creating child pornography.  It’s not lost on me that as a girl that never played with Barbies and as an adult toy reviewer that often questions Barbie’s various professions – that I am now feeling the need to defend this high-tech version of this doll icon.  Many holiday stories about toys have a life of their own. One person makes a strong statement about a particular toy..and in this year, where there is no run away hot toy, editors and producers looking for a nice toy story will hold onto a story that has all the hot topics rolled into one.  What’s more titillating than a story that draws Barbie, sex and crimes and against children?

True, Barbie Video Camera could be used in inappropriate ways.  Yet, I’m not sure why the same isn’t being said of the other video cameras for children this year. It’s a hot category that includes a spy watch with a built in video camera that can used to entice both boys and girls…or how about the little toy helicopter with a built in video camera.  We need to be careful about the people in our children’s lives – but to suggest that this camera is particularly dangerous is ridiculous.

Dolls that Wet (and Poop)

Over the years, this category has always been one that fascinates parents – often when they are in the throws of potty training.  We had one testing family that was our go- to potty doll testers.  Even dolls that I knew probably weren’t going to work out–they really wanted to test.  One of the early potty dolls involved food and water…that you guessed it, had to come out.  So the doll also came with disposable diapers.  The only problem was that the food often got stuck and it was super difficult to get the doll to poop. Thankfully no doll enema included.   Even Elmo got into the act with Potty Time Elmo…he was really polite about the whole experience and reinforced the idea that accidents happen.  He made sound effects to simulate the experience…no actual diapers to change here.  He made our Platinum List one year.  As the mother of two boys, I was also particularly fond of Corolle’s Paul doll, an anatomically correct boy  doll that pees (no pooping here).

So this is all to say that we are always interested in new dolls in this category.  Yesterday we received a huge box of toys that we hadn’t seen yet (amazing since it just feels like we’ve seen every toy)…but we hadn’t tested this particular bunch.  The one that caught our eye was Fisher-Price’s new Wipey Dipey from their Little Mommy line.

Fisher-Price's Little Mommy Wipey Dipey Doll

We usually like these novelty dolls and this one really made us curious.  The box reads:  “pee-pee and poo-poo disappear with a wipe!”  Ok, not that unusual…but here’s the new twist. The diaper lights up with a light indicating that your dolly has made one or two…and then you wipe it away.   No messy diapers (it comes with one plastic diaper that is not removable) and a wipe. You give Wipey Dipey her bottle and then she lets you know that she needs to be changed. She either tells you or makes an uncomfortable sound. In otherwords, this drink and wet doll…really doesn’t do either except in a high-tech manner.

Pros and Cons.

She’s a hard plastic doll…so she’s not soft and huggable. We also found some of her phrases difficult to understand. One could say she’s a mumbler…her supporters would also probably point out that she’s a baby doll.   The novelty aspect of this doll is pretty unique and will appeal to small children that love the “let’s see what she made now” aspect of the doll play.  My only real problem is that when you wipe the poo poo as they call it…you’re wiping in the wrong direction.  I’m really amazed that I just constructed that sentence…but it is really an issue especially when you’re trying to teach kids how to properly wipe at this stage. On the other hand, nothing gets stuck in this doll and there is no water to clean up either.  If you’re of the camp that likes to see the water come out of the doll, Wipey Dipey is probably going to disappoint you.  On the other hand, if you are not big on messy dolls/toys in general…this high-tech no mess approach to potty training may just be what you’ve been looking for.  Only if the real experience could be so mess free!

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