Have You Ever Bought a Toy That Didn’t Work as You Expected?

I don’t know where I found it.

I don’t know whether my younger son asked for it or I just thought he’d like it.

English: Picture of a teddy bear with head tur...

Teddy Bear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We gave him a Tonka voice-activated teddy bear for Christmas in 1986.

You could talk to it and it would record and repeat back what you said.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

My son was seven.

The then-popular Teddy Ruxpin teddy bears had tape cassettes with stories recorded on them, or 10-second modules you could record your own message on.

But, this bear was interactive.

You spoke. It spoke back your words to you. Every time.

No special buttons. No special on-off switches.

I noticed a few months after Christmas that my son was no longer sleeping with the bear.

It was buried somewhere in a pile of toys across the room from his bed.

Disappointed that such a cute, interactive toy was no longer appreciated, I asked him why he didn’t sleep with it anymore.

“It wakes me up.”

“It wakes you up? How does it do that?”

“When I make noises when I’m asleep it records them and plays them back and wakes me up.


We de-activated the voice mechanism and my son put his teddy bear back in bed with him.

We still have the bear. It has never talked since.

You can still get a voice-activated teddy bear on ebay.

Did your children have a favorite teddy bear?

Did you ever get them a toy that turned out to be inappropriate for some reason?

Have your grandchildren ever told you stories about the way they use toys that is not what you expected?

To you and delighting your grandchildren.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers



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