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Monday, October 8, 2012



While on Thursday Grandpa Joe toddler sitting duty I am amazed at the incredible amount of toddler toys children have today.  They have the standard stuffed animals to drag around, they have balls of every color, size and shape with which to kick, throw and break things.  They have zillions of cars and trucks of various sizes, big to bang into things and little for grownups to step on and curse at. 

The toddlers have educational toys galore.  Press a button and the toy asks questions, “What animal goes moo moo?...pause…pause…(no toddler response) Cow, yes the cow makes the moo sound.  Very good.”

The toddler hears this toy say, “Blah, blah bla blah moo moo blah?...pause…pause…Blah bla, cow, the cow blah bla bla moo moo blah.  Bla blah.”

What; like without this stupid toy your child will never learn what sounds various animals make?  Have you even heard of Old Friggin MacDonald?  He pretty much covers them all!

Trikes are nice for a few minutes, and shovels and a sand box are good to occupy the A.D.D. toddler‘s mind for 5 or 10 minutes. Swings might keep them happy for over 5 minutes but you have to stand and push.

There is one toy that will occupy a toddler for as much as 30-50 minutes.  It does not require adult supervision, there is no right or wrong way to play with this toy, and they are virtually unbreakable.


Brio train tracks.  Toddlers can snap these wooden rail road tracks together with ease and build their own railway.  Add some Thomas the Tank engines and cars and you will be free to do 45 minutes of uninterrupted chores.  That is what a toy should be all about.  No batteries, quiet, unbreakable and easy to use. 

Connor laying track

Cole putting a bridge together

Of course when Spencer, my teenager, was a toddler I made the mistake of trying to show him how to build with Brios.  It was very important for me to connect the tracks so the trains could run in continuous circles. 

Wrong!!  Just let the toddlers run the tracks where ever they want until they run out.  If they don’t connect who cares.  The toddlers don’t and that is what is important.

So if you want some actual time to do your own stuff, get your toddlers some Brios and just get out of their way.


No money or free merchandise changed hands as a result of this post.  Cranky old man does not know where Brios are made, and Brios does not know that I exist. 

They are just the best toddler toy ever!


  1. Great posting. My grandson loves trains and has a plastic set of tracks that he sets up everywhere. They also hurt the bottoms of feet when stepped on. :/ I agree on the different toys that are available today.

  2. Another toddler recepie: best when left alone. Just not near toothpaste.

  3. The only thing that might give them a run for their money is....a box. Kids seem to have as much fun with the box as the toy that came in it. ;)


  4. Lowandslow stole my comment!

  5. I guess the best thing I could say about this toy is "It is BETTER than a box!" but not by much.

  6. My Mum gave me a wooden spoon and a saucepan lid. Apparently it kept me entertained for hours...she also had very good earplugs for herself.

  7. I'm not familiar with this toy, but I'll be sure to check it out the next time I'm in Toys-R-Us. which will probably be a long time from now.

  8. so true - throw perfection out the window and just have fun. no continuous track needed. :)

  9. Perfect advice - first of all, kids have ENTIRELY too much of everything these days...entire rooms just for their toys. Second, yes - give them something that will actually spark their own imagination, innovation and problem-solving. You are one cool Grandad.

  10. We bought a set of these for our Grandson and he does love them, like you said imagination at work goes a lot further than us trying to snap them together for them.

    Great Post Joe.

  11. Brio's - not as good eating as a Dr. Suess book, but definitely in the top ten when my daughter was a toddler.

  12. Brios? I will have to check it out! My toddler definitely needs something that will keep her occupied for more than a few minutes... I'm running out of ideas lol