Brand Name VS No Name

?? - posted on 04/12/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Do you think that buying your children brand name toys helps them learn better than if you were to find 5 no name toys, that do the same things as that 1 brand name toy?



My son has a ton of toys, almost all of them are gifts, and a lot of them are 'brand name' toys. Leap Frog, Fisher Price, Little Tikes, Play School, etc, etc, etc. But for the most part, he ignores the brand name toys and he plays with a pop bottle or a blanket or a pot and spoon. He does play with ALL of his toys at some point or another, he goes through phases where 1 toy will be the toy he brings everywhere. But it really doesn't seem to me like he prefers the Leap Frog radio toy over the no name brand toys. And he seems to learn more playing with nothing than he does playing with the toys that are supposed to teach him words, numbers, letters, whatever it's gimmick is.



Do you buy or does your child have as many or more brand name toys as no name toys? Do you find that they learn more or better from the brand name toys? Are you paying for the brand name or do you think you get your money's worth by going with the brand name?

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Jaime - posted on 04/14/2010

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I think you really hit the nail on the head with the realization that it doesn't matter what brand of toy your son has...he will play with whatever toy suits him at that moment. As kids grow and begin to understand what the sounds, shapes and colours are, they find the toys more interesting and engaging. But I would say from the age of newborn to about 18 months, I don't think it much matters what brand of toy a child has, just as long as they have some kind of object that they enjoy and that they find engaging---even if it's a cardboard box, a pot, a spoon, blanket, stuffed toy, etc. My son has a lot of name-brand toys that were hand-me-downs or gifts as well and he does play with them...but just as equally, he plays with the tupperware in the cupboard and his SHOES! LOL, I can't get him to stop chewing on his shoes! I'm not worried about his development and I don't stress out about him using all of his name-brand toys on a regimented rotation...it's just too much for them and for us parents too! Sometimes simple is best.

Amie - posted on 04/14/2010

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It depends on who's buying it. My kids have gotten a lot of knock off gifts, they never last. For example, Little People... we've been collecting sets of them since our son was 2. (He's 5 1/2 now).. all of the sets are still there, fully intact, nothing wrong with them. Now the grandparents wanted to save some money so bought a knock off (don't remember what it's called).. the vehicles for it are falling apart, the actual little people have their faces and clothes rubbing off, etc. You get my point. lol!



We buy toys for their durability, not for the price.



Same with books and movies for the kids. If you look hard enough there's always a knock off. The bookstore we go to is also huge though (think Indigo books with twice the space) so there is a lot of variety and the cheaper options are available for those looking for them. We also have a membership card though so the more we buy, the more we save. We just went yesterday actually and got the kids some Mercer Meyer Little Critter books. =)



Some things may be ok in the generic brands.. like those big block legos. Those are a dime a dozen. My kids even have foam ones and wooden ones somewhere. I hate those little legos though, we've tried so many of them and there's always one missed and that one is always stepped on. So they're put away for now.



After watching my kids, who aren't exactly gentle with toys, the brand names are usually what we go for. We're not opposed to generic no name toys but they don't seem to have the life that brand name toys do. You get what you pay for.



Like Lindsay said though, some things you have to buy brand name.

ME - posted on 04/14/2010

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We have a lot of Melissa and Doug stuff...all wooden, made in the USA with non-toxic paints, etc. He LOVES their puzzles and his set of Alphabet blocks. That's a brand name I guess...but mostly Mile loves playing with random stuff around the house...he's on a cleaning kick right now...carries my broom around going "clean up that mess, mommy!"...He also loves boxes, books, and coloring...we only have a couple of plastic toys...and he doesn't care about any of them...

Jess - posted on 04/14/2010

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So far my daughters favourite toys are a blue horse she carries around everywhere. Its not a well known brand, she LOVES paint ! And the best toy ever has to the wooden stick the doctor uses when he checks her throat. We have sooo many of those sticks !!!

Lindsay - posted on 04/13/2010

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Regardless of quality, brand or what features a toy has, what they "learn" from the toy comes from how the parents, caregivers, or whoever plays with the child interact with them and use it. But with young baby and toddler toys, I did find the name brands to be of better quality and had been made with much more attention to being safe. I was always a fan of the simple toys (stacking blocks and rings, the soft toys with different textures, ect.). We had some of the sing songy things and they were enough to drive us crazy!



It is funny though that now everything my kids get since they have gotten older are much more basic and simple than the toys for infants and young toddlers. Madeline is big on Barbies. And yes the Barbie brand is far superior to the knock-offs who's body parts frequently fall off or detach. Cooper had loads of Tonka trucks as well as cheaper brands. Tonka quality is superior. They have a play kitchen that they love. We did buy a big set of play food (generic) and they have been just fine. Their bikes, wagons, and generally the things that they are going to be harder on and get more use out of, we buy a nice brand. It's with anything. Some things generic or fine but some won't do. It's like cheese. You just can't get the generic cheese, it's gross! =)

Charlie - posted on 04/12/2010

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The only brand i bought FOR the brand name was TONKA trucks , C'mon every little boy needs a Tonka LOL .

Apart from that his fave toys are the cooking pots and pans and he goes NUTS for cardboard boxes .

I hate plastic toys , i just dont think they are very aesthetically pleasing i LOVE wooden toys but Coop has plenty of both mostly gifts .

AND i just want to add that playing with nothing (stacking sticks , collecting leaves )is still using his developmental skills , everything a child does is educational ( except for watching TV IMO )

Joanna - posted on 04/12/2010

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the brand name means nothing to me. Heck, my daughter's 2 favorite toys are an empty tissue box (she loves sorting) and a handmade doll her great-grandma made her.

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We don't buy any toys that make noise. I hate them and several studies have linked them to hearing loss (only if your little one holds the speaker right up to their ear a lot, which is not really likely to happen, but its a good excuse for me not to buy them ;) lol)
I buy Automoblox brand wooden cars b/c they are inexpensive ($10 a car) and well built, plus they are all interchangeable! He has about 12 of these cars I think, and he can make hundreds of different cars--they are SO cool!! BUt they only interchange with Automoblox cars, so we have to stick with that brand.
http://www.fatbraintoys.com/toy_companie...

We also buy Lego brand blocks, again b/c they are interchangeable, so he can make new things with all the different sets.

We also bought him several of the Fisher Price Imaginext play sets for Christmas last year and he LOVES those, so we added a couple more at Easter. Again, interchangeable.

That's mostly it, I don't care what brand wood blocks or board games we buy as long as they are safe. I did buy him a cheap race track once, I think it was Hot Wheels and I will NEVER buy their race tracks again, but I usually let him have the cars--they are harder to break. I don't really know of a good car brand.....

Sharon - posted on 04/12/2010

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In general I buy brand name toys because I trust them for their safety and for being upstanding companies that stand behind their products when something goes wrong.

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My daughter likes Discovery Toys. They are very simple, classic toys that come with parent guides for activities. I love them too obviously. Today we played with the Measure Up Cups. It is a set of twelve cups that fit inside each other and stack on top of each other. She loves to stack them and I watched her figure out how to put the biggest on the bottom, then the next size, etc. She also plays with them in the tub. I'll help her fill up a small one and pour it into a bigger one. Then fill up a bigger one and pour it into the smaller one and watch the water run over! It's building very simple math concepts. That set of cups cost maybe $8. That's just one example, we have a few other Discovery Toys as well. I like them all! And I will probably get her more for Christmas.



The other toys she plays with are her Fisher Price Happy Sounds Doll House, V-Tech computer (while I'm on mine), her baby doll and stroller, her Elmo Doll, and of course her crayons. That's about it. I try to weed out things she doesn't play with so we have two small baskets of toys, one in the living room and one in her room. I like it that way. Anything loud and annoying typically gets put in storage for future garage sales after she plays with it for a week or two.



So my answer about name brand vs. generic...it doesn't really matter. If she plays with the toy then I got my money's worth.



**edit to add I like to buy classic books as well. I can usually find good books in thrift stores or at garage sales. But books are well worth the money in my opinion.

LaCi - posted on 04/12/2010

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Mine has a ton of brand name toys. Quite frankly I hate them, they're noisy, irritating and nonsensical. I don't think it makes a difference if they're brand name or not. They're all junk. I'd rather he play with blocks and read books, so I hide most of his toys and just alternate a few at a time.

Jocelyn - posted on 04/12/2010

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For some stuff, brand name IS better, for quality and safety reasons (like Melissa and Doug, or Fisher Price), but I don't think that they help children LEARN better. I think that the toys with 25 flashing lights and 14 buttons don't encourage a child to use their imagination. Sometimes it is the kitchen utensil set that you picked up from the dollar store that will be more educational/imaginative.
I buy name brand, and sometimes I buy cheaper; it depends on the toy. Like I bought a good quality pretend kitchen (Little Tikes) and filled it with cheap Toys R Us brand play food :P We use Crayola Crayons because the dollar store crayons are crap. But little toys car work just the same whether they are Hot Wheels or not.

Johnny - posted on 04/12/2010

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I don't think the brand name thing is what is important. But I have noticed that often the brand name toys seem to have been constructed with more concern for safety than the cheaper no-name toy. For instance, we got 2 cash registers for my daughter as gifts. One is second-hand Fisher Price and the other was a new no-name brand. The Fisher-Price is very durable, well-put together, and the coins and foods that came with it are too large for a child to eat. The no-name brand one is a bit more fun for my daughter, it's got an ATM card slider that beeps that she just loves. But I can tell it won't last all that long, and the little food and coins that came with it are both choking hazards and had to be taken away. So soon, the no-name brand one will just be more plastic waste in the landfill and the Fisher-Price one that is already on its second kid will be passed on to another child. I personally think that is more valuable and worth paying more for. My daughter's Little Tikes car is on it's 5th owner in our co-op. In the years to come, I'm sure she will be passing it on to another little kid around here.

Krista - posted on 04/12/2010

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I'm not worried so much about brand name as I am about durability and quality. I'd rather my kid have 5 toys that are sturdy, safe and well-built and that he likes and plays with, than 25 toys that are cheap junk from the dollar store or McDonald's.



But with regards to name-brand toys in particular, it really depends on the toy. I'm not a fan of toys with a million electronic doodads, as they do everything FOR the kid. What fun does the kid have pushing a button? But if it's a toy that engages their imagination, and that they really like, and if it's a reputable name and is well-built, then that's a win. My mom still has my Fisher-Price Little People Sesame Street playset from when I was a little girl. My nephews played with it, and I don't doubt that Sam will play with it when we visit her house. And the thing is STILL in perfect shape, as is my awesome blue Tonka jeep.



So for some stuff, yes, the brand name is worth it.

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