Toys and McDonalds

Every time I read a story about people/companies trying to ban toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals, I think those people did not play enough as children and they are looking for attention. Seriously, research has proven time and time again toys are good for children and society.

McDonalds blog When I write ‘good’ for society, I am not referring to the obvious benefits to a parent (and those in earshot) of keeping their child occupied and quiet. Dr. Stuart Brown from the National Institue for Play did research concluding play can act as a powerful deterrent, even an antidote to prevent violence, in violent individuals. He also said, “Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” There are a lot of adults that could use Happy Meal toys.

One of the smartest men that ever lived, Albert  Einstein said that play is the highest form of research.

Joseph Chilton Pearce, an American scholar said, “ Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.

Many more quotes and research about the importance of play can be found on websites of The Strong Museum, Toy Industry Association and Games for Educators.

The Strong Museum publishes The American Journal of Play and this is what their play experts had to say:

About Play

Everyone needs play. It is essential to learning, creativity, and discovery. It guides physical, intellectual, and social development. It drives innovation, increases productivity, and contributes to healthier lives. Children playing on playgrounds learn to incorporate found objects and put them to novel uses, develop creative pretend and dramatic play scenarios, and build on the ideas of others. Inventors draw on these same skills to make imaginative and unlikely connections that lead to exciting new products or important medical and technical advances. Collectors play at acquiring their favorite things and, in doing so, help document important cultural trends.

Play is critical to human development

Research proves that play:

-builds ability to solve problems, negotiate rules, and resolve conflicts;

-develops confident, flexible minds that are open to new possibilities;

-develops creativity, resilience, independence, and leadership;

-strengthens relationships and empathy; and

-helps grow strong healthy bodies and reduces stress.

Children who play do better in school and become more successful adults

 Through play children learn to:

-question, predict, hypothesize, evaluate, and analyze;

-form and substantiate opinions; and

-persist through adversity.

Mcdonalds happy mean Kids may or may not be heavy from eating at McDonalds, but it is their parents who take them there and it has nothing to do with the toys. McDonalds should be congratulated for including toys and encouraging kids to play. It benefits us all short term and long term. They should add them to the adult meals.

4 thoughts

  1. If the alternative is wasting plastic and other resources by throwing away a toy that has the potential to find a home with a family that has different criteria for what makes a good plaything than mine has, then I’m going to choose to pass the toy along to Goodwill or our local second-hand resale shop where other families can look at it and decide for themselves whether to buy it or not.
    During the times when I am buying toys for children in need that will be given directly to these kids, what I think is best for them is to receive exactly the same high-quality toys that encourage open-ended play that I would buy for my own children.

  2. Renee,
    So you believe its best for the charity kids to get your discarded toys that you claim are “are not of great quality and not something we’d like to have in our playroom”
    What a roll model for your kids.

  3. Hi Mary! I don’t think the problem that parents and experts like Dr. Susan Linn (from Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood) have with toys in a Happy Meal is exposing kids to toys and play (although Dr. Susan Linn and the CCFC did recently target some Fantastic Four Happy Meal toys as too violent for kids; all the way back to her appearances on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Susan Linn has been a proponent of gentle and nurturing free and open-ended imaginative play) as that McDonald’s is taking advantage of kids’ love of toys to lure them into eating junk food. It’s the bad food that is the issue, not the toys. I think people want to take the toys out of Happy Meals so kids will have a weaker motivation to eat fast food. And yes, many parents feed kids fast food for reasons of convenience, but I can recall many times from my childhood when we begged my poor mother to take us to McD’s to collect Disney figurines (sometimes visiting multiple franchises to collect all four), so I’m sure there are many parents that do end up having their kids eat fast food specifically to get the toys. Personally, as a parent, whenever we do end up getting our children fast food meals as a treat, we secretly remove the toys before handing the food to the kids and donate the toys to charity so our kids do not know that the possibility of getting toys from these places exists (and honestly, the toys are not of great quality and not something we’d like to have in our playroom).

  4. All right Mary, I will play the Devil’s advocate… McDonald’s is in the business of making money, not providing play things to kids, to think otherwise is giving them way to much credit in my humble opinion.
    First off… McDonald’s is the largest producer of toys in the world, bigger than Hasbro or Mattel… I am searching my memory… is there some time tested favorite toy that has ever come out of that paper bag? Something that you say, “Wow, that is a unique and memorable plaything, powered by imagination!”
    I think not, in fact, I would submit that their legacy is one of exactly the opposite… disappointing,. licensed garbage that breaks quickly or sparks no imagination. But it does serve a purpose, it builds a consumer habit, one they know will last into adulthood and that is why they put the toys out their for children….future customers, not a commitment to play.
    Perhaps I am jaundiced from literally watching a human feeding frenzy (feeding on the greed of a toy you could sell on ebay, not food) as I witnessed well over fifty, otherwise sane people, buy happy Meals and throw the entire meal into the garbage to get the most successful toy in McDonald’s history, the Ty Beanie baby promotion of the late 1990’s. I watched hundreds of meals go into the trash in a country where many kids go to bed hungry. To be fair, they did change their policy.
    Look Mary,I love the idea and I wish they were committed to toys and games…let’s look at the evidence…Right now, the greatest game evver, Monopoly, is being “played” at McDonald’s… does it inspire thought? getting together with friends? strategy? risk and reward? Nah… just google it to find out the hot property for the big mega prize and in the mean time win a free apple pie, which brings you back to buy another meal around the free cheap pie… gee where did all these adults get that consumer habit?
    Food for thought…

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