Bear’s Saturday Mornings: Turbo Toy Time

Welcome to Bear’s Saturday Mornings. In this weekly segment I take a look at shows or movies my son (nicknamed Bear) has discovered on his own. Much like I still have nostalgia over He-Man, GI Joe, and the like these are the things that will resonate with him all his life.

Today is another YouTube series.

Turbo Toy Time features a father and son opening up toys and playing with them. The dad, Andy, usually controls the flow of the videos. He sets up the camera for either his POV or to get both of them in the shot. Andy appears to choose the toys and have everything set up before his son is in the room. The son, Ryden, comes running in the room or has some dramatic move to start the videos.

Every kind of toy from the last couple years has been featured at some point in the series. Legos, blind bags, games, Imaginext.  If your child is 8 and under, you’ll be familiar with every toy on here.

There’s a lot of good in the videos. The emphasis is on play. Quick cuts so everything is constantly exciting and interesting. Andy and Ryden play thoroughly with everything. By the time the video is over any parent would look like a hero playing with the same toy at home. You’ll know every trick and cool idea for the toy. Your kid doesn’t need to know the idea came from elsewhere.

The play room looks massive. I don’t know if it actually is, or the camera angles make it appear so. Either way this room which has no bed and is clearly a play room is larger than my bedroom. Sometimes their play spreads through the entire house and everything looks immaculate. No sign of being lived in. No pictures on the walls. No art. Other than the play room the rest of the house doesn’t look like at least a father and son live there, it looks like a realtor is about to show it off. Big open areas with lots of potential for a family.

It is possible the minimalist attitude shown in the videos extends to the rest of the house. See, when Andy and Ryden are done playing with a toy Andy reminds Ryden and the viewer that the toy is about to be donated. That’s right. These toys are just for the videos not for a 5-6 year old to actually keep. Yes, there are some toys that always show up in the background of the toy room. I guess these are a few he’s allowed to keep for favorite or sentimental reasons. The kid has plenty of toys. Most kids do. But most kids don’t have dad bringing brand new expensive toys into the house every week, and making money off the hundreds of thousands of hits. Maybe dad is a realist. Teaching his child of the bait and switch he’ll discover when he’s older and enters the work force.

Charity and donation are great causes. Anyone who has and is willing to give something to those that have not should feel good about it. Teaching this to a child is a great way to build a caring adult. But there’s a difference between doing a good deed and telling everyone you did a good deed. Something about mentioning the donation at the end of every video makes it feel less genuine. As if the donation is only done in order to receive compliments for the act. By no means do I think he’s a bad person or disingenuous. There’s just something in the way this comes across that bothers me. Maybe it’s my fault for watching so many of these videos in a row.

The point may be to send a message to young impressionable kids. Much like Sesame Street, Mr Rogers and the rest of PBS taught me. This may be his way to teach the new generation. I applaud that effort but it’s not landing. Bear told me, “we don’t donate our toys. We keep them. Except the ones that don’t work. And are broken.”

I mean, he’s not wrong. A couple times a year the family goes through things to make room. But when daddy can’t get rid of quarter bin comics or 1980’s action figures missing paint it’s hard to teach a child to do better.

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