Click photo to enlarge
(photo Jacqueline Ramseyer/SVCN/December 19, 2011) A stack of toys sit at Sacred Heart Community Service waiting to be picked up by parents this week during SHCS's Holiday Food and Toy Program distribution.

If you watch the CrossFit Games on ESPN2 in July, you may be surprised to encounter a toy commercial. WOD Toys will advertise its line of mini Crossfit products that help promote a healthy and fit lifestyle. The company has the right idea.

Major toy companies should follow suit. When you watch a toy commercial, what kinds of toys do you generally see? Toys that promote a physically active lifestyle for children? No. Most TV-advertised toys require no form of physical activity. For example, dolls, action figures, Legos, silly putty, board games, and castles all remain stationary. Some will argue that these toys spark children's creative and critical-thinking juices. I agree. However, children sit on the floor with those kinds of toys doing the same thing over and over. I see my 5-year-old niece doing this for hours as she plays with her princesses.

Children sit around for hours with these toys because that is how they are to be played with. Think about Legos and Lincoln Logs. Sit and build, sit and build. Lincoln logs and Legos are not going to get up and run away with your children.

As a collegiate athlete who is currently training to make a push for the professional level, I wish television advertised toys that could have helped my physical fitness when I was younger. Even though I was a first-team all-league safety at the University of San Diego last season, maybe I would have been an all-league safety at a well-known football university like Cal or Stanford if I hadn't played with my remote-control car so much as a young boy.


Advertisement

Maybe I would have gotten drafted rather than doing workout after workout, trying to get my foot in the door. If that remote-control car wasn't the most-advertised toy on television at the time, I would have never asked my mom to buy it for me. That car sure got a lot of exercise and reached it's full potential until its battery died, but I wasn't moving much.

Imagine walking through a toy store. Do you go into a toy store with your child not knowing what they want? I would argue that most of the time you know exactly what they want. If you didn't, you may be in there for hours and leave with three carts full of toys. You know it because your child saw it on television. You walk past thousands of toys and go directly to the one they wanted. Did you notice the Fisher Price basketball hoops, T-ball sets, golf sets, roller blades, original Big Wheel racers, jump ropes or bicycles? Probably not. They aren't advertised on television, so your children don't ask for them. While you were focused on getting that action figure advertised on television, you passed toys that help your children stay healthy.

Advertising toys that promote exercise and fitness would please a future father like myself who plans to have children soon. I don't want my children cooped up for hours with toys they saw on television that put them in a position to be lazy. If toy companies won't do it, parents should throw toys in front of their children that encourage exercise. Every child may not want to be a professional athlete or even to participate in organized sports, but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy playing with those kinds of toys. Help your children reach their full potential by getting them toys that get them outside running around.

Joey York is a senior at the University of San Diego, where he played football. He attended College Park High School and is from Walnut Creek.