Fatherly Podcast Episode 34: What’s With All the Plastic Kid Crap?

Most of the stuff that we buy for children is ugly. Why? Can we do better? Is all the plastic really necessary?

To be a parent is to be constantly assaulted by piss-poor design decisions made by the thousands of industrial designers in the molded plastic game. Why does product design for children focus on the shiny, the bright, the plastic, and the cheap? Because parents like you buy the stuff. Must it be so? Absolutely not, but, again, parents like you buy the stuff. What’s the better way forward? Stop buying the damn stuff.

Get better stuff from better people. Move past the Toys ‘R’ Us aesthetic. Get real.

The good news for parents is that there are amazing designs for kids available in modern environments. Curious to investigate, Fatherly Podcast host Joshua David Stein put together a round table at CAMP, New York’s first experiential toy store (depending on how you felt about F.A.O. Schwartz) with Mark Riegelman, perhaps the most bad-ass playground designer currently working, Alexandra Lange, author of The Design of Childhood, and Ben Kaufman, CAMP’s founder. The spoke about how the people who make and sell things for kids can do better — and about the few outstanding designers that are making kids stuff acceptable again.