Since I rarely watch live TV (thanks DVR!) I hardly ever see a commercial. Not so this weekend. This weekend I have seen the commercial for “Waverly’s Magic Seashell” at least a million times.
Waverly’s Magic Seashell is a new toy for girls. Waverly doesn’t do anything upon (adult) assembly of her Magic Seashell besides sit in a swing. But when you insert the “magic pearl” into a ring (included) and insert the ring into the Magic Seashell, Waverly’s world lights up and she tells you a secret. “Okay,” I thought, “now we’re getting somewhere!” But then the “secrets” turned out to be stuff like, “I am the fastest swimmer in the sea!” and “My favorite snack is sea-weed!”
This toy exists to use batteries and to get you to buy more “magic pearls.” Waverly’s Magic Seashell costs approximately $40 and comes with one pearl. Additional pearls cost approximately $10. If your daughter wants to know more secrets, she has to “collect” more pearls, just like Waverly and her friends, who apparently spend all day racing around the ocean on their seahorses and flying fish searching for these pearls to decorate themselves and their surroundings. Sometimes they play “volleypearl!” Gag. This toy doesn’t even have a cool story behind it! The more pearls your kid “collects,” the more “secrets” she gets to hear about Waverly and her friends.
Waverly and her friends are like…the Spice Girls of the sea. They’ll tell you what they want, what they really really want — if you’ve got the cash for pearls. (Playa!) The problem is that nothing they say or want is interesting or meaningful.
This is quite possibly one of the lamest toys/concepts I have ever seen, and why anyone would buy it for their daughter is beyond me. It upsets me to imagine what sort of kid sees this commercial and asks for/demands this toy, then pearls, batteries, more pearls and more batteries — and gets them. Until they forget all about it, which I guarantee will happen no more than 5 minutes after you refuse to purchase more pearls, or there are no more pearls to “collect.” After all, what’s the fun of hearing their “secrets” again? It wasn’t even fun the first ‘go round! If your daughter is really little, and convinced that she is missing out on magical under-the-sea “secrets” if she does not get ahold of Waverly’s Magic Seashell at once, take her to the store and let her push the “try me” button until her little heart is content. Then redirect her to some cool toys, if you can find them. I recommend reading stories together, or getting some art supplies and encouraging/helping them draw/create their own undersea mermaid world and give them COOL secrets, or take your little girly-girl to the craft store and get some pearls, etc. to make jewelry/decorations at home.
The best toy is the key chain, not the actual key. Imagination is the key to play, which is the key to social, emotional, and cognitive development. Play matters. There’s a lot more to it than most people are aware. When I was a little girl, and Skeletor rolled up on my Barbie McDonalds with Beastman and Whiplash, I didn’t understand that play was practice for real-life. I was too busy defending the lunch crowd against the onslaught of the Evil Lord of Destruction. My point is that it really does not require an understanding of child development to understand that Waverly’s Magic Seashell is lame. Just common sense. What do you want your daughter to know/understand about the world, and how would you like her to come by that understanding? Think about it.