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The 15 Most Irritating Children's Games And Toys

10/10/2014 17:51 | Updated 22 May 2015

Children Playing Games

If you've bought any of these as presents for your children, you really should keep the receipt...

1. Mouse Trap

The box promises that a Sunday afternoon spent with Mouse Trap will be both "crazy" and "all-action". Bitter experience tells us there's an hour-long assembly process, the cage is a hair-trigger nightmare, the ball always goes down the sink, and you will end up screaming hot spittle of frustration into your child's face. The kind of Christmas present that attics were invented for.

2. Domino Rally

With the precision of a surgeon and the patience of the Dalai Lama, you've laid your trail over the ramp, around the dinosaur and through the goldmine. Typically, that's when the cat clatters in, leaving you to watch the morning's work go up in smoke while your child wails disconsolately in your ear.

3. Play-Doh

It's under your fingernails. It's in the grooves of your shoe. It's in the gusset of your child's underpants. However hard or often you hoover, this putty-from-hell will be back to haunt you. And don't even get us started on Moon Sand.

4. Hungry Hippos

Clack-Clack-Clack! All through Christmas Day. Clack-Clack-Clack! It never bloody stops. Clack-Clack-Clack! You honestly don't know how much more you can take. Clack-Clack-Clack! A workman drilling into your head would be less abrasive. Clack-Clack-Clack!

5. Baby Dolls

Just what we all need: an additional baby in the house, screaming, soiling its nappy and charging you four AA batteries every week for the privilege. Here's an idea: if our kids enjoy playing parents so much, why don't they stick their own tea on and take themselves off to bed? We'll be down the pub.

6. Bath Letters

It's bad enough having to collect up the entire 26-letter alphabet after bath-time (with the half-hour hunt for 'K' finally resolved when you spot it stuck to your child's right buttock). It's even worse that after a fortnight in the tub, the letters go black and skanky, like they've been hanging out in a crack den.

7. Furby

A goggle-eyed irritant that looks like the Cookie Monster's scrotum and sounds like a pissed Teletubby, Furby has been making parents climb the walls since 1998. The latest incarnation can "learn and change", and "reacts when you speak to it" – but we've spent the last fortnight threatening it with the tip, and it still won't shut its trap.

8. Doggie Doo

The concept is revolting enough: a sausage dog that fires plastic faeces when you squeeze its lead. But what makes this "hilarious action game" a real dud is that the doo always gets stuck somewhere in the doggie's small intestine, forcing you to rootle around in its arsehole with a biro. Vets make around £44,000 a year for this sort of thing. You've just paid £22.99 for the privilege.

9. Story CDs

Come back, High School Musical and the Chipmunks soundtrack, all is forgiven. Now, your kids take over cross-country car journeys with My Little Pony story discs, read by an out-of-work actress with an American accent so strong it makes your teeth hurt. "When you hear this sound – BING! – you'll know it's time to smash the car stereo with a hammer..."

10. Bubbles

It's hard not to feel a hot flush of resentment at paying three quid for a minature bottle of Fairy Liquid. Plus, after you've been blowing bubbles for five minutes, you'll feel suddenly nauseous and light-headed, get to your feet, and slip over on the wet patch they've left on the lino.

11. Puppet show

Needless to say, for you, the actual theatre is now a distant memory. But roll up, roll up, because your children have wedged an old curtain into the door-frame, and will now perform a meandering half-hour splicing of The Three Bears and Jack & The Beanstalk. If you're really unlucky, they'll charge you a £1 entrance fee and make you play the giant.

12. Painting set

Society says that children should express themselves through art. And so, every three months, you duly grit your teeth, turn off the TV, kit them out in tabards and erect the easel – only to turn around from the kettle and find they've painted their own foreheads. Then they're off, leaving handprints all over the skirting boards and making your house look like the final scene from The Blair Witch Project. Never again.

13. Musical jewellery box

It's just a cute little pink box for keeping hairclips in, right? Don't be fooled. Every time you open the lid, you'll be struck by a chilling burst of the world's most melancholy music, sucking the joy from your heart like a Dementor, and turning your thoughts to death and unfulfilled dreams. Misery in a box.

14. Snakes and Ladders

Or, let's be honest, any board game. No matter how hard you try to contrive a victory for your child, they'll always end up going down a snake, landing on your Park Lane hotel or stabbing the Pop-Up Pirate. Cue screaming fit, 10 minutes on the step and another scuppered Sunday afternoon.

15. Anything that plays music for over five seconds

There are far too many offenders in this category to single out just one toy. After five seconds of tinny, teeth-on-edge music, you can feel your hackles start to rise. After 10 seconds, you're in a sauna of red mist. After 20 seconds, you're ready to go on a killing spree with a Nerf N-Strike Havok Fire. Toy manufacturers, you have blood on your hands...

What would be on your grump list?

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