Some Toys for Children Discourage Reading, Promote Early Sexuality; TRUCE Lists Toys of Value and Toys to Avoid in Annual Selection Guide

Nov 18, 2011, 18:51 ET from Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment (TRUCE)

BOSTON, Nov. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  Some highly touted toys for children this holiday season  discourage reading and creative play, as well as promote violence and early sexuality, according to the Annual Toy Selection Guide prepared by TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment).

"Parents need to carefully evaluate the toys they purchase for their children. While many promote healthy play there are a number of toys on the market that are harmful to a child's development," said Diane E. Levin, a co-founder of TRUCE and professor of education at Wheelock College.

"Books linked to electronics, masquerading as toys, teach children to expect books to entertain and undermine their ability to learn how to make meaning out of pictures and print. These are vital aspects of learning to read," she said.

"Other toys encourage children to imitate what they see on the screen instead of using their own ideas and imagination."

The grassroots organization's 2011-12 guide released today ( lists a number of toys that, TRUCE says, are of value as well as ones to avoid.  Among those toys that TRUCE recommends that parents should not purchase:

  • Monster High Dolls (Mattel). The dolls have "dangerously thin bodies and high provocative attire that normalize eating disorders and early sexuality."
  • Disney Fairies Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Play-a-Sound Book (Publications International).  This book for toddlers "promotes gender stereotypes and an early interest in media characters."

Among the toys recommended by TRUCE:

  • Crepe Rubber Puzzle (Lauri). The rubber shapes fit together to form a puzzle, "supporting fine motor development."
  • Tub Puppets (Rich Frog).  These finger puppets for the bathtub "allow children to make up their own stories."

TRUCE, founded 15 years ago, is composed of a national group of educators "deeply concerned about how children's entertainment and toys affect the play and behavior of children in their classrooms."

The guide can be downloaded free at TRUCE does not receive any corporate support.  The organization's funding primarily comes from actor Matt Damon.

Contact:  Diane Levin, Wheelock College, 617-879-2167,

SOURCE Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment (TRUCE)