Alice in Nurseryland: Weird and Scary Toys in LDS Nurseries

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

We don’t belong to the “leave’m crying” nor the “sneak out when they aren’t paying attention” schools of parenting.  As a result, I spend a lot of time in the nursery with my two-year-old during church on Sunday, even though I am not currently assigned to work in the nursery.  A few years ago, when our older children were this age, my wife and I were called as the nursery leaders.  My parents never did successfully get me to go to nursery as a child, but I have certainly made up for it as an adult.

When my grandfather passed away last year our family held a viewing at the local meetinghouse.  Among the cousins, some of the young parents and their children ended up in the nursery room.  As the kids played, one of the dolls caught my attention.  The scowling face glared fiercely with a look much too mature for its little body.  It was the ugliest doll I had ever seen!  I wish that I had a picture of it.

Let’s face it, there are some bizarre and scary old toys out there, lurking in LDS nursery closets and cupboards.

Just last Sunday I discovered this crazy thing in our ward nursery:


It’s Charles Dodgson’s rendition of doctor Moreau’s combination of the letter ‘A’ with Mr. Happy Bug, wearing the circus tent from Something Wicked This Way Comes and some fashionable blue leg irons welded to some Christmas bells!  All I can say is “Brilliant use of negative space.” (Points to anyone who can tell me why it is a brilliant use of negative space).  Now all we need to do is melt some clocks over it.  I wonder if it is part of a series?

Have you run into any scary or weird toys in your church nursery?  I’m sure you have.  So here is an assignment for this Sunday.  Take your camera or your camera phone to nursery and take a picture of the craziest, ugliest, or scariest toy you find.  Then email them to toys at sixteensmallstones dot org along with your city, state, and any comments.  The best ones (or worst ones!) will be added as updates to this post.

15 thoughts on “Alice in Nurseryland: Weird and Scary Toys in LDS Nurseries

  1. What a great idea for a blog post!

    I enjoyed my time in nursery–the only time I have ever served in the Primary–but was happy to move on when my time came.

    I don’t ever recall seeing anything that fits the bill as “scary” or “odd,” but I will definitely be checking the toys as I drop my daughter off for nursery this Sunday.

  2. Jon, I don’t recall any scary toys in our nursery (and I have a two-year-old there), but I’ll take a look this Sunday.

  3. That toy falls under the “What were they thinking?” category.

    There’s a video series on Youtube called “Fail Toys” by JeepersMedia, with similar bone-headed toys.

  4. When my son Piano Man (now 17) was in nursery, he was attached to a ratty old skunk puppet. Later, during a radical nursery room purging, the beloved skunk puppet was discarded. I found a picture of it’s twin.

    See Here: (link to desktop file removed)

  5. “We don’t belong to the ‘leave’m crying’ nor the ‘sneak out when they aren’t paying attention’ schools of parenting.”

    Can you explain this? I’m currently in senior nursery–perhaps my favorite calling ever, largely due to snack time–and I often want to tell parents just to leave, because 9 out of 10 kids will stop crying in a few minutes and start joining in. And if they don’t, I’ll come get the parent. I exercise this “rip the band-aid off quickly” philosophy with my 18-month boy in junior nursery too.

  6. I can’t answer for JM, but I think there are two kinds of nursery children. Most belong in the above category; but a few come completely unglued and will not be consoled to the point of throwing up. They don’t get over it. I had two of the common variety and two of the lesser category. Hong Mei was just home for CHina and it was not prudent to leave her. Otherwise she would have been in the common category.

    Basically you just have to know your child and pick a philosophy and go with it. Inconsistency makes the situation worse.

  7. I apologize Nessa for insinuating that YOUR skunk puppet was ratty. Your Squeaker was the beautiful sibling compared to a much more “rode hard and put up wet” brother/sister who was the nursery Squeaker. Please accept my deepest apologies in regards to offending you and Squeaker.

  8. Thanks everyone for the comments. Sorry I haven’t had much time to respond.

    @Geoff B. and @BrianDuffin – I wonder if it people in Utah wards are more likely to encounter weird old toys?

    @Bookslinger I guess this is kind of like “Fail LDS Toys”

    @Scott B. I doubt a picture can capture the beast that lurks inside

    @JA Benson As a puppeteer I can tell you that skunk puppets are awesome! However, I’ve found that wide-mouth puppets often scare nursery age children. They like puppets without moving mouths better.

    @Kim Siever – The negative space objservation is not only true but also an obscure reference to a line from a movie in the late 80s’.

    @jimbob I’ve already alienated a good portion of LDS bloggers with my strident religious orthodoxy. I don’t desire to alienate the rest expressing my parenting views. 😉 I think that within reason parents are free to get whatever inspiration they need for the particular needs of their own children. I’ll leave it at that for now.

  9. I wonder if this recent article offers some food for thought on what should be happening in our church nurseries:

    “Your Baby Is Smarter Than You Think” Babies and young children are designed to explore, and they should be encouraged to do so. Children learn more through natural interaction with a parent and play than with any toy.

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