I’ve been wondering something since spring has hit and I find myself with a toddler. You know those horribly ugly plastic disasters that dot the yards of families with small children? Do kids actually EVER play on those things??

Because I see those toys all over our neighborhood, at daycare centers, in backyards, in front yards. I think they are extremely tacky. Those toys are one of a few (ok, many) things that, BC (before child) I SWORE I would never, ever own. (Also on that list were things such as kiddie window shades for the car; and a minivan. So far so good with following through on this list.) But now, I’ve been considering acquiring one of these plastic monstrosities in the hopes that something like that may keep Ryan occupied for more than a few minutes while we’re outdoors. Because right now when we go outside, he wants to participate in activies such as “pick the flowers off of mommy’s plants”, “eat sand”, and “crawl over anthills in the sidewalk.” But with a plastic toy strategically placed in the front yard, I’m sure Ryan would find hours of endless enjoyment out of climbing on and exploring such a structure.

Or NOT. Because in all my years as a person on this earth, and most recently as a very observant parent, I don’t believe I have EVER seen a child playing on one of these toys. And I’ve been looking, let me tell ya. We go on no fewer than three walks a day around here, and there is quite a high percentage of yards in our neighborhood that contain these play structures. And I have never once seen a kid using them. And it’s not because when I go for a walk all of the kids are napping, or at preschool, or asleep for the night. Because we walk at all times of the day, when potential for toddlers playing outside on an entertaining yard toy would be high. One day I even considered walking around with my camera and taking a picture of each ignored play item, but then I thought better of that, guessing that someone might mistake me as the neighborhood kook.

So I’ll just poll y’all in the blog world instead. What do you think- should I get my hands on one of these sliders/climbers/cube-house things? Would my 13-month-old high-energy highly curious son play on it? Or would it just sit there in the yard, collecting proverbial dust? Do any of you actually own any of these structures? If so, do your kids use them? If so, how frequently? If so, how many months past the age of 13 months did your children use them?