The disposable travel toy hall of fame

Destined for the dump.

Destined for the dump.

My name is Matt Villano, and I’m a travel toy waster. Sometimes on family vacations I buy toys with the express intention of throwing them out when the kids are finished. And I don’t really care how wasteful that sounds.

I know, y’all—I’m a certifiable lunatic for doing this. And I’m certain all of this waste is not great for the environment. But I’m willing to bet hundreds of thousands of parents do the same thing, too.

Especially at the beach.

For us, perhaps the most egregiously disposable toys have been the sand-toy sets that we purchase during our annual Hawaii trip (which we’re on right now). The sets are pretty elaborate—each has a bucket and a variety of shovels and other digging implements. Still, because the toys get so sandy and because they’re bulky as all hell, we never actually take them on the plane with us back to the mainland.

It’s not like we just throw them out; on most visits, we find another family with young children and had it over to them.

Still, we buy them. And we don’t use them once our vacation is over. We are wasters.

The sand toy sets aren’t the only demonstration of this bad example; we’ve had other “vacation toys” that we have disposed of during previous vacation, too. Across the board, these have been toys that—for whatever reason—“have decided” to “stay” in our destinations when we’re ready to leave. Among them: A die-cast airplane set to pass a rain delay at SFO; a deck of San Francisco landmark playing cards, a redwood seedling from Disneyland, and little pocket-sized packets for markers and other writing implements.

I’m sure this list will grow exponentially with my experiences as a parent. In the scheme of vices, I guess this issue could be a lot worse.

What are some of your favorite disposable travel toys?

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