By Nancy Johnson Horn, Owner and Editor of The Mama Maven Blog
The day before Toy Fair in February I attended a brunch give by Hot Wheels. You may have read about it in some small publications like Business Week or the Today Show’s website. Or even on a humor website (though it was really skewered on it). I think the event has been taken out of context and I’d like to give my own take on this — since I actually was there.
I’ll admit I did bristle for a second when the subject was introduced: that moms may not know how to play with their boys. I know my kids and how to play with them, but I think I can always do better as a parent. So, I decided to listen to what the team from Hot Wheels had to say, instead of getting upset. And the second part made more sense: Mattel wanted to help us figure out why boys do certain things. That’s what resonated with me.
It became clear that it was really a discussion on how moms can really get to know the science and research behind the toys and better ways to play with their child. It wasn’t condescending. Mattel wasn’t telling me I didn’t know my child, even though the topic had been stated wrong at first.
There really was no drama here.
It it was an intelligent discussion and our comments and ideas (yes, we gave ideas too) were listened to. Raijean Stroud of Swa-Rai.com had the idea to do math problems using Hot Wheels Cars as manipulatives. I built on ideas too (I have a masters in early education under my belt and 6 years of classroom experience). My 2 1/2 year old toddler son has a speech delay (over 30%) and barely talks to us, so any insight on him would be appreciated. Any ways to inspire him to talk more would be appreciated. If playing more with a certain toy accomplished that, I’d be pretty happy.
I stand by my quote in Business Week: “If a mom understands how a toy works and what the benefits are, she’s going to go for that brand over a brand that isn’t doing that.”
I took it as we were going to open a discussion about working with our kids and help each other. Matt Peterson, the Vice President of Marketing, Boys Business at Mattel is a dad himself and led a good discussion.
I look forward to see where Hot Wheels and Mattel will go with this. Give it a chance before you pass judgement or start getting upset. If I felt at anytime that my parenting choices or ideas about my children was maligned, I would have left.
So, what do you think?
I was not compensated by Mattel for attending this brunch. I look forward to reading your comments, but please keep them respectful.