Big Toys For Top Dollar: 5 Reasons People Spoil Their Kids

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2008-06-1751

Big toys for rich, spoiled kids: when a $10,000 kid’s birthday party isn’t enough.

There are few things that are more delightful to parents than to see their kids happy: such as the moment right after the kids receive their toy of choice — a doll house, firetruck or new novelty gadget of the season. And few things are more baffling to parents than to see that same toy discarded after a few hours of play, barely to be picked up again.

Can’t blame the kids really — these days, attention spans are shorter than ever and there’s just too much stimuli going around to keep one’s focus for too long. We grownups may not be helping either, when we’re so indulgent.

Yet the market out there for parents who love to splurge is bigger than ever, fueled by those of us who have a lot of disposable income to throw around. Imagine that you have all the money in the world, or maybe you can just plain afford a few more extras in your life — would you be buying some of these things for your child anyway?

Big Toys For The Kid Who Has Everything

Ferrari Go-Cart, Price: $50,000 at FAO Schwarz

Ferrari Go Cart by FAO Schwarz

This toy car may be a drop in the bucket if you’re a mega-millionaire, but in my estimation, this could very well represent the car budget for a two income family over a span of a decade.


Special Handmade Leather Monopoly Board Game, Price: $5,840

Monopoly Board Game by FAO Schwarz

You want to teach your kid about real estate? I’d go for these alternative real estate gifts 😉 , many of which are conversation starters. Or save $5,810 by picking up a regular Monopoly board game.


Life Size Figures, Price: $5,000 – $50,000

Life-sized replicas? Why would you buy life-sized toy statues? Maybe to fill up a lot of the empty space you’ve got when you live in a mansion. Sure, it may be interesting to have a large batman figure looming over you and keeping you company at home, but wouldn’t it be more fun for a kid to make believe that he’s the super hero instead?

Batman Statue by Sharper Image

This Batman statue retailed at Sharper Image for $5,000. For more outrageous models, check out Robbie the Robot for $49,999 and Lego Batman for $27,000 on CNN Money’s list.


Custom Play Houses, Price: $20,000 and Above

Custom Playhouse

Whatever happened to the humble tree house? Well, it got replaced by the $20,000 – $100,000 luxury custom play house. This may in fact go very well with your custom luxury shed if you want a two for one deal 😉 .


High-End Baby Stroller, Price: $2,000

Bugaboo Stroller

While this custom Bugaboo stroller looks awesome, I was more than happy with my own basic Graeco model, which withstood the test of time and two kids. Plus it only cost me $200. But some others may not think this is good enough for their precious.

New mom Paola Canahuati didn’t bat an eyelash when forking over nearly $1,000 for her Bugaboo stroller. That’s because she believes certain high-end baby gear is worth the price, particularly when the baby is her own precious, albeit oblivious, 13-day-old Aristotles.

“For baby clothes, I’ve tried to be more economical,” says Canahuati, 23, who is currently on maternity leave from her position as a proofreader at the United Nations in New York City. “But when it comes to strollers, changing stations and cribs, I’m willing to spend more. I’m going to be using this stuff for two or three years, and I want the best for my baby boy.”


Fantasy Crib, Price: $15,000

Luxury Baby Crib

Check out this fantasy crib for the most discerning customer; unfortunately, your baby will never remember having stayed in it after they’ve outgrown it. But I have to admit that it looks incredible. Save $14,660 on a basic, $330 alternative. Wait, scratch that. Just get one off Craigslist and get it for half price ($150)!


Hand Made Metal Piggy Bank, Price: $6,000 at FAO Schwarz

Piggy Bank by FAO Schwarz

Welcome to the world of “hogzilla” piggy banks! Now you can really stress the importance of personal finance to your child by making a huge impression with this piggy bank, as featured in CNN Money. 😉 Well, this remains to be seen, actually: instead of spending that dough on this art piece, why not stuff your savings down these more affordable ones?


If you had the money, would you buy any of these items, or anything along these lines? The truth is, many people certainly would! And here’s why:

Why We Spoil Our Kids

1. We feel guilty.
Some of us may feel like we’re not doing a good enough job as parents and thus end up wanting to “make up for it” somehow through other means. Unfortunately, a lot of folks don’t (can’t?) spend enough time with their families and they fill that void by supplying their kids with stuff. It’s a way of assuaging their guilt. But this just adds to the problem in the long run, when kids end up spoiled, lonely and craving attention.

2. To return to our childhood.
How many times do we buy stuff for our kids so that we can relive our childhood? We don’t want to admit this to ourselves but I bet some of us are in this position. Those video game systems and entertainment centers aren’t really entirely for your toddlers are they?

3. We want the “best” for our child.
That’s every parent’s motto — we all want the best for our kid. New parents especially seem to fall into that spell that compels them to over-prepare and go over-budget for their first child. When more children come into the picture, the fuss often dies down. I admit that I was this way a bit with my first-born and when the second one came along, it was all about hand-me-downs. But there are still families that don’t get over the “anything for my child” syndrome.

4. Because we can.
When you’re sitting on a lot of money, you have that problem that the rest of us would like to have: not knowing what to do with it all. And it’s human nature for your appetite to grow in line with your pockets. But it’s one thing to indulge yourself as an adult, and another to project and shower your children with extreme generosity. It’s just too easy to fall into this routine just because we can, being that it’s the path to least resistance.

In my opinion, kids are naturally “unspoiled”: it’s often the case that I see children prefer to play with low cost toys vs their more expensive counterparts. Wouldn’t it have been great if we could have all grown up preserving these views? But life isn’t that simple.

5. It’s become a negotiating tactic.
How do you shape your child’s behavior? For most of us, it’s through some combination of discussion, reward and punishment. But our methods are as diverse as we all are, and rewards can span the range of expensive to excessive, for those of us who can afford it.


If you’re like most parents, then you’ve occasionally splurged on stuff for your kids (and you’ll keep on doing so for a while). We all do it because we love our kids and enjoy seeing them thrilled. It only becomes an issue when we go overboard with addressing our children’s every desire, as the actions we show them through their formative years end up shaping, influencing and affecting their behaviors as adults. Whatever we buy them as kids will surely haunt them (for better or for worse) when they’re older. It’s also quite likely that whatever attitude we have over money and spending will transfer over to our kids as well.

I’m not one to say how you should or should not parent your child as we all have different parenting philosophies and styles that govern the way we raise our kids. Ultimately though, despite all the parenting theories that abound, I personally always fall back on common sense. And common sense tells me that most everything should be in moderation: including spending, splurging and spoiling. As for saving? Well that’s another story 🙂 .

Copyright © 2008 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Luke @ Money & Fitness Blog June 17, 2008 at 8:59 am

Is this a joke:
Custom Play Houses, Price: $20,000 and Above

The best part about this is that I knew someone who recently purchased a house in a very small town in the Midwest for 22,000. Why not buy the kid a real house?

You used so many great examples that I really can’t pick just one.

Silicon Valley Blogger June 17, 2008 at 9:05 am


I was amazed how authentic some of these custom play houses are. It’s insane, but this type of thing I can imagine sitting on some tycoon’s multi-acre property somewhere… along with the barn, fancy shed, cabana, guest house, etc. etc. Ah what money can buy I guess! I’ve never seen anything like this, though a playground structure would’ve been more useful I think…

jim June 17, 2008 at 10:11 am

When I have kids, I’m going to negotiate with a big stick, not a Ferrari. 🙂

Silicon Valley Blogger June 17, 2008 at 10:21 am


You have the wisdom of someone who has 10 (children that is). 😉 Good for you! lol.

Frugal Dad June 17, 2008 at 10:37 am

Unreal! That custom playhouse would make a nice home office, though!

I think you are right on with guilt being a major factor. Many parents are pulled away from their kids because of careers, social activities, etc, so they compensate by buying them whatever they want (and then some!).

Momma June 17, 2008 at 10:46 am

I have to admit, with 3 pre-teen/teen girls in the house nonstop, I’d shell out the $2,000 for the playhouse, if they take the phone with them!

Great post 🙂

Momma June 17, 2008 at 10:49 am


I disagree. That playhouse just as likely sitting out in front of someone’s double wide, eating up 18% interest on a credit card somewhere, because someone has a grandbaby that loves to visit. Give The Millionaire Next Door a read. It’s the tycoons that are the least likely to have those kinds of toys.

Steward @ My Family's Money June 17, 2008 at 12:31 pm

What I am wondering is how I can start charging people $5,000 for a life-sized statue of me. I’m strong, like justice, and am mysterious – same as Batman. I guess the only difference is that I’m real and don’t have people like Christian Bale trying to act like me … even though I sent him like 5 emails asking him too.

But seriously, its high time I found a way to profit out of this type of craziness.

Peter Carter June 17, 2008 at 12:42 pm

I’m with Momma. Wonder what the credit crunch is doing for sales of Porsches to those people who use their mortgages like lottery wins?

Those gifts are just vulgar really.

fathersez June 18, 2008 at 12:30 am

People do live in different worlds, don’t they.

My children would have had no inkling that there were “toys” like those that you have listed. There may be other kids who only know toys like these. Different worlds.

I suppose when you earn a gazillion a year, you have to find ways to spend them. I am still at the thousands….perhaps after another couple of centuries ….

jim June 18, 2008 at 4:34 am

Hahaha, I dunno about 10, don’t jinx me. 🙂

Luke @ Money & Fitness Blog June 18, 2008 at 8:46 am

I would hope that someone would not be dumb enough to put something like that on a credit card. However, I am sure it happens.

As Silicon Valley Blogger mentioned, I assumed it would be on a property that has everything for someone who is ridiculously rich. Maybe like an NBA player or a rock star.

Ethan June 18, 2008 at 8:48 am

One of the best explanations I’ve heard is this: people naturally take a lot of responsibility for the happiness of their children, especially early in life. There are so many things that they depend on us for that, obviously, we have to be responsive to a lot of their needs and desires. But we must realize that, like all other humans on the planet, our children’s happiness is ultimately their *own* responsibility.

Sentient Money June 18, 2008 at 9:41 am

Those “necessites” are pretty disgusting. To me the high end stroller is the most disgusting, because anyone buying a Ferrari go-cart or $20k play house probably has it to burn. However, the high end stroller is marketed in a way to suggest you aren’t a good parent if you don’t buy it. Well, it would appear that the survival rate of infants not in a Bugaboo stroller is pretty high. We are all alive aren’t we?

Goran web design June 22, 2008 at 3:21 am

Well if you have the money, then spoil the kids, NOT, and if you dont want to spend time with the kids, build them there own house.

Claudine June 29, 2008 at 11:54 am

I teach high school, so this list explains a lot. I’m glad to be on summer vacation; that’s for sure.

jake @ designer diaper bags July 1, 2008 at 9:46 am

My personal belief is that parents who over-indulge their kids are making up for the fact that they can’t spend enough time with them.

Erica July 7, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Okay, the custom playhouse is pretty freaking sweet. (That said, I would never ever waste that much money on something so frivolous.)

I buy my son things he’ll like – bigger is not always better. Then again, my son is only two right now.

lamia July 31, 2008 at 9:47 pm

my daddy said hes gonna buy me the leather monopoly thingy majigy

Silicon Valley Blogger July 31, 2008 at 9:52 pm

What a nice daddy you must have! 😉

Bible Crafts for Kids August 8, 2008 at 2:54 pm

I am completely against spoiling my kids. I see all the stuff people purchase for their kids and it bothers me. There is no reason for anyone to have all that junk. Personally I make my kids educated themselves by doing educational kids crafts.

Pelletter August 29, 2008 at 3:19 am

I’m against spoiling your kids, but that doesn’t mean when the time or occasion comes along, you should neglect them. Instead of giving them presents and ‘Big Toys’, why not spend big on a birthday party or themed party instead? At least that way you have more of a reason to spoil them then random presents and gifts!

Silicon Valley Blogger August 29, 2008 at 8:04 am


I think big parties are an even worse idea than “big toys”. The experience lasts a few hours and you’re out several grand. What’s the point?

If you’re really eager to spend, then do it at your wedding, for that once-in-a-lifetime party of your life. But even the costs of a wedding make me bristle…. 😉

annakat August 30, 2008 at 11:01 am

I don’t think we buy these expensive items with the child in mind, I think we buy these expensive items for ourselves. Small children would be just as happy with a cheaper playhouse, or car. It’s either we want to exploit our wealth, build up our self esteem, we need an lobotomy, or we are trying to buy our kids love by getting them the most expensive car. Which will not work with a child. They love you for yourself and the quality time spent together, not what you buy them.

Silicon Valley Blogger August 30, 2008 at 11:52 am


You know — your comment struck a chord in me. It is quite common for people to buy stuff not for the child but for themselves: I so agree! I know someone who did not have a toy-filled childhood and now as an adult, I can see that this person is more than making up for what they missed as a child. My friend has a fascination for children’s toys and other things you’ll simply dismiss as clutter or space wasters (cute plush toys, for instance). I don’t fault her — she enjoys these things. We all have our vices.

But I can see how one’s past can easily haunt you in this case. Deprivation and over-indulgence are twin scenarios that may affect how we spend when we are finally able to make the money to buy whatever we want.

chicco safety March 20, 2009 at 1:38 am

Those toys are really expensive! Kids with those kinda toys are so lucky to have them!

Rokia March 22, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Wow, so expensive! Yeah, I agree, deprivation can cause you frustration… But it’s fine, as long as you can now afford it and you are happy with it… 😀

Jane Powertwin May 6, 2009 at 3:34 am

Expensive toys for kids can have an adverse affect on kids as they grow up. Having such high expectations from such an early age is not good unless it’s coupled with some sound parenting, telling the kids that these luxuries come at a price. Unfortunately this is how many kids are spoiled and as the grow up they expect ‘something for nothing’.

Claire- Kids Toy Guru June 2, 2009 at 8:26 am

Expensive toys indeed can bring adverse effect to a kid once they have grown up, not to mention that they will become a spoiled brat and likely will want everything they see even though its not that important. And its not right for parents to bribe their kids, because time will come that in everything they do they will require something in return. There are toys that are reasonably priced yet it will bring positive effects to a kid’s personality development. I really believe that toys help kids develop in so many ways and can also strengthen the parent child bond.

shreder August 27, 2009 at 7:38 pm

5000$!!! FOR A MONOPOLY SET!?!?!?!

Dave August 28, 2009 at 11:44 am

These are beyond the top 10 children’s toys. I’ve seen my nieces and nephews get extremely expensive toys as well, but in the end, they ended up playing with the boxes they came in instead. Children like to use their imagination if they are permitted to. Toys should encourage the use of imagination.

Quatinn October 2, 2009 at 2:02 pm

People that say they want the best for their child and spend ludicrous amounts of money on toys aren’t really thinking. They’re going to have the dullest most boring average children in the world. The best toys for kids are the ones that allow your child creativity such as play-doh or even something as simple as a cardboard box. Not a fancy laptop that does all of the imagining for them.

AHaugh November 10, 2009 at 2:29 am

Expensive toys don’t always provide kids with the most fun. In fact I’ve seen kids at Xmas get more fun from the colourful wrapping around their present than the actual present itself. Go figure!

Quatinn December 14, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Whatever happened to the days of Play-doh? When a little bit of clay or some crayons were enough?

Doug December 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm

some great comments posted here!

I think that instead of spoiling kids with material possessions, spoiling them with our time is the most rewarding. I know there are some pretty rich kids out there who had everything growing up, but because their parents are always working, the thing they wished for most was simply their parents’ time. I know that growing up, simply playing catch with my dad in the backyard was more rewarding that any material possessions.

but $5000 for a monopoly set ?!??!!? WTF ? If you’ve got that much money, you might just as well buy the actual properties 🙂

Khe January 16, 2010 at 10:25 am

My kids love ferrari toys. My son has a collection of 280+ models of ferrarri car toys in his room.

Jim Series February 26, 2010 at 7:53 pm

The same people who buy these toys for their children indulge themselves with ridiculous priced cars and houses. So 20G here and 30G there for some toys is almost meaningless. Children look at their parents.

Brian Robert February 27, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I think it’s also because some people want to give their kids what they never had as a child — I grew up very very poor living in Chino, CA and now I live in Bel-Air and I gave my kids a $100,000 dollar playhouse because my family couldn’t afford it! My son has that Ferrari Go-Kart at the top!

Clark May 2, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Unbelievable prices for items the kid will quickly outgrow. But I suppose if you have millions it really isn’t an issue.

Roxie Boyd June 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Dang, I can’t believe all this negatively about people buying their kids expensive toys. Are you all jealous or what? Kids are meant to be spoiled. Doesn’t mean they will be brats. Kids learn by example anyway.

And no, I did not grow up rich, and I wasn’t rich while I was raising my son either, but I spoiled the heck out of him. Bought him home toys all the time. I still have just about every toy I ever bought him. I am going to make sculptures with them someday.

It is a great opportunity to have a second childhood.

Aziz October 8, 2010 at 8:33 am

That piggy bank is ridiculous. I would rather have the 6 grand to put in a 5 dollar piggy bank!! Makes more sense anyway.

I hate the whole guilt thing when it comes to material items. It is just like at Christmas. For the most part people buy Christmas presents even when they are dirt poor because they feel guilty. A lot of people get in debt too. For me I don’t buy presents. Spending time with family and playing are all that matter. You don’t need lots of things to play just an imagination. My son loves playing with card board boxes and his cousins.

The negotiating reason is just really lazy.

James Burden May 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Jim could you fix it for me to have a go cart ferrari?


Momofthree June 5, 2011 at 11:02 am

@Roxie Boyd,
I can build the playhouse for a couple hundred, they don’t need a CAR at two years of age, and NO I am not “jealous” of you, I am appalled that YOUR brat will probably be the girl who makes fun of other little girls for wearing “Walmart clothes” and will probably get her butt handed to her in college when everyone gets tired of the crap. Just because you CAN, doesn’t always mean you SHOULD…! Chew on it for a while.

Leapfrog Leappad November 15, 2011 at 12:44 am

I can’t believe the Canahuati woman spent all that dough on a baby buggy. Mind you, she does work for the U.N.

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