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Looking for a gift for a child in your life? You may want to steer clear of a few doozies that have just been named the worst toys of the year.

The annual TOADYs – short for the alarmist-sounding "toys oppressive and destructive to young children" – come courtesy of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

The top pick? An expensive iPad-style tablet for infants, complete with an Itsy Bitsy Spider app.

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Members of the CCFC voted the Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet as the worst of the bunch for its educational sheen.

"While all the choices were horrifying, the Vinci seems the most insidious to me," CCFC member Anne Deyser is quoted as saying of the tablet. "It's likely to convince parents that they are doing something positive for their babies when that couldn't be farther from the truth."

Runners-up included the I Am T-Pain Mic, an auto-tune device that lets kids mimic raunchy rap lyrics, the sexed-up Monster High Ghoul Spirit Fearleading Doll 3-Pack and, well, a Coca Cola-themed Monopoly game.

Oh, we could have come up with a few more worthy contenders, including the plastic dog that poops, so your child can learn to scoop.

And amid the masses of crap toys out there, at least one observer has put her neck out to say maybe the Vinci wasn't the worst, after all.

New York Times blogger KJ Dell'Antonia asks whether the Vinci, "… a mom-designed tablet computer that comes loaded with 'progressive learning content' [is] really that bad?"

Perhaps any promise of learning opportunities is now taboo, after the demise of the Baby Einstein promise. What's more, she writes, spending hundreds of dollars on a baby toy may brand it "as a toy for the 1 per cent. …

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"In fact, there's an argument to be made that the Vinci and its ilk are less commercial than the mainstream tablets any parent who would invest in a Vinci is probably willing to hand to a child: no Dora or Disney princesses at your fingertips in the Vinci, at least."

She would have voted for the T-Pain mike, she says.

Which toy would top your TOADY list? Are there any toys you refuse to have in the house?

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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