Why is it that toys can't just be toys? What's wrong with saying that your toddler is going to enjoy wacking away at this hammer and peg toy so much he'll leave you alone for long enough to check your email and maybe even respond to one or two of them? Is it wrong to play with something that won't make your child the next Einstein?
My toys are for fun. They are just something to play with. They won't promote hand-eye coordination. They are not "design inspired to enhance child development during these years." They won't teach your child how to be a genius or a builder or a cook. You don't need toys for that sort of thing. What you need is time.
You need time, and your child needs time. Your child needs time to play without you trying to teach her things or "stimulate" her imagination or compliment her on how wonderful her block stacking skills are coming along. He needs time without the TV telling him what to do. You need time to just be together so you can answer her questions and be a safety net. You need time so that your child(ren) can have time to play uninterrupted without being dragged around in the car to a hundred different stores, appointments, lessons, games, and everything else.
Toys don't really promote playing. When given time, children will play with anything. That's what they are programmed to do. Don't get me wrong. I love toys, but they aren't particularly important to your child's development. Time and freedom are what is most important.
When I buy toys, I don't buy them in order to enhance my son's development. I only buy toys made of natural materials: wood, cotton, wool, metal, etc. (my brothers and I saved all our Legos, so I never have to buy them). And I buy them according to the multi-use principle. How much play value do they have? How many different uses does this toy have? How many different scenarios could played out with this one toy? If part of it breaks, can I fix it? How is this going to look in 5, 10, 20 years? (That's why I make primarily unpainted toys, because painted toys get chipped, smeared and otherwise look dingy after a few years.)
Anyway, that was my rant about the toymaking industry. My message to every parent, aunt, uncle, and granparent is this: Don't buy toys to "educate" the children. Buy them according to their play value.