I just think its ironic when parents think they are helping their children by getting them these "educational" toys and think they are helping their kids get "smarter". Have they been to a public school in the last 10 years? Because they dont want to make anyone feel like they aren't as smart as someone else they make everyone dumb. Seriously making your kid the smartest 1st grader in the world wont mean anything by the time they are in fifth grade as they will have been "dumbed down" so that everyone can keep up.
I also see these "early learning systems" as a warning that we should all be look at. If we have no faith in the education system to take these children and teach them so we go out and buy stuff to teach them at home doesnt that tell us something. People buy these things but when it comes time to raise taxes to pay for improvements to schools they vote them down. I dont want this to turn into a debate on taxes so please dont make it one, I am just pointing out the strange ways people prioritize things.
Oh and for McD. toy, well only in the fattest nation on earth were 2/3 of our adults are overweight would a toy that advocates eating extremely fattening food seem like a good idea. Do I think it will convince kids to want to eat at McD's well, no they all pretty much already want to due to the advertising on TV and our general culture of eating more is better. I find all of these toys McD's one and the early learning system an indication that we need to take a serious look at our culture and consider changing it.