Big Question: My parents always give my children battery-operated toys, how can I discourage this?
I am no fan of battery-operated toys, so I understand your concerns. As for communicating your preferences to well-meaning gift-givers, you can offer the following two reasons why there are better toy alternatives. First of all, battery-operated toys do not provide opportunities for open-ended play; they usually can only be used in one way and do not tap into a child's imagination or problem-solving abilities.
Better to choose blocks, legos, or other manipulatives such as Magna-tiles which provide endless hours of play that does promote creativity and problem-solving.
Secondly, battery-operated toys require batteries which are expensive and hard to recycle, which is bad for the environment.
Good luck diplomatically delivering this message. And in the meantime, try to model more imaginative play for your child by incorporating the mechanized toys into more creative play with other dolls and toys.