Think Outside the Gender Toy Box

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I’ve always tried to give my children toys that are gender neutral, especially as babies and toddlers. Partly this is by accident; there is nothing inherently gendered about many fantastic baby toys, including stacking rings, farm animal sets, building blocks, and textured books. Partly it’s by design; as a gender studies major, I had strong beliefs about not gendering my children’s play, especially with my eldest.

But the gendered toys do happen, and thus we’ve accumulated “boy toys” over the years for Travis: cars and trucks, big construction vehicles, and action figures (oh boy the action figures).

Today, I let Veronika have at this “boy” play bin! Not only was this a fantastic way to swap up her toys (something I recommend regularly in any playroom), but Veronika had no idea the toys were gendered and was quite simply thrilled to have her brother’s things. As an eleven-month-old just starting to enjoy imaginative play, it’s a great time for a swap like this.

First up, lots of vrooming! Veronika likes to scoot boxes or toy telephones around on the floor with a “vvvv” sound, so I knew these would be a hit.

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No sooner did I place down a police car and firetruck then she was off. “Vroom!”

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We added in a few smaller cars and trucks on the town playmat, and there was lots of happy scooting for quite some time.

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Then I gave her two superheroes (if your baby is under three, choose wisely, as many have small parts; a big Spiderman and Superman were perfect). She was thrilled!

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Spiderman and Superman had no idea what hit them. This little lady wanted to play for ages. She twirled them around, carried them around, put them in trucks, you name it.

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Other fun options for “boy” toys included a train…

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…and a rocketship.

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So whether you’re giving your little girl “boy toys” or your little boy “girl toys” (dolls, tea sets), mix it up today! Chances are your baby will have a blast.

Foam Sheet Bath

Foam Bath (5)There’s a new favorite bath toy around here, and it’s as simple as this: leftover foam sheets from the craft store!

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I happened to have circular ones, which were the perfect material for the tub. They are slightly smaller and thus easier to manipulate than standard rectangular sheets you can purchase. If you have big rectangular ones, consider cutting into smaller shapes in a variety of squares, circles, and triangles.

Veronika was soon squishing them in her hands in the water with glee.

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I showed her how to stick them up to the wall as soon as they were wet, and she proceeded to pull them down and stick them back on all bath.

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Rather obviously, the game was great for talking about colors, too! Could she put her hand on the blue one? Could she hand me a green one?

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As a bonus, leave them in the tub for older siblings; big brother Travis turned these into “lily pads” for toy animals!

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Craft Stick Puzzles

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This is a fast, easy way to make a puzzle at home, much more reliable than the cereal box version Travis and I tried earlier in the week!

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Cut a pretty greeting card into strips the width of a jumbo craft stick. I drew guiding lines for Travis, who so proudly cut straight along the lines. “This is fun!” he said, before we even got to the puzzling.

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Apply a layer of mod podge to each craft stick and glue on a piece of your puzzle. Let dry completely, then apply a second layer of mod podge over the strips.

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Once dry, I numbered the craft sticks 1 through 7.

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This numbering allowed him to puzzle in two ways; the harder way was simply to put it together relying on the picture. For a little assistance, Travis only had to refer to the numbers at the bottom!

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Happy puzzling!

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