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.


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