At this point in the year I am pretty sure you have seen your share of Gift Guides. They are fun, helpful and sometimes just what you need to get you in the mood for the perfect gift. There are ALL kinds of gift guides too. I was even part of a series earlier this year with over 75 gift guides for anything you might want or need related to children. However, one thing continues to strike me as I see these gift guides. One thing that is my biggest pet peeve (and I really don’t have many) is gift specifically for a gender. That is why I have decided to gather up the top 5 boy toys that I think every girl should own. Oh, and don’t worry, I also have a list of the top 5 girl toys every boy should own.
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Alright, alright… I know that gender specific toys, activities and behaviors have a place. I do! In fact, I am not saying that some activities should not have the word “boy” in front of it. Let me explain. One of my favorite blogs is Frugal Fun for Boys, written by a mother of boys about the activities she does with her boys. Every single time I share her posts on my page, someone comments how the activities shared are NOT JUST FOR BOYS. I know that. She knows that. However, she has boys and she writes about what THEY LIKE.
So if I am not poo-pooing the fact that some things are called “boy” toys, what am I saying?
I want to show you something fascinating. The other day I did a google search for “boy toys” to see what would appear in the image search. At first, my friend was a tad worried about what could show up (get your mind out of the gutter). You know what appeared? Exactly what I thought would. Take a look at the images you see.
What do you see from these “boy toys”? I see fun, exciting, empowered, strong, powerful and creative. I see toys that encourage thinking. Toys that encourage children to be bold risk takers and problem solvers.
These “boy toys” make me happy. There is so much diversity and variety.
Now, for fun, I went back to the exact same google search and I changed ONE WORD. Just ONE!!!
This time I searched “girl toys”. Look what happened to the images.
I am pretty sure I am not the only one that sees the drastic difference! Where is the creativity? Where is the empowerment? Where is the variety?
Did you know that to find any variety, I had to scroll for 3 pages! 3 pages of pink and purple dolls and makeup, and princesses before I found anything different. This bothers me to no end! I think it bothers me mostly because I know this isn’t just an issue on Google. I know its not just the stores. Unfortunately, I have heard it in the classroom from the little boys “oh you can’t play with this, its for boys.” I have heard from the parents, “honey, don’t play with that truck, its for boys.” I have even heard it from friends and family members.
Here is what I am doing about it. I am making it a point to make sure girls I know (whether it is in the classroom, through a friend, or my own daughter) are exposed to a variety of toys, especially toys that are classically referred to as “boy toys”.
Top 5 Boy Toys Every Girl Should Own
Here are my top 5 picks that I think every child should have the experience of playing with. These toys are classically thought of as “boy toys” but are also pretty amazing for girls too!
Trucks | Who doesn’t love a good push around the yard, gathering sticks, rocks and other found objects. Not only is the pushing excellent proprioceptive input, trucks allow for children (boys and girls) to expand their problem solving abilities and test cause and effect. What happens when I roll this down the hill? What happens when I dump the back? How much can I fill this and still push it? The list is endless.
Work Bench and Tools | Okay, seriously… what child does not love to bang and push on a bench with hammers? We’ve all seen those classic wooden toys for babies and toddlers with the hammer and balls, right? Why does that need to end at preschool age and suddenly become a “boy” toy? I know I have a wooden workbench in the basement that I can’t wait to get out when my daughter is old enough. I want her to be confident in her abilities to build new things, take things apart and create with her hands. I do not ever want her to think this is something that only boys are allowed to do. Work benches are great for fine motor development, problem solving, creative thinking, language development, and even pre-writing skills.
Super Heroes | Remember what I said about those images above being empowering? Think about Superman, Batman, Spiderman. All super strong. However, there is also Batgirl, Wonderwoman, and Catwoman, just to name a few female super heroes. Just because a girl wants to play with Batman and Spiderman, doesn’t mean we suddenly have to turn these toys pink for them to like them. Super heroes are wonderful for encouraging creative thinking, imaginative play, language development and developing social skills.
Science Kits | From tinkering kits to robotic building sets, pre-packaged kits and do-it-yourself science kits are something that I would recommend for all children! The list of benefits associated with science activities is long and exhaustive. To name a few, children are introduced to new concepts, encouraged to try new things, stretch their critical thinking, and develop their reasoning skills. Thinking of science kits as a girl toy changes their perception of future roles they are capable of doing, and allows them to practice important problem solving strategies at a young age.
Legos | Yeah, Yeah, I know that Lego has this new line out just for girls. Its all pink and cute and all about homemaking. But really, you know what every girl needs? A big box of Lego, all colors, all shapes, all sizes. When I was growing up, I didn’t have “special” Lego just for me. Instead I played right alongside my brothers and created and invented just like he did. In the classroom, the Lego table was one of my most popular centers by far, loved by both girls and boys alike. Lego are awesome toys for developing spatial relations, visual reasoning, fine motor skills, and critical thinking strategies.
So I am curious. Do you agree or disagree? Are these toys that you would want your girl to get as a present? What did I leave off? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
More Boy Activities that Are Great for Girls Too!