Covers of toy catalogues

Progress from toy retailers – time for manufacturers to catch up

Our research this year shows that retailers have made big strides forward in letting toys be toys, with boy/girl signage on the way out, and more imaginative adverts and promotional imagery. It’s another picture from toy manufacturers, whose packaging, ads and catalogue images still rely on stereotypes.

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Let Toys Be Toys campaign is asking the toy and publishing industries to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.

Find out more about the Let Toys Be Toys campaign.

Cordelia Fine, Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds (Icon, 2017),  256pp.

Book Review: ‘Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of our Gendered Minds’

The belief that humans have evolved into two distinct types of people with very different natures – competitive, risk-taking males and gentle, empathic females, is widespread and powerful, but is it true? In her latest popular neuroscience book, Professor Cordelia Fine takes us through the science that led to the idea of ‘Testosterone Rex’.

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David as Santa

Santa’s end of year review

David Kinnaird has been a professional Santa in Scotland for over 20 years. Here he reflects on how children’s toy choices have been changing in the last few years.

I’ve spent two decades ‘Behind the Beard’ – performing as and training Santas for sites around the UK. One of the first things I seek to instil in those entering the National Elf Service is that there is one question they simply Do Not Ask of the tiny travellers passing through their grottoes.

“What do you want for Christmas?”

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The Let Toys Be Toys 2016 Silliness Awards

To say 2016 has been a turbulent year is something of an understatement, but we at Let Toys Be Toys have been able to take heart from successes including  Buster Books becoming the 10th publisher to agree to #LetBooksBeBooks back in January, and being awarded the BRIO Prize in February in recognition of our work for the benefit and development of children and young people. Most encouragingly of all, our research at the end of this year found that boy/girl signage in the toy aisles seems to be well on the way out. We’ve also had plenty of media coverage and ever more engagement from our fantastic supporters. So in a nod to everyone who has tweeted us and contacted us with pictures and stories of sexist and stereotyped toys, we bring you our annual silliness awards…

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Only boys were shown playing with Nerf blasters or spy gadgets in the Smyths catalogue

Stereotypes rule in toy catalogues – research findings

Our new research shows that the promotional images used in toy catalogues fall back on the same old tired stereotypes, with only a handful of boys shown with dolls, and girls accounting for just 11% of the children shown with cars or other vehicles. Read more…

Girls and Boys toy labels on the way out – survey results

Our survey of toy stores and websites has found ‘girls toys’ and ‘boys toys’ signs and website navigation options are on the way out. But what more do retailers need to do to allow children to choose their interests for themselves?

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11 fantastic toys and books to foster STEM skills – Let Toys Be Toys gift guide

As well as being fun, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) toys, are a great way to build skills such as problem solving, spatial awareness and critical thinking.

Of course we all know science is for everyone, but gender bias means STEM toys are often targeted squarely at boys, (or else given a dusting of pink glitter and lipstick as if that’s the only way to get girls interested). We’ve chosen eleven toys and books to help curious children everywhere develop an interest in science and discovery. Read more…

magsmont

Magazines that kids 8+ will love

A magazine subscription is a great gift that will keep giving all year round, but many, if not most of the children’s magazines on the shelves fall back on tired old pink/sparkly and blue/camo stereotypes. We’ve picked out a few publications which appeal to boys and girls with different interests.

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Let’s Play Outside! – Let Toys Be Toys Gift Guide

Children learn through playing and often love nothing more than exploring the freedom of the great outdoors, developing healthy bodies and a spirit of adventure along the way.  The following toys can all be played with outside and offer something a bit different to children who might seem like they already have a full toy-box.

All shops featured on this page have received the Let Toys Be Toys ‘Toymark award’ – our good practice award for the stores that are getting it right.

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Books for Young Children – Let Toys Be Toys Gift Guide

Who doesn’t love the gleam and smell of a freshly unwrapped book? We believe all children should be able to choose freely the books they like best and we celebrate all the marvellous writers, illustrators, publishers and booksellers that avoid putting boy or girl labels on books. Here we list some of our favourite reads for the very small people in our lives.

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