Early learning toys are a fantastic way to introduce fundamental understandings and encourage creativity in very young minds. Sadly, even at this early stage, several toy makers and retailers are sorting their products according to the all too familiar pink and blue division.
In this gift guide, we’ve picked out toys that help babies and toddlers grow their minds without restricting them according to gender.
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.
“Let nature be your teacher” – William Wordsworth.
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. Wrap them up this winter and let them breathe fresh air whilst running, climbing, jumping, skipping, balancing, splashing, swinging, and getting dirty!
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.
- Only boys play in the bath? (Entertainer Westfield Stratford, March 2013)
- Lego under 'boys toys', including the girl-targeted 'Friends' range. (Entertainer, Bluewater, March 2013)
- No daddies then? Dolls under 'girls toys' (Entertainer Bluewater, March 2013)
- No creativity for boys? Crafts, including badge maker, dough animals under 'girls toys' (Entertainer Bluewater, March 2013)
- Games for boys?
(Entertainer Westfield Stratford, March 2013)
- Science sets, including 'make your own perfume' categorised under 'boys toys' at the Entertainer, Reading, March 2013
- Step away from the glue, boys! Creative crafts, glitter, glue, filed under 'girls toys' at Entertainer Reading, March 2013
- Magic sets under 'boys toys' (Entertainer Cardiff, April 2013)
- Henry Hoover has a boy on the packaging, and the cooker and shopping trolley are in a cheerful, neutral red. Does The Entertainer really think cooking and shopping are just for girls?
- Musical instruments labelled as girls toys. Entertainer Cardiff, April 2013.
- Nice to see some cars under 'girls toys', but were the Olympics just for girls? I could have sworn I saw some male athletes...
We think toyshops should stop categorising toys by gender because it limits children’s choices and imaginations. But it also doesn’t make any sense. Read more…