Earlier this year Super Girl exclaimed she no longer liked pink, anything sparkly or girly. She was so affronted when she was given Lego Friends, all she wanted was Lego. This has made me think about how toys are subject to gender stereotype marketing that packages up pink, sparkly stuff for girls while boys are directed towards the construction, building, and superhero toys. Reading about gender stereotype marketing has made me reflect on my approach to buying this year’s Christmas presents for the children, and whether I can buy gender neutral toys for both children.
Let toys be toys
The Let Toys Be Toys campaign site makes for interesting reading, championing a change in attitudes to how toys are marketed and sold to children. They have been in touch with a number of retailers, urging them to rethink how they display and market their toys to children.
Does gender stereotype marketing matter?
If fact it does.
- Kids should decide for themselves what they think is fun. Why put these limits on play?
- Play matters. Children need a wide range of play to develop different skills
- Marketing matters. Directing consumers in this way is restricting children’s play
- The real world has moved on. These gender stereotypes are tired and out of date
Seriously does it really matter how toys are marketed?
- Gender stereotype marketing can connect with the inequalities we see in adult life.
- By the time children reach their later primary school years they have a clear idea of what jobs boys can do and what girls can do. These beliefs can be hard to shake
- You only have to read the research done by the Girl Guiding Association to understand how girls as young as seven are under pressure to be pretty
- Attitudes towards boys are fixed too. Toys for boys tend to be action, construction, rough and tumble. Boys who are naturally drawn towards creative, calmer activities can be hindered by negative stereotyping
Source: Let Toys be Toys
10 gender neutral toys for children this Christmas
I’ve done a round-up of gender neutral toys for children for Christmas and some of these will be winging their way to under our tree this year.
1. Immy Zig Zag Tee Pee
Every kid needs a hide-away, a little secret den to cook up fantastic plans to raid the biscuit tin. I love the Immy Zigzag Play Teepee, Designed By Nobodinoz. It can be used indoors, and outdoors (perfect for secret picnics maybe even midnight feasts) or for catching some shade on the beach.
The Immy Zig-Zag tent is made from 100 per cent cotton, base 128cm, height 150cm.
Not on the High Street: Immy Zigzag Play Teepee: £98.00
2. Omy Design and Play Giant Polouring poster
I’ve seen lots of these in Paris toy shops. I’ve got my eye on the OMY Design and Play Giant Colouring Poster London, both my kids are missing home. This will be a great way of bringing a bit of London to Paris, and the kids can decorate their London scene during the holidays. This is definitely going under our Christmas tree.
As well as London, there is are posters of New York, the cosmos, magic and they also do colouring place mats.
Giant posters are 1.14m x 0.80m
Amazon: OMY Design and Play Giant Colouring Poster London £12.00
3. Make your own dinosaur chocolate lollipops
My kids love chocolate, as soon as chocolate is mentioned their eyes light up and they become delirious with delight. I just love these little kits from Chocolate At Home, get sticky in the kitchen cooking up a cholocate stegosaurus and triceratops and decorate them with strawberry, lemon, orange and white chocolate buttons.
Chocolate at Home: £13.95 for a kit of five lollipops
4. Inflatable roller wheel
This is a super awesome inflatable roller. I just wish we had a garden, this would be perfect for my children to help them de-stress, help their sensory awareness, improve their coordination, and have fun!
The inflatable roller can be used indoors and outdoors (grass only), for children up to 5 stone, 7 pounds or 36kg).
Science Museum shop: £45.00
5. Mon Petit Art
Mon petit art has some beautiful products for little kids and big kids. I’ve never seen this range in the UK but they are really popular here in France, little theatres, coloring books, origami. Each is beautifully designed. I’ve got my eye on one of their lovely notebooks this Christmas.
I’ve picked out the Mon Petit Art construction kit, for little ones to build secret dens, hideaways tunnels. Great for the imagination, and great when you are stuck indoors. The kit contains six giant panels 50x50cm to join with 64 connectors.
Mon Petit Art hideaway construction kit: €73.33
6. Marble skate park
I’ve really fallen for this site, Uncommon goods, and I adore this build your own marble skate park. It looks like so much fun, and anything that gets little hands and minds constructing is just brilliant. This is a STEM toy, introducing kids to the concept of engineering. The skate park is made out of wood.
Uncommon Goods: £25.50
7. Build your own ukulele
Another build your own toy, this time the Frolic and Cheer Do It Yourself Ukulele Kit, a great way to get children interested in music, and strumming away in their bedroom. This kit is made from unfinished wood, includes body, neck, string, keys and all the other bits.
Not on the High Street: Frolic and Cheer Do It Yourself Ukulele Kit: £39.99
8. A personalised superhero cape
What about a personalised superhero cape for your little incredible? The kit contains a cape, cuffs, mask and super powered belt. The superhero capes are designed by the Dorset-based, family run business, Lou Brown Designs. Your little one can let their imagination run riot as they unleash their superpowers. ‘Cos girls can be super heroes too!
9. Crazy Aarons Thinking Putty
This stuff is just fabulous. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is great for fidgety fingers, pull, stretch, knead the putty and then find yourself calming and relaxing. Some change colour (heat sensitive), there’s liquid glass putty (now that’s magic!), glow in the dark putty and even gold putty. Wow, what a fantastic stocking filler! Yes I’ll have that for my two!
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty: from £9.99
10. Vilac, Toby the Pullalong Dog
Adopting our little pup (not so little now), Lucius or Mr L was one of the best things we did this year. I’m not advocating getting a puppy for Christmas, but I do love this Vilac, Toby the Pullalong Dog
the whole range of wooden toy pullalong dogs are adorable.
There’s something really comforting about a solid wooden toy, that sets itself apart from all the electronic gadgetry and wizardry we can buy today.
Amazon: Vilac, Toby the Pullalong Dog £35.00
This curated content post has affiliate links, which means could I receive a bit of money if you make a purchase using the above links. Prices correct at time of publication, quoted prices do not include P+P.
I want you to know that I only affiliate link to products I use, love, adore and want myself. Any money made will probably go towards my chocolate and red wine habit!
Picture credits: Not On The High Street, Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, Etsy, Uncommon Goods, The Science Museum, Mon Petit Art, Chocolate at Home, Wacky Stuff – courtesy of Flickr