For generations, little boys wore blue and were given trucks to play with while little girls wore pink and were told to play with dolls. Today, however, there are a variety of gender-neutral toys so children have the opportunity to play without restrictions and stereotypes. By removing the labels of “boy” and “girl” toys, kids can all explore whatever areas that interest them.
In the past five years, gender-neutral toys have become even more popular and it looks like a trend that will continue to grow. That’s great news for both parents and children who want to expand their interests and break free of labels.
Even better, there are ways in which kids specifically benefit from playing with gender-neutral toys. Here are just a few:
GENDER-NEUTRAL TOYS INTRODUCE ALL CHILDREN TO STEAM/STEM
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, STEAM/STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, while STEM leaves out Art. When children play with toys focusing on STEAM or STEM (building and construction, arts & crafts, etc.), they learn by using their imagination, exploration, and critical thinking. This kind of play engages and fosters both the left side (logical) and the right side (artistic) of the child’s brain.
Interestingly, these kinds of toys used to be focused toward boys only. But now, girls are encouraged to participate. STEAM toys are gender-neutral and unifying.
GENDER-NEUTRAL TOYS PROMOTE EXPERIMENTAL THINKING
These toys are specifically designed to encourage open-ended play. This means gender-neutral toys can teach children to play with room for trial and error; they are allowed to experiment and make mistakes. Children learn that errors are okay and a part of learning. Most importantly, gender-neutral toys encourage kids to question how things work in the world and what else they might be able to invent, design, and dream up. Kids develop a means to be inquisitive and don’t fear failing.
For example, building a tower with blocks teaches children about gravity, balance, and more, through play. When the tower falls over, they can laugh and start again. Kids won’t feel like they’ve made a mistake just because the tower fell.
GENDER-NEUTRAL TOYS DON'T REINFORCE STEREOTYPES
Until we tell children that a toy is just for boys or just for girls, kids simply see them as things to play with. Once a parent or teacher puts a label on a toy, that child will internalize gender stereotypes. For example, “girls play with dolls” may lead kids to feel that just moms and not dads take care of babies. “Boys play with trucks” leads children to believe that only men and not women have jobs dealing with machinery, engines, etc.
Without labels, all kids can explore anything that they are interested in. They will not be influenced by what society says they “should” do because of their gender.
GENDER-NEUTRAL TOYS OPEN KIDS UP TO CAREERS
Although gender-neutral toys won’t necessarily lead to a career in science or engineering, it introduces the concepts to all children. An early introduction to STEAM fields may open kids to other ideas and different careers than they would have chosen.
Something like a chemistry set or microscope will help children to understand chemistry, biology, or physics on a fairly simple level. But once their imagination is sparked, their interest and confidence may grow.
KIDPOWERED – WE’VE GOT TOYS!
Are you looking for toys to encourage a child’s inquisitive nature, imagination, and confidence? Do you want something that’s well-made? Shop Kidpowered today! We’ve got what you’re looking for.