I just love it when a toy company gets it right!
I got an email in my inbox this week and I thought I should share it. (see the bottom of this blog post)
Not only do Edukits make really awesome toys and various kits to stimulate imaginative play but also they have an ethos I can really get behind. Basically they say that there are no “girl” toys and “boy” toys and all kids should be given a wide variety of toys to play trucks in the dirt and clean the house regardless of the gender stereotypes enforced by society and toy companies.
Try telling him that dolls are for girls, Lion-cub is taking the dollies to go slide.
Here are a couple of their products that I really like:
They have a wide variety of awesome toys and kits which are very reasonably priced. I especially like the Dr Seuss book bundles for R300 (for 5 books) and the Duplo community people showing characters of mixed races and genders in various jobs.
Then for people who couldn’t be bothered with being Pintrest Parent Of The Year (While Making My Kids’ Edible Play Dough and Paint)… they even have edible finger paint and edible play dough kits ready made and ready to be played with.
Then they also have a very novel Monthly Kit Club that comes with a variety of 4 – 5 kits so that you have an array of activities to do with your kids whether you are looking for stuff to keep them occupied over the weekend or are homeschooling your kids.
Toys for Boys and Toys for Girls
I often get queries on recommended activity kits, books and toys for either girls or boys. But if you look at my website you will notice that I don’t divide anything between genders. Many people ask why it’s such a big deal and it certainly seems to be that in different ways all over the world at the moment, parents, schools and even kids themselves are generating a lot of noise about gender differences, equality and so forth.
Perhaps the real question should be – how can we raise our children to view each other and themselves with respect, courtesy and kindness? And sadly, it really does come back down (on some level) to the toys we provide our little ones with. Traditionally, dolls are for girls, trucks are for boys. Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Construction toys are for boys and household toys are for girls. On the surface that seems benign. But consider for a moment the messages this divisive attitude sends to our little ones.
Did you know that 70% of girls toys are to do with playing house? And that 80% of girl’s toys are only in Pink and Red?
Although it is becoming more acceptable to give our daughters LEGO and cars and trucks, it is still not quite acceptable to a large part of society to ensure our sons have dolls and toy brooms or that our daughters have access to science experiments and equipment. The message silently being sent is that there are still specific fields we want to shut off to each of the genders. By extension we are teaching our kids that they will have very specific roles to play in their own homes one day as well as in society and the work place.
We need to consider the impact that we have on our children’s views of the world and this is started within our own homes. Let your sons play with toy brooms, let your daughters extend their scientific wonderings. Encourage your son to play at being a dad with his own doll and let your daughter have her own tool kit.
And how does this carry into learning? Most pre-teen and teenage girls when asked believe that they are bad at maths and the sciences. Likewise most boys believe that languages, art, and creative subjects are things that girls should do. Of course, this sort of gender stereotyping not only narrows each child’s career possibilities, it may also lead to them forgoing their own innate talents and abilities! Encourage your daughter to enjoy science and numeracy along with her other interests and encourage your son to write stories, create artistically and enjoy learning languages and reading.
As parents, we also need to be aware of the language we are using to describe the activities and toys on offer. Avoid using gender or colour to describe things – rather use their names or purposes. Encouraging sharing of toys and activities between siblings and visitors is also a great way to show the benefits for both genders, and getting mom and dad to play with activities traditionally designed for opposite genders will go a long way to breaking through this invisible barrier. Moms can enjoy LEGO and construction as much as dads can enjoy baking and playing house!
Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving girls pink dolls and ensuring your boy has a big truck to play with – just ensure there is a balance, a variety of items on offer to create an inspirational and accessible learning environment for your child – whatever their interests.
If you are unsure how to create an environment that is balanced across subjects, abilities, gender and interests please drop me an e-mail, let’s discuss it.