I had a recent conversation with a group of Moms about how without much influence at all, at a very young age, it seems that boys become so mesmerized by anything with wheels.
Having a son who’s obsessed with vehicles, I could immediately relate with the opinions and story swapping. Seriously. My son and I walked by a construction zone a few days back and it was his version of heaven. He’s still making reference to the “digger truck.”
Somehow, we’re sucked into these gender-specific toys, but..… Do you want your child to be exposed to a wide range of play experiences? Of course! Do you want your child’s imaginative play world to have endless options? Absolutely!
Studies have looked at how gender-specific toys shape language, play, and thinking skills. They found that “girl toys” fostered more use of language and more imaginative play. On the other hand, “boy toys” allowed for more development of hand-eye coordination and problem solving.
So Moms of the girls… Does your daughter have a baby doll? Probably! Does she have a train set? Legos? A tool box? If so… awesome. You’re encouraging more analytical skills, which have been shown to promote success in math and science later on!
Moms of the boys…. Does your son have a toy car? Of course! Does he have a tea set? Toy food for cooking? Dare I say…. a doll? If you said yes, you’re allowing for more caring and nurturing play experiences, which may help them perform with reading and humanities subjects when they get to school.
Does gender specificity exist in toys? Yes. And sometimes you’ve just got to give in… hence the frequenting of saying and signing “dig” at dinner the past few nights in my house. But, we can offer more.
Break the mold, go against the grain… and [maybe] convince your husband that it’s ok for a boy to have a doll. I did.