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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Toys For Boys (or Girls)

Do all boys necessarily have to play with lego and trains while girls play with dolls and kitchen sets? Is any toy too girly for a boy or too boyish for a girl? I personally feel that we should allow kids to explore playing with different toys and observe the way they interact and learn from each playing experience.

It does seem strange for a boy to enjoy playing dress up for his doll, or pretend play tea time with his toys, but I feel that this is part and parcel of growing up and forms part of their childhood and exploratory journey. I have been stopped by Darren when I wanted to get a kitchen set for Aiden for his 2nd birthday, and still thinks about it time to time.

I recently bought Aiden this shopping cart and specifically chose blue (over pink), but the picture still shows a girl pushing the cart. Oh well.

Extremely pleased with his new toy
We had fun role playing at home as Aiden especially enjoys his trips to the supermarket usually with my dad. I would place the merchandise at various places in the house and get him to pretend to go supermarket shopping. We also gives him a shopping list to pick out fruits for us. When he is done with his shopping, I will be the cashier, and we will pretend to scan the items. I also teach him about the concept of money, paying for his shopping and getting the right amount of change. We can play this over and over again and it's really fun for him. It's nice seeing him play 'daddy' as he will choose one of his toy to go shopping with him by placing it carefully in the cart.

Then comes Aiden the terror after he tires from role playing with me. He will throw all the merchandise around the house and refuses to pick them up. I had to remind him about the right behavior and how he should take care of his toys and treasure them. He finally relented and helped keep every piece neatly in the cart. I get really upset when he does not treasure his toys and misplace parts - as it gets very tough to play a meaningful game like when he loses a few pieces of a puzzle.

How about cartoon characters and soft toys? Are there stereotypes too? I think many of you would think it is really strange for a boy to hold on to a Hello Kitty soft toy. But he's just a two year old. He is loving his new toy now and brings it everywhere he goes. I am not too bothered, but have received some giggles and hear people say 'so wrong!'

Do you intentionally influence your kid towards gender specific toys and why?

His charming smile, with Hello Kitty (Lion)


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