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Toys Or Stereotoys? Gender Stereotyping Starts Early

Posted: August 20, 2019

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Toys are an essential part of children’s daily life. Toys are the source of joy and contribute to their holistic development. But have you ever come across toys for girls and boys? Toys in pink and blue? Scrabble that spells fashion and engineer? Jenga that is plain and Jenga that suggest girls talk? Legos for girls and boys?

Such toys are known as gendered toys, and they create gender inequality. Such toys manipulate thoughts regarding gender, promote gender labelling; and children end up drawing the wrong conclusions around abstract qualities such as colours, skills, and careers. Also, it limits them to see beyond the two visible genders.

Am I giving a blanket statement regarding gendered toys?

Yes, I am generalising it. I hear it; I see it.

A toy is like a playing object for a parent. But it is no less than a classroom where shapes, colours, names, language, values, and expressions come alive for a child. It becomes a learning device when a child starts playing with it. It becomes a point of social interaction when a particular toy becomes their favourite toy; they start expressing through it. Certain toys help in resolving conflicts. There are toys which engage children enough to make them quick thinkers, problem solvers. Toys even educate children about the world around them.

We, as parents and teachers need to stop defining gender norms, which would further influence behaviours, values, attitudes in children. Skills, qualities, abilities, choice, values, and learning has nothing to do with gender.

I have come across parents asking toys for girls and boys. Why???? Why can’t we think of some logical questions while purchasing toys?

Questions

Will this toy amuse, delight or excite my child?

Is the toy safe?

Is the toy age appropriate?

Does the toy fits my child’s interest, need, skills and abilities?

Is the toy versatile?

Does the product help my child express emotions, reinforce positivity, and promote social interaction?

Does the toy help in skill building? Eye-hand coordination? Fine and large motor skills?

Does the toy educate the child about the environment, science, history, language, and others?

Different Categories of Toys

ROLE PLAY TOYS – toy houses, puppets, animal sets, occupational and domestic play, including a large range of fabulous dress-ups.

DISCOVERY TOYS – chances to explore construction, threading, magnets and water play.

TRANSPORT TOYS – train sets, cars, trucks, garages, car mats, space rockets and airports.

A huge range of JIGSAW PUZZLES in both wood and card ranging from toddler puzzles of 3 pieces to more complex pictures with over 60 pieces.

LARGE TOYS includes mini kitchens, workbenches, and tents.

SCHOOL READINESS games and activities – games for two or four players.

STEM science, technology, engineering and maths

GYM TOYS – Trampoline, toddlers gym, hoopla and many more.

SENSORY TOYS – Mats, rollers, squeezy ball, rattles, fidget, air walker therapy swing, sensory sox, moon sand and many more.

Art and craft toys.

We are not raising our children; we are raising the next generation. Mindful parenting starts with us.

Image via Pixabay

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