While there is no inherent need for girls to have different kinds of toys than boys, toys and games that help in overall physical, emotional and cognitive development can go a long way in helping girls achieve their dreams.
However, societal and cultural norms can influence the types of toys marketed to and purchased when it comes to girls versus boys. Historically, toys marketed towards girls have focused on nurturing and domestic activities, while toys marketed towards boys have focused on action and adventure. This can perpetuate gender stereotypes and limit the opportunities for children to explore a diverse range of interests and skills.
At Smartivity, we believe in creating gender-agnostic toys that help both boys and girls achieve their full potential by applying the best principles of STEAM play.
Do girls and boys need different toys?
Let’s face this upfront. Toys are mostly unisex, but here are some considerations when it comes to toys for girls.
- It is well known that children imitate their parents. And while they do, they most naturally imitate the parents of the same gender. Girls like to imitate the mother, and boys the father.
- When girls predominantly see their mother working in the kitchen and looking after babies, they like to imitate her. It is for this reason that they like to play with dolls and play-kitchen toys (generally speaking).
- No matter how much we may try to raise girls as equal to boys, in their hearts, they find it fun to play with “girly” toys.
- If your little girl is having her friends (who might be predominantly or exclusively girls) over for her birthday, then it makes sense to think of some girl games that a bunch of girls would enjoy.
- When it is time to give a gift to your daughter’s friend or a girl child of your friend or relative, you might want to be thoughtful and consider what gift the girl may like. You will most likely shortlist exclusive toys for girls before you finalize something.
Therefore, if not always, sometimes we may need to choose toys for girls that can help in their holistic development.
What toys do girls like?
Here are 5 toy and game ideas for girls. Smartivity has a range of activity kits that would appeal to curious girls. While boys too can play with these toys and games, these toys may appeal more to girls.
Dolls and accessories:As girls go about playing with their dolls, they would be happy to have varied sets of clothes - formal and casual, western and Indian. If not available in stores, you can hire the help of a local tailor to have them custom-made for your girl’s dolls. Apart from extra dresses for dolls, girls will also appreciate toy beds, toy beauty sets like combs, hair brushes, hair dryers, and the like.
Soft Toys:Soft toys appeal to people cutting across gender and age. Even adults feel comforted looking at them and holding them. So go ahead, and buy your girl those cute teddies, elephants, pigs, puppies, tortoises, or even a dinosaur!
STEAM Toys:How long can girls play with dolls or pretend to cook? After having their fill with exclusive girl stuff for the day, they would want to see what else they can do. This is where STEAM toys for girls come in. STEAM toys are toys that help in the development of hard and soft skills like science, technology, math, reasoning, social skills and so on. Here are a few examples:
Science-based Experiments:It would be a lot of fun as well as learning when your curious little girl is able to take a break from dolls and do all kinds of science experiments by herself, or with her curious little friends. Girls will love this Mega Science Kit, which allows for 108 exciting experiments like capillary action, soap making, snowman, dancing ghosts, rocket science, and more. It is an all-inclusive set that contains everything needed for experiments - beakers, test tubes, powders, and all.
DIY Science Toys:This DIY Kaleidoscope makes for a great holiday gift for girls, as they learn about reflection, color theory, and mirrors. It is a screen-free STEAM toy that involves assembling pre-cut parts. It helps boost confidence, focus, and creativity.
Soft Skill Development Toys:The sooner you start helping your little girls develop soft skills, the better. This is because soft skills are very important for navigating the world successfully. Thankfully, there are STEAM toys to help your girl with the development of soft skills. Transports On the Go is a kit that includes seven playful activities that help develop memory, intelligence, language and communication skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, reasoning, and socio-emotional skills.
Board Games and Puzzles:Traditional board games have a timeless appeal. In the age of screens and modern toys, make sure not to let your girls miss out on simple childhood staples like jigsaw puzzles, the traditional monopoly, ludo, snakes and ladders. Smartivity has a range of board games that are excellent for a girl pajama party. From STEAM Warriors to Cricket Mania, these interactive games help girls to collaborate and play together.
Party Games:When little girls get together for a birthday party, and you have to engage them all in fun ways, then you might want to consider age-old party games like “Treasure Hunt”, “Simon Says”, “Chinese Whisper”, “Pinky Pinky”, and many more. But for new-age girls, we suggest party games from Smartivity like Tic-Tac Twist and Pinball Machine.
How do you choose what toys to give to girls?
Apart from assuming or following traditional advice on what toys girls like, it is always a good idea to actually observe what your girl likes. Or better still, ask her to choose when you want to buy her toys. Let her take her pick - dolls or dinosaurs, kitchen sets or mechanics. She might choose different permutations and combinations that defy all predictions about what girls like. So be it. That said, make it a standard practice to provide her with STEAM toys for skill development. Needless to add, encourage her to choose from the array.
Should children’s toys be gender neutral?
Toys, unlike clothes, are not gendered for the most part of it. In a garment store, you will typically find distinct sections for girls and boys, but not so in toy stores. Most toys really are gender-neutral - be it STEAM toys, educational toys, puzzles, board games, musical instruments, art and craft.
There are, however, a few toys that might be preferred or not preferred by girls and boys. For example, girls may not show a preference for toys like guns or dinosaurs.
Likewise, boys might not show a preference for dolls or doll houses. A small fraction of toys may be gendered, but as mentioned before, there is nothing stopping girls from playing with ‘boy’ toys or vice versa. Cater to what your child likes or prefers, while also making available to them a variety of STEAM toys that are gender-agnostic and help in developing a wide range of social, emotional and cognitive skills.