By Ana Veciana-Suarez
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Developmental psychologists have long said that toys, what and how our kids play with them, are important because it’s how children learn about the world.
The other day I was surprised to see my 2 1/2 year-old granddaughter wield a hammer and screwdriver like a pro. I shouldn’t have been, but it goes to show that I’m not as progressive as I take credit for.
“Oh, she loves that stuff,” my son told me. “The toolbox is one of her favorite toys.”
And she looked so cute using it, too, with a big purple bow sliding down her wispy hair and frilly socks matching her girlie-girl dress.
Every year toys, what to get the kids and what’s appropriate, turns into a recurring theme during the holiday season. Santa Claus wants to spend money wisely and he also happens to be a believer in exposing children to non-traditional experiences. I, his local elf helper, couldn’t agree more. I like the idea of trucks for girls and dolls for boys.
If only it were so simple to break gender stereotypes!
As a mother of four sons, my house used to be filled with all things testosterone. Balls and bats and gloves, trucks, soldiers, and guns, sometimes to my friends’ dismay. Their sister, poor girl, had to conform to rough play if she wanted to be included in the fun. Not that I didn’t attempt to broaden their tastes. Boy dolls were bought, and forgotten, and the kitchen toys I encouraged turned into interesting weaponry. It’s an uphill battle to buck the influence of society, believe me.
Now I have grandgirls who love princesses, bling and anything pink. They especially like pink princesses wearing lots of bling. Yet there are moments, such as the one I witnessed with the youngest, that do my feminist heart good. I also try to do my part, however small it might seem. Two years ago, for instance, I encouraged Santa to deliver remote controlled trucks. They were a huge hit, but this was before American Girl dolls entered the family lexicon.