Thinking of a toy race car for the boy? A new doll for the girl? Forget about it, say US toymakers. This Christmas, it’s all about breaking stereotypes – and sales records – by “re-purposing” classic, gender-oriented toys in ways that appeal to girls and boys alike.
Here are 10 children’s Christmas gift ideas for the gender-neutral giver in you
- Easy-Bake Oven: Responding to a 13-year-old girl’s complaint that her little brother loves cooking but won’t play with a “girl’s” toy, manufacturer Hasbro has announced it will replace its traditional pink and purple oven design with a more boy-friendly black and silver model.
- Redecorate LEGO: Denmark-based LEGO has launched a new line of its traditional boy-oriented plastic building-block toy called LEGO Friends. The company says the new look allows girls to “build, create, remodel and redecorate!” and includes new LEGO mini-dolls.
- Gender-Neutral Dollhouses: Long a girl’s favourite, the traditional dollhouse is undergoing a makeover aimed at capturing the imaginations of boys too. Toymaker Moolka has a model on the market that trades pink finish for a brown wood apparently more accessible to boys.
- Hard Hat Barbie: No longer just a pretty plaything, a new version of this iconic toy, the “Architect Barbie”, sports a hard hat and brandishes building construction plans as part of the “I Can Be” series of dolls aimed at encouraging girls to explore traditionally male career paths.
- House Cleaning Sets: Who says housework is for girls? Toy retailer Toys’R’Us is promoting its “Just Like Home Deluxe Cleaning Set” – a collection of household cleanup utensils such as broom, mop and dustpan in boy-friendly blue for boys who want to join the housework fun.
- Lincoln Logs: Lincoln Logs has released its first building set made especially for girls. The “Little Prairie Farmhouse” includes real wood logs, colorful figures and accessories that encourage young girls to enjoy construction.
- Toy Kitchen: Cooking is of course enjoyed by both men and women. So toy maker KidKraft has embraced this reality with a gender-neutral toy kitchen – the “Grand Espresso Corner Kitchen” – that comes in gray and black and features a boy and a girl doing kitchen work.
- Mini Guitar: Toy guitars have long targeted boys. But the Disney Princess Guitar on US store shelves this holiday season – in pink colour and feminine design – encourages girls to embrace their inner rocker with.
- Video Games: Games featuring cars and guns may interest some girls. But manufacturers are reaching out this holiday season to a more feminine audience with video games like “Dance Dance Revolution”, which lets girls break out their best moves in the comfort of home.
- Barbie Construction Sets: Say hello to the “Mega Bloks Barbie Build ‘n Style” – another Barbie personality that manufacturer Mattel says encourages girls to design and build, and pursue activities long presented to children as a boys’ domain.