Today, choosing the best toys for kids is no longer about picking a pink or a blue one. In fact, research has shown that choosing toys based on gender can have harmful effects on kids.
This is because gender-specific toys tend to impart certain stereotypes about boys and girls. They teach girls that only appearance matters and that the only skills they need are those regarding homemaking.
Boys in the other hand tend to develop overly-aggressive tendencies from the kind of toys they play with.
Even worse than these stereotypes is that kids could miss out on crucial skills. Girls don’t get to play with toys that will strengthen their science and mathematical skills while boys miss out on important homemaking skills.
So when you go toy shopping, look beyond gender and focus on age-appropriate toys that are fun and help your child develop their dexterity and thinking. Here are the best ones we recommend for various ages.
From around 6 months, babies are just starting to develop their motor skills. They are also getting a rough understanding of cause and effect.
This monster toy is perfect for reinforcing these developing skills. It consists of little monsters and funny sounds that pop out randomly when the child pushes a button, slides a lever, toggles a switch or turns a knob.
The recommended age is from 6 months and up.
What we like about it – We love how versatile it is in terms of the different types of movements babies can make. It’s not only fun, it also improves their hand movements.
This rocker transforms from a baby recliner to a toddler seat as your child grows. You can use it as a rocker or keep it fixed depending on your needs. There’s even a vibration feature to soothe them to sleep.
A couple of toys hang from the easy-to-reach toy bar (which is removable). Babies and toddlers can pull and bat at the toys as much as they like.
For safety, the seat comes with a five-point harness as well as a stabilizing kickstand at the back. So you don’t have to worry about your child falling.
It’s ideal for use starting from birth up to around 2 years.
What we like about it – Unlike most baby stuff that you stop using after just a short time, we love how this one grows with your kid. It’s well designed for maximum safety and to last long.
Once your child learns to hold a crayon or pencil in her hand, time to get them started on drawing and colouring.
To make sure they don’t make a mess of your walls and important documents, get them this scribble activity book.
It contains 50 activity pages with lots of fun and creative things to do plus 70 stickers they can add to their creations.
It’s ideal for ages 2 to 5.
What we like about it – It’s a simple and affordable toy with lots of fun. It will help them improve their fine motor skills. You can use it at home and it’s also great for keeping them busy when on the road.
Babies can be quite restless in the first weeks especially if they get colic. What this toy sheep does is play soothing sounds to help them calm down and sleep. And what better sounds to play to a new born than those they were used to in the womb?
That’s right. The ewan sheep mimics real womb sounds.
But it’s not just for infants. For older kids you have the option of three white sounds: vacuum cleaner, rain and harp music.
It’s great for kids who have trouble sleeping. It’s also perfect for kids who get restless when travelling.
You can also use it as a nightlight.
It’s ideal for kids of all ages starting from birth.
What we like about it – We love how versatile it is. Whether you have a new born with colic or a 3 year old who won’t sleep, ewan is perfect.
In this super fun activity board from acclaimed toy makers Melissa & Doug, kids have to figure out how to operate different types of latches to open the six doors.
Behind each door is a colourful picture with an increasing number of animals from the first picture to the last. It’s great for helping kids think creatively and teaching them about numbers.
The board is made from smooth-sanded solid wood so you can be sure it’s safe and will last long.
It’s recommended for ages 3 and up.
What we like about it – As with most toys from Melissa & Doug, the Latches activity board is brilliant. Your kids will have plenty of fun as they learn how to solve problems.
How we choose the best gender neutral toys
We looked for unisex toys that will be fun for both boys and girls.
None of the toys we picked are designed for a specific gender. All kids can play with them and improve various skills.
We also focused a lot on safety and durability. So no cheap plastic toys that will break in days.
Your kids will play with these toys for years and could even pass them down to their younger siblings in the future.
Finally, the toys had to be fun. All the above toys combine lots of fun while also helping kids improve their motor and thinking skills.
What to consider when buying gender neutral toys
- Focus on those toys that provide a lot of value and fun without any gender stereotyping. For younger kids, look for toys that develop their motor skills. For older ones, get toys that push them to think creatively while also improving their dexterity.
- Buy quality toys that are safe and durable. Don’t buy cheap toys; they are a waste of money and could even be a health hazard to your kids.
- The most important factor to consider is age. Always look at the age recommendation before buying a toy. This is not just for safety reasons; it also ensures that your child will find the toys easy and fun to play with.