This month, Dr Amanda Gummer weighs up the different skills boys and girls develop using toys, and highlights three Good Toy Guide reviews.
Whether you believe that gender-based play is biologically or socially constructed, there’s no denying some toys appeal to boys more than girls.
Does it matter? We’d argue not really. As long as both girls and boys get an opportunity to develop key skills through play, it doesn’t matter what toys they use.
Boys tend to lag behind girls in social development, especially at the pre-school stage. Boys learn social skills in very different ways to girls, who tend to use traditional role play and communication to develop skills such as empathy, compromise, negotiation, sharing, cooperation, etc. Boys tend to develop these skills through more active, rough and tumble activities and play fighting.
While we’re still in the throws of a litigious society where very few schools and playgroups allow aggressive play, it’s important to give children the toys that they can use at home to facilitate this social development. This play can incorporate all sorts of toys from dressing up as Power Rangers to playing pirates with Playmobil. Boys’ characters such as Ben 10 and Tree Fu Tom provide support for imaginative hero role play.
Read more GOOD TOY GUIDE: Boys toys