There has been a long tradition of telling girls to play with dolls and boys to stick with their trucks, and there is good reason for this. As a result of the rise of gender-neutral toys, kids are now able to play and explore without feeling restricted by stereotypical gender roles. The perfect gender-neutral toy for boys and girls is a toy truck.
There has been a growing trend of gender-neutral toys over the past five years, according to Ken Seiter, executive vice president of marketing communications at the Toy Association, with gender-neutral toys becoming more prominent each year. According to Seiter, this is a trend in toys that will “definitely continue” in the future. And that’s good news for everyone.
Here are five ways that gender-neutral toys like toy trucks benefit kids.
1. They Don’t Reinforce Gender Stereotypes.
In her book, From Entitlement to Intention: Raising Purpose-Driven Children, Elizabeth Lombardo, Psy.D., discusses the importance of telling children that toys are toys until we tell them that they are for boys or girls. In essence, gender-focused toys can perpetuate stereotypes by giving a label to the toy, which will be internalized by the child…Innerizing the message, ‘Girls play with dolls,’ for example, may lead children to believe mom takes care of their children, not dad.
The good thing about toy trucks is that they give kids the freedom to explore their interests. Depending on your child’s unique characteristics, how they play, or how well they play with it will differ, and no one knows exactly why each kid’s style of play is as different as it is. One child might drive their car into the wall, another might line them up bumper to bumper, and still another might wrap them in a blanket after they have driven them into the wall.
2. They Introduce Kids To STEM/STEAM Early.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and STEAM (which adds the “A” for art) toys used to be marketed more heavily towards boys, but not anymore. According to a new report from the Toy Association, one of the unifying characteristics for all good STEAM toys is that they’re gender-neutral and inclusive.
A study has shown that playing with toy trucks improves the coordination between the eyes and hands. As a result of these skills, kids are able to play the piano or cut paper into different shapes using their fingers and hands as a result of these skills. It is important for boys and girls to have the opportunity to develop these skills before they reach adolescence and adulthood.
3. Encourages Interactive Play
Playing with toy trucks affords a wonderful opportunity for interactive play and the development of social skills such as communication and turn-taking. This allows boys and girls to build confidence and establish relationships with other children and siblings, as well as enhance language skills and build vocabulary.
Furthermore, children learn through playing and having fun. Play-based learning allows children to understand how the world around them works. They become curious and explore new ideas. Playing with toy trucks builds their understanding that these toys’ real-life counterparts are used for transporting things. It will also allow them to be in control because they determine the destination of the toy trucks.