Sunday, October 31, 2010

Girls and boys play differently, a review and a giveaway all in one post...

Boys and girls play differently, in general. Whatever their specific interest they still have a built in nature that tends to lead them to different styles of play.

I was always of the opinion that they should still be offered the same types and styles of toys to play with, that blocks, cars, dolls, train sets and dress ups should still be on offer to both sexes and they can use their imaginations to use these ‘tools’ as they like.

Recently Popps and Immy were fighting in the sand pit, we only have one match box car in the house, and even that had been left behind in the car by my nephew. I realized there was a lack of male centric toys in the Babble House. However there have been many times when SS has arrived home excited about sharing a new toy with the girls, there was the time he bought the wooden train set and spent a good half hour getting it just right, but they didn’t touch it. He has purchased kids golf sticks, fishing rods and a Little People Fire Engines. They all lay untouched while the baby doll pram is falling to bits and the numerous tea sets are now odds and ends due to overuse.

All this has even lead to a specific style of television viewing too. So when Handy Manny ‘A Very Handy Holiday’ arrived in the mail recently it was not something they had seen before. With another little four year old visitor I propped them all up on the couch and they sat down to watch Handy Manny and his toys go about preparing for Christmas Eve.

Handy Manny is lovely for preschoolers, he is full of nice things and his tools are rather funny, with names that are cleverly thought out. There is Pat the hammer and Dusty the saw, Stretch the tape measure and my favourite Felipe, the Phillips head screwdriver, plus a few others. In the main Christmas feature the toys go through a process of helping a few other people in the town and in doing so they learn that different cultures celebrate in different ways and believe in different things. There are lessons of good behaviour and manners and treating people nicely. There is nothing to upset a young mind engrossed in the story of Handy Manny, which is a real bonus for the very young viewers.

There are smatterings of Spanish worked in really well to the program, with counting and the odd word here and there. All three girls sat and watched and seemed to enjoy the Christmas episode.

But Handy Manny didn’t have the draw that a more traditionally girly feature would have. The older two were off and didn’t come back to watch any more and when given the option on another day for Handy Manny or a more pink alternative Popps went with the chick flick option.

Immy was delighted to meet her good friends Winnie the Pooh and co in a bonus feature of this DVD and did her little excited dance when it came on, considering she has never seen them on screen before she seemed really surprised that they had come to life from her books. Certainly a bonus of this DVD which is hitting the shops this week on 3 November.

So while I once wouldn’t have expected, encouraged or thought it would occur in my household, there seems to be a natural move to all that is traditionally girly and a lack of real interest in anything that is not frilly, sparkly or pink.

While I go and dust off the blocks and purchase a few more match box cars for the Christmas stockings to bring some new play styles into the house, you can comment here about your opinions on boys and girls playing styles and go into the draw to win

Your very own copy of Winnie the Pooh, A Very Merry Pooh Year.

You will also need to be a follower of this blog to enter.
Enter by Friday 5 November by 8pm
Winner announced on Saturday 6 November 2010.

This giveaway is only open to Australian and New Zealand residents.


  1. It's probably just your kids' natural personality to like stuff that are "frilly, sparkly or pink". My daughter is the opposite. No matter how I "push" those "sugar & spice & everything nice" , she still tends to cars & action figures. She has lots of "girly" toys which were gifts & only get played by her friends when they come over. All we can really do is give them options so they can discover what they like or not.

  2. Dardo has always gravitated towards boy-toys - we have buckets and drawers full of trains, trucks, planes ... don't get me started on the collection of match box cars (in return for good behaviour at the supermarket, he gets to choose a car for himself ... we go shopping once or twice a week, which equals a whole lot of cars!).

    And then last week when we went shopping ... he chose a Barbie. "Mama, I want princess."

    When did Barbie get built-in flowery underpants?

  3. I like to offer my son and daughter toys a variety of toys but my son goes for the cars every time! Occasionally he'll give a doll a cuddle, but then he usually pops it into the boot of his car and rides away!

  4. My 4yo daughter loves Handy Manny, and Mickey Mouse, they're pretty mid-range, but doesn't like the very girly shows or the very boy shows. Have to say, this is fine with me, I wouldn't know what to do with a girly daughter!

  5. well my are most happy playing outside in there cubby house making up games..
    my boys are most happy with tractors and more tractors and Miss A would live in the stable with her pony if allowed! Find kids are happy outside to play and make up there own games.

  6. My girl has never showed any interest in dolls, but she loves animals. She's into yellow, not pink.

    My boy plays with baby dolls (primarily though because the pram has WHEEELS!) He has always been drawn to all things vehicle.

    They both love duplo, blocks and playdough but use it very differently...

  7. I have always offered my son many different toys,from dolls to cars and from dress up clothes to foot balls.He naturally wants to play with "boy toys"
    I just don't know why.My husband and I have no preferences about anything like what we want him to play with or what we want him to grow up to be yet he seems to be playing with all the typical boy toys!
    My niece is so girly and only wants girly toys even though my sister tries to get her interested in different toys.It's just so strange.

  8. Lego all the way hey? :)

    I hate any stereotyping, and deliberaely bought greens and reds for my nephew, no blues. \

    I'm gonna mess with my kids so badly.

  9. This is such an interesting topic, thanks for sharing your story. I must admit I was always a tomboy so when my daughter was born, there was a part of my completely terrified of the girly girl! But I figure, whatever she likes, I'll encourage as long as its healthy and promotes imagination, social play etc. So far she loves playing with her cars and trucks equally as well as changing her dolls nappies and tucking them into bed. And if only you saw the smile on her face riding her cousins motorbike! Incidentally the twin boy cousins were equally offered cars and dolls and were quite happy playing with both. They still prefer the motorbike though, so there may be a family trait of adventurers :)


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