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Monday, May 23, 2016

PLAY CATEGORIES TO INCLUDE FOR EVERY TODDLER/CHILD



I see this comment made a lot- "I'm a boy mom". In fact, there are even t-shirts that I see being advertised on Facebook saying "Boy Mom". There's nothing wrong with the statement- if you have boys, you are in fact a "boy mom". I guess as a "girl mom" sometimes the context bothers me a bit. We are creating the very gender roles in society that many complain about later in life. We start them at such a young age by saying phrases such as "boy mom" in a certain context.

Here's an example I've seen a lot lately. As many of you know, I've been turned on to these amazing, soft leggings from LuLaRoe. Well, there is a new, very popular print out, that has roads and cars on it (pictured above). I am not a fan of these as something to wear, but many moms are. When asked why they like them, their response is "I'm a boy mom, you wouldn't understand". I am pretty sure that any toddler (boy or girl), would love the print on these leggings. Most toddlers are fascinated with big trucks, school buses, tractors, etc. It is not a "boy" thing. My little girl loves trucks and tractors. She points out every school bus, UPS truck, and semi that she sees on the road. She looks at the tractors at daddy's work. This isn't a "boy" thing, unless we make it to be. It is a toddler thing. 

I have moms ask me for recommendations on girl friendly "boy toys". Maybe pink tractors, a purple football, or a pink set of engineering blocks. WHY must our girl toys be pink? And why must boy toys not be pink? Boys aren't born disliking pink, and girls aren't born loving pink. It is all what we make it.

Anyways...rant over.

Here's my message. Please expose your kids to everything, and try not to label things as "girl" or "boy" as you teach your children. Your child doesn't like the above leggings because he is a boy. He likes them because he is a child, and they look like a fun play mat to drive cars and trucks on.

My daughter is going to be exposed to sports, playing in the dirt, tractors, cars, building things, etc. She will also be exposed to every color of the rainbow (including pink AND blue). She will be exposed to dolls and dancing. We'll continue with the things she's most interested in. Follow your child's interests and not your own, or what society deems to be "girl" or "boy".

So, in the spirit of exposing our children to all things, here are a few ideas that both girls and boys will appreciate and should be exposed to. I try to incorporate each of these categories as much as I can throughout Caroline's playtime (not every day, but over the course of a week). I've listed some ideas for each of the categories. Caroline is 1.5 years old, so my ideas are geared toward this age, but obviously can become more challenging for older children, or broken down to be even more simple for the babies!




  1. Arts/Crafts
    Ideas: painting using washable kids paint, drawing with markers/crayons/pens/pencils, sidewalk chalk, water paint books, doodle pro, sticker books
  2. Science/Nature
    Ideas: go outside for nature walks, scavenger hunts, play in the dirt, splash in the rain and in puddles, sandbox play, water tables, simple science experiments, playground, rolling down hills, lawn mower toy, pull weeds
  3. Home/Family
    Ideas: cleaning (broom & vacuum toys), cooking, play kitchen, picking up, cuddles, hugs and kisses, taking care of a stuffed animal or doll, playing together, tickles
  4. Books/Puzzles
    Ideas: independent "reading", reading together, wooden puzzles, alphabet puzzles, number activities, color activities, shapes, etc.
  5. Building/Finding
    Ideas: duplos, stacking blocks and cups, spot it books, scavenger hunts (indoor and out), straws and marshmallow tower construction
  6. Sports/Dance
    Ideas: play with soccer balls, footballs, etc., dance to music and/or music videos, climbing practice, running, jumping, skipping, somersaults, swimming, t-ball, golf set


There are so many more fun ideas and ways to incorporate all of the above categories into your child's life! It is so important that we expose our children to each of the categories. That way we can see what our child's true interests and strengths are.

For more play ideas, check out the following posts:
Play Ideas & Outings for a 1 Year Old

Sensory Activities

Incorporating Independent Play







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