I have two girls and a boy and since they’ve been tiny, I’ve been making a conscious effort to teach them that they’re equal, regardless of their gender. I never knew what a feminist I was until I had kids and realised that pretty much from the minute they’re born, girls are being pigeon holed into a pink box covered in glitter. So I try every day to treat the kids equally and let play time be play time. My son plays with dolls and toy kitchens just as much as the girls play with cars, light sabres and lego. Books, Play Doh, colouring, building blocks – they’ve all been firm favourites since the beginning. Of course they all have their more “typical” preferences too – the girls have loved Frozen and himself has become obsessed with Star Wars. That’s all fine – but I want them to know that their toys don’t define them. I want them to play imaginatively and realise that they can be anything they want to be. So I’ve put together a list of stocking fillers and toys that have this ethos in mind – just in case anyone else is interested. You can get most of them locally or online and if you order today, you should have on time for Christmas.
Books are a firm favourite in this house and always have been. This year I’ve bought a few different ones – Lidl have general encyclopaedia type ones at the moment that are great for kids who never stop asking questions. They have ones based on animals, technology and the universe – I know my 7-year-old will love them.
I picked up a copy of Dara O’Briain’s new kids’ book – Beyond the Sky, the Universe and You as well. I heard him being interviewed about it on radio recently and it sounds fun, educational and like I’d learn lots from it myself. Win, win. You’ll be able to get this in any local bookshop.
There are loads of great kids books about women in sport, women in science and women who changed the world. And of course imaginative stories with brilliant female characters. Check your local bookshop and Amazon have a whole host of books with positive female characters. https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=feminist+books+for+kids&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Afeminist+books+for+kids
My kids love playing dress up. We have a whole range of costumes and they love pretending to be their heroes. George has even donned an Elsa costume on more than one occasion. Tessa recently received this cool super hero dress from her Godfather. It’s from Marks and Spencer and she absolutely loves it. http://www.marksandspencer.ie/Kids’-Heroic-Fancy-Dress-Up/000000060110717001,en_IE,pd.html?extid=ps_ggl_IE_PLA&ef_id=Wjfm-AAABFEbO@Fd:20171218160412:s
Speaking of female super heroes, Hallmark recently launched a series of soft toys depicting some pretty cool and heroic girls – Super Girl, Wonder Woman, Bat Girl and Harley Quinn. These are all in the Itty Bitty range – perfectly sized for stocking fillers. I’ll be putting one in each of their stockings – even George needs a female super hero in his life. You can buy them on Amazon or Hallmark have some shops in Ireland too. Find your nearest one here. http://www.hallmark.co.uk/itty-bittys/superherogirls/
Another thing I got this year that looks pretty cool is the DIY Electro Dough Kit from Tech Will Save Us. My kids are mad about experimenting, making slime, building volcanoes – anything that they can get properly stuck into. With this kit, you to make your own dough with household items and then use electronic components to learn how electricity flows through a circuit. Then the dough comes alive with LEDs and buzzers. https://www.techwillsaveus.com/shop/electro-dough-kit-new/
Little packets of generic lego are also good. We do love Star Wars Lego and Frozen Lego, don’t get me wrong. But the original lego from my childhood – all the colourful, no nonsense stuff – is still available and still fab. I plan on picking some up in the local toy shop this week.
Apart from the above, I also got jellies, chocolate coins, crayons, colour books and new toothbrushes for their stockings – they’ll definitely need the toothbrushes after all the sweets anyway!
Let me know if you have any gender-neutral toys that you’re getting this year in the comments.