Toddler toys: Gender specific or free-for-all-anything-goes?


We recently stopped by the Treasure Trove Thrift Shop at Mainz Kastel, a great place to donate and consign clothes and household items for area military folks.  We finally opened a consignment account, although we also dropped off a bunch of stuff since we moved to our new home.  Since Bella was with us, it was tough to ignore the different things available.  She spotted this Barbie Grand Hotel dollhouse (missing a frot door, but otherwise in great condition after a quick rinse with the garden hose and brush) and for $20, Bella had a nice sized dollhouse.  She’s had little playsets in the past (farms, Sesame Street) but this is the first true dollhouse, pink and very girly.  Not that I have anything against girly toys… I just find it interesting to see her gravitate naturally to it. 

You see, her imagination right now at 3 years old, is focused on playacting, make believe pals, talking through scenarios.  At preschool, they have an area for housekeeping play.  All the kids love playing there.  She also loves playing with little cars and toy dinosaurs.  One of her favorite shows is PBS’ Dinosaur Train.  The Cars movies are among her favorites and she absolutely adores Tow Mater.  We haven’t purposely mixed up her toys one way or another…we just let her play. 

So it is interesting that her choices for toys and play could be considered more feminine, like baby girl dolls and playing mommy.  Also her fave color choices for clothing are usually pink and lately, she’s been favoring floral sundresses, like the one in the photo above.  She picked that dress while we were shopping a couple of weeks ago.  Ok, her closet is mostly pinks, with a bunch of neutral basics like brown and gray pants and leggings.  So her selection is already prepicked, for easy mix and match.  Yet when I asked her what are boys’ colors, she readily says blue. 

More about makebelieve play…Here at home, she’s been begging us to finally put together a great pastel kitchen that was a gift from her Tita Marilyn.  It is inadvertently being used to test her patience and as a teaching moment for waiting…as in good things go to those who wait.  Our problem is really  where to place it.  It took me a month to clear 90% of the big open area and work out play areas for her that flowed.  So that’s the next big Bella project…it has a thousand pieces (kidding, only a couple hundred) so needs a few hours.  With papa at work a lot lately, time is limited.  I guess sleep could be ignored to build it.  Natch!

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