This section of the website will provide you with ideas and activities to Play. All children love to play and be active. Playing helps children and families feel happy, healthy and connected.
Playing is a very important way that children develop and learn about the world. The good news is that there are many ways a child can play. Children need to have lots of different play experiences to help with their learning and development.
Some of the skills that can develop through play include:
It is important for boys and girls to develop in all these areas. Often children become limited to what they can play with, or how they play because of gender stereotypes. For example, toys focused on action, construction and technology are usually marketed to boys, while toys that are about caring and arts and crafts are marketed to girls. Sadly, both boys and girls are missing out. There are a few campaigns that have been working on trying to change this Nationally and Internationally. Have a look at their great work below.
Let your child play with what they love. Kids shouldn’t learn that certain toys are off limits for them because of their gender.
In this section you will also learn about our friends Play Unlimited who have been doing great work over the past 5 years. They have been raising awareness of how marketing toys as ‘girls’ or ‘boys’ toys is affecting what children think is okay to play with as a boy or girl.
Below is a list of tools and resources that you can view online and use. If you have any ideas for further resources that you would like added to the list, please contact us and let us know!
- Play Unlimited (AUS): Play Unlimited is an organisation working to eliminate the gendered marketing of children’s toys and to promote the idea that children should be encouraged to learn through the widest possible range of play experiences. The website includes some great articles about gendered marketing and its impacts, and how this can be addressed. A list of retailers ‘doing it right’ is also supplied.
- No Gender December (AUS): The campaign, run by advocacy group Play Unlimited, seeks to make consumers more aware about the impacts gendered marketing has on children, and encourages non-gendered gifts.
- Let Toys Be Toys (UK): A campaign and website which advocates for toy and publishing industries to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys. The website promotes resources for educators and parents about gender stereotypes, and gives a list of recommended retailers and books that challenge stereotypes.
- A Mighty Girl Online Toy Store: A Mighty Girl is the world’s largest collection of books, toys, movies, and music for parents, educators and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls.The toy section features over 2,500 high-quality, girl empowering toys.
- Raising Rebels: Raising Rebels is a one-stop, all-inclusive hub for anyone who wants to empower children to challenge limiting and damaging gender stereotypes in the UK. They have a list of awesome toys, games and apps that break the norm.
- What Disney Princesses Teach Girls: YouTube video that showcases the portrayal of women in disney, and how little it has changed over the years.
- Common Sense Media: It is the leading independent nonprofit organisation dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. They empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives. They help families make smart media choices by offering the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music.
- Putting Children First Playing Fair – Gender Equity in Child Care: This document includes strategies and practical ideas for promoting gender equity in early childhood services, ideas for challenging gender play and patterns, and strategies for conversations with children.
- Sexism, Strength and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney films: YouTube Video that showcases the portrayal of masculinity offered in Disney films.
- Raising Children Network Play Ideas: This website has a range of articles about different types of play that you can do with your child.
- Rainbow Families: How Children Play: Challenging myths and stereotypes and has suggestions for encouraging family diversity in play and questioning gender stereotypes.
- Play Unlimited Research: This part of the website has a whole range of articles and research about the importance on breaking down gender in play.
- Level Playground Big Dreams Colouring Book: Big Dreams is a 7-page colouring book packed full of illustrations that encourage children to be free to follow their dreams. The colouring book was created as part of an art project undertaken by EDVOS with students at Ringwood Secondary College. The students participated in a discussion about gender inequality and the specific issues it creates for both boys and girls when exposed to rigid gender stereotypes.
- Level Playground Outdoor Scavenger Hunt: This fact sheet is a great activity that avoids gender stereotypes. The bonus is that you can create a new scavenger hunt weekly. It’s a good way to keep the children busy while promoting active play.
- Let Toys Be Toys Gift Guides: Let Toys be Toys have created 9 gift guides that will help you choose an appropriate toy for someone special.
- Fisher-Price Online Activities: Have a range of interesting play and learn ideas available online. You can select your child’s age and most of the “play and learn” activities they suggest use materials you probably already have at home. The activities come with step-by-step instructions and highlight the learning skills your child will be developing while having fun with you.
- Fisher-Price Craft Activities: These craft ideas will give your child the chance to explore textures, colours and shapes through fun arts and crafts for kids. Each of the simple activities for kids has a list of materials, step-by-step instructions, and a list of skills it develops, making it easy for you to select and facilitate projects. They’re fun for families, so pick crafts for kids that you can do together.
- Fisher-Price Apps: Fisher-Price have a range of Apps available for your children. They’re designed for the way kids play today and are based on learning concepts.
- Today Tonight Segment on Gendered Toys: This YouTube clip of the segment shows how toy catalogues can effect children.
- Toca Boca Apps for Play:Toca Boca create digital toys and everyday products that are filled with fun and silliness that kids from any corner of the world can instantly relate to. The bonus is that they are non-gendered! Toca Bocas values are awesome with a highlight being that they encourage kids to be whoever they want to be. Everyone fits in and stands out!
- Common Sense Media: Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organisation dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. They empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives. They help families make smart media choices by offering the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music.
- 20 Independent Play Activities for Kids: Think or Blue have created this incredible guide that uses the materials you already have in your house, and helps you use them in a slightly different way. Each activity takes 5 minutes or less to set up – some only about 30 seconds!
- Freestyle Kids Online Store: Freestyle Kids is an online shop that have a range of toys that do not focus on gender. The range includes unique toys, educational toys, wooden toys, old-world toys and have a growing range of eco-friendly family focused products.
- Fisher-Price Australia: Is a toy brand that does not portray gender bias in their online store. The toys and games are arranged by category or age, not by gender.
- IKEA Australia: The children’s range at IKEA is bright, safe and fun. The toys motivate children to develop gross and fine motor skills, social skills and logical thinking, through role play, imagination, creativity and movement.
- Good Toys for Young Children by Age and Stage- National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (USA): This website has information on the best toys based on the age and level of the child. It can help you figure out what is best for your child.
- Why this Toy? National Association for the Education of Young Children (USA): Choose toys that help children learn and grow. This article contains useful tips for choosing the best types of toys for children’s enjoyment.
- Atlantic Article: Toys are more Gendered Than 50 Years Ago: This article explains how toy catalogues are more gendered than 50 years ago.
- Women in the Media Article: How Gender-Specific Toys Can Negatively Impact a Child’s Development: Article from Women in the World on how toys can impact a child and how Target (USA’s) have removed gender based labels in some of their aisles.
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