Okay that’s a crazy title in this world of controversy about labeling toys by gender. But I can’t help it. Boys DO like to play with great toys that are being marketed to girls to build their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. Don’t get me wrong. I’m very supportive of high quality toys and games designed to build those skills in girls and interest them in science related careers. The science of speech pathology as well as the ability to help people is what drew me to my profession and keeps me excited and interested in current research. Let me give you three examples from my play experience with kids.
Wonderhood’s Grand Hotel and Corner Shops Creative Building Sets provide kids with designing experience and storytelling practice as they experiment with different configurations of the many illustrated panels, placing the stairs, elevator, pool, Snack Bar, and Kids’ Club for starters. It’s great fun to watch a group of boys collaborate over where to take the design next in their group build. Our guys got into it physically and verbally as they climbed across the table to get the pieces they needed for their model. I loved watching them move around and offer up pieces suggesting where they should go (in the space to the left of the elevator) and what they represented–Candy Store, Party House!
Build and Imagine sets have been a big draw for boys that I have worked with in speech therapy. These sets have been the single best pretend play set for building language in my little clients. They especially liked “Creativity Castle,” “Malia’s House,” and “The Fairy Tale Theater.” The magnetic, illustrated themed story walls snap together for easy on-off experimentation while designing a house, castle, stage, marina or pet studio. The stand up characters are boy and girl while the many magnetic props that attach to the walls are in appealing categories to both genders.
K’NEX’s “Mighty Maker” series are dominated by bright pink and purple pieces but that doesn’t stop the boys from constructing. Mighty Maker’s Director’s Cut Building Set features a stage with curtains that open and close, ready for boys and girls to put on a show. With stop-action movies popular with kids, this stage and building pieces are a perfect set for creating an original movie or putting on a play!