School-age

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picks

Tired of the same old superheroes and pink princesses? These smart gender-neutral toys bust sugar-and-spice stereotypes and invite everyone to play.

By Sasha Emmons

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picks

Photo: iStockphoto

Gender-Neutral Toys

No pinkwashing here!

Your daughter might have her heart set on a fairy princess dress, and who’s going to deny her? However, with a little extra effort, you can scout out products beyond the pink aisle to counteract some of the sexist marketing messages foisted upon both girls and boys. These eight toys with a focus on creativity invite everyone to play.

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picksPhoto: iStockphoto

GoldieBlox

This company hit the big time with its ultra-viral commercial, which features a trio of precocious girls creating a monster Rube Goldberg contraption, as a feminist version of the Beastie Boys’ “Girls” blares. The GoldieBlox product behind the hype is similarly awesome: construction toys which play out in many ways, and come paired with a story.

Where to buy?
GoldieBlox, $20-$30, goldieblox.com

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picksPhoto: GoldieBlox

LEGO/LEGO Friends

LEGO is the classic building toy — and a kid obsession since 1932. The launch of LEGO Friends in 2012 stirred controversy with its introduction of taller, thinner figures and stereotypical emphasis on pink and purple. Still, LEGO Friends, like the original LEGO, is a solid product, with tons of engaging detail and a backstory starring female characters.

While some of the accessories, like the beauty shop or fashion studio, play to traditional roles, you can easily choose more gender-neutral ones, like the invention workshop or the tree house. And of course, there’s always original LEGO. 

Where to buy? 
LEGO, $3.50-$400, mastermindtoys.com

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picksPhoto: Mastermind Toys

Rainbow Loom

While it might be more popular with girls, boys are catching on to this year’s top toy, too. After all, anyone can enjoy the satisfaction of stringing together candy-colored rubber bands and then pulling them off the loom to create bracelets, keychains and pen grips.

Where to buy?
Mastermind, $19, mastermindtoys.com

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picksPhoto: Mastermind

Blabla Dolls

Dolls teach empathy and nurturing through pretend play — lessons that benefit both genders. These cuddly knit dolls come in both male and female varieties (many are animals), and you can add on cool costumes like superhero, chef or clown. Bonus: This is one cute doll that won’t be an eyesore on the toy shelf.

Where to buy?
Blabla Kids, $44-$56, blablakids.com

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picksPhoto: Blabla Kids

Hummingbird Robotics Kit

Who doesn’t want to build a robot? These kits for kids aged 10 and older are splurge-y but come with real engineering materials, like sensors, LEDs, motors and circuit boards. The end result can be a dragon, dog or anything your kid can dream up. 

Where to buy?
Hummingbird Robotics, $199, hummingbirdkit.com

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picksPhoto: Hummingbird Robotics

Art Tub

The urge to create is alive in every child, and arts-and-crafts supplies are perfect tools for expressing it. While many crafty projects seem geared toward girls, there are plenty of gender-neutral options, like this box of more than 160 artsy goodies. 

Where to buy?
Cra-Z-Art, $15, canadiantire.ca

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picksPhoto: Amazon

Roominate

Like GoldieBlox, this line of construction toys is geared toward getting girls hooked on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Roominate kits let kids build dollhouses with stackable rooms, which they can then trick out with lights and motorized fans.

Where to buy?
Roominate Toy, $30, roominatetoy.com

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picksPhoto: Roominate

Scrabble

Everyone can play when it comes to board games, which stealthily educate as they entertain, and are usually gender-neutral. Scrabble reinforces reading, spelling and focus in both boys and girls.

Where to buy?
Hasbro, $15, walmart.ca

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picksPhoto: Walmart

More games and gaming ideas

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Wondering which console to buy for your family? Don’t know what the coolest new video games for kids are this year? We do!

Gender-neutral toys: 8 great picksPhoto: Nintendo and Warner Bros

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