Are Princess Toys Just for Girls
Asking the question are princess toys just for girls is essentially the same as asking if any toys can or should be just for girls or just for boys.
In one sense it would seem crazy to think that any child shouldn't be able to play with whatever toys they choose. Boys can certainly play with dolls and kitchens and other toys that might traditionally be seen as girls toys, and likewise, there's absolutely no reason you wouldn't get your daughter a tool kit or action figures.
And yet if you walk into most toy stores it's painfully obvious that certain toys are specifically aimed at either boys or girls which certainly implies they are designed to be gender-specific and could in fact limit children's choices.
There is no inherent reason why boys wouldn't want to play with princesses and no reason at all why it shouldn't be encouraged if they do. And yet somehow it seems almost pre-destined that there comes a point where many girls gravitate towards more gendered pink toys and boys learn that these are girls toys.
It feels a shame that little boys should feel they can't play with these toys. Or that they might be shamed out of doing so by parents, grandparents, other children or even toy stores. There is no reason why all kids should love crafts, role play, dress up, small world play and transport toys. And yet it appears to be very hard to keep toys or anything else completely gender-neutral without imposing it upon kids.
It would seem that there has been a move away from toys being just for boys with being perfectly acceptable for girls to play with lego and superheroes but flipped the other way there is still a lot of very gendered toys in many traditional toy shops.
We really do think that toys are toys. There are no boys toys and there are no girls toys. Just toys that are designed to be played with, mostly by children, but in our experience adults love them too.
Thankfully there are some amazing ethical toymakers that make toys that all children can love and enjoy. We love Rubens Barn Dolls that have both male and female dolls. And yes some of the girls are wearing pretty pink dresses and there's nothing wrong with that. But you'll also find them in blue dungarees.
Likewise there are lots of dolls houses available that aren't purely pink in colour that will appeal more to both genders. And these toys are by no means too girly. And in fact, if they love dragons and knights then the likelihood is they'll appreciate adding a princess to their collection.
Do Boys and Girls Naturally Prefer Different Toys?
We live in a society where it could be easy to think that children have a natural preference towards certain types of toys but the studies are anything but conclusive. While some studies suggest that boys have a preference for wheeled toys and girls have a preference for dolls others show no difference between the sexes until they reach a certain age which would suggest that nurture may have as much to do with preferences as nurture.
Next Up: The Benefits of Playing With Princess Toys