I’ve always been an advocate for boys having a go at female orientated toys and vice versa. I hate how advertising catalogues still have ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ pages with photos of boys playing with cars and girls with dolls.
Despite this, I have to admit there seem to be inherent differences between boys and girls. It’s becoming more and more evident within the Mums’ Group I attend that the boys have different patterns of behaviour, and interest in different activities, to the girls.
There are three girls in our group, my daughter included, and all of them developed, at about 15 months, an attachment to dolls. All of them now have a ‘comfort’ doll or teddy. None of the boys have one though. This comes despite the mums not advocating for or disallowing dolls or teddies. It just seems to have come naturally.
The boys often go for things like cars and blocks, while the girls are more interested in imaginative play. The boys are into climbing and running while the girls have greater language acquisition and focus on books.
I’ve found this really fascinating when the boys and girls have the choice of all of these things but gravitate to traditional roles. At home, I give my daughter the opportunity to play with everything from cars to dolls but she still spends much more time on the dolls than on the cars – purely by her own choice.
So it brings me to raise the good old nature versus nurture debate? How much of what our children play with is due to what they’re encouraged to do and how much is instinctive?