Options for my Girl

OK, this insanity has to stop. My life? No, not that- I can’t do anything about that. I meant the horrendous offerings in the toy department for children of the female persuasion.

Abby’s second birthday is fast coming upon me (can you believe it?!) and I ran out today to try and find her something to unwrap. Holy. Crap. We don’t even need to delve into the sad pickings for non-hoochie clothes for little girls- but the toy offering, people- the toys- they are horrible.

Let’s see… She can play with dolls that look like hookers, she can use pretend make-up to make herself look like a hooker, she can use dress-ups with heels and hoochie clothes to pretend she is a hooker, or she can have things that mimic housekeeping and being a maid. Hmmm. What do I want for my daughter? What do I want for my daughter….?

Now in all fairness, Target did have some cute gardening tools and non-specific-sex colored learning toys. But they were out of almost all of them. When you compare the things offered for boys with that for girls, it’s really disheartening. While I haven’t been a bra-burning feminist for a loooong time, I am dismayed that my daughter’s choices, at least in the marketing department of the big toy companies, is so sadly limited.

Why aren’t dart-tag games and gliders and active toys packaged to appeal to girls too? Why do the games that require running and jumping and using their wonderful little muscles right next to the glitter and pinkness of dollies that poop and eat and make my girl a mama long before her time? (oh, I know- girls like playing house- that’s all good; my boys love to iron, and I encourage it…)

Anyone have any suggestions? Or just want to rant with me?

30 thoughts on “Options for my Girl

  1. First!!

    Trains are great. (Fisher Price GeoTrax) My girls and boy love them. Toy kitchens have been a hit with both as well, but I believe you have one of them doodads already.

    If you buy new food, or new gear, the kitchen becomes a whole new toy.

    For a two year old, I remember just buying a few balls and that’s it. Maybe a big Etch N Sketch. Dress-ups came about a year later for us, and then the princess thing hits. And WOW! But the princesses are not hoochie wear, mostly, just sparkly. The Barbie princesses can kick some serious butt, too.

    Stay away from all things Bratz. Pukey.

    I’m actually encouraged that the gender neutral learning stuff was almost sold out, while the hoochie wear was rotting on the shelves. That shows what people want, and maybe the market will respond soon.

  2. My two year old daughter’s most favoritest thing ever is books. She also loves wooden puzzles and blocks. Some of her favorite toys are from the dollar store, like those little plastic animals—she loves lining them all up and sorting them by color or animal—and a plastic echo microphone. She has almost no interest in baby dolls yet, but she does love to wheel around her sister’s doll stroller sans baby.

    I also second the trains and kitchen stuff.

    Bratz are of the devil.

  3. Buy her the “boy toys”. She won’t know, at least for a few more years. Then you can start stressing about it, and hopefully by then you’ll have a less stressful life and can handle it easier.

    My 3 yo girl loves little animals, too. And blocks.

  4. We have blocks for my girls and both my girls loves this magnet fishing puzzles we got at Target when mine was two.

    My husband would say buy the boy toys if they’re what you want, but my daughters also sleep in shark and dragon pajamas by their choosing.

  5. Ok… that must be the reason that Lu is always trying to dress herself like a hooker… and she doesn’t even know it is slutty. It is what she sees! Bratz are my nemisis.

    For two year olds, we loved Aquadoodle (the giant floor sized one is awesome, but then Jacob killed it…so beware). We also found that was a good age to introduce the Barbie movies (they are great for boys and girls..and they would make even a feminist mamma smile…Barbie does NOT need a prince). I’d start with Princess and the Pauper (great music) and one of the rainbow fairy ones. They are 5.50 at Target. My kids LOVE these…..

    DId you know that FIsher Price has repackaged and revamped their “classic” toys that we all grew up with? The rings, the phone that you can pull, etc. They come in pink or blue. How about gendar neutral?

    P.S. Two is also the age that my kids became obsessed with the play doll stroller. It is the doll version of an umbrella stroller–it costs about 7 dollars and is THE MOST fought over toy in my house a play group. The two year olds can still sit in it (and her brothers can push her) and play “mamma”.

    GOOD LUCK!

  6. Becca turned 2 last month, and I purchased for her the Fisher Price Little People House and her grandparents bought her the barn. They have been a huge hit with all my kids. Thank goodness for some decent toy choices.

  7. If she’s getting into dress up what about hitting a DI or goodwill and buying some clothes that you could turn into dress-up clothes for her. Get a box, dress that up too, put the clothes into and the has her own costume box. My kids at the age also loved the fisher price little people, we got Noah’s Ark for the son when he turned 2, and my in-laws got him a trike, both big hits. I made dd a baby carrier (like a moses basket) for Christmas last year along with several little receiving blankets for her babies, she loved that too. Good luck.

  8. It’s pitiful out there! For Little Miss I did find some magnetic “paper” dolls. They went over pretty well, but I think your little abby is still a bit young for them. As far as clothes, Oliver and S is who I recommend. Liesel of Disdressed fame is the creator of Oliver and S. She designs clothes for little kids that are just perfect, and then makes patterns for them so you can make them yourself! Trying to dress her own children was the impetus behind the newly launched pattern company.

  9. I second the Fisher Price farm or doll house, age two is when my kids really got into it… I remember Lu always put the “daddy on the potty”. Her doll daddy spent a lot of time in there, ironic b/c it wasn’t like her IRL daddy did…..

    Norah (20 months) is obsessed with her house now. Good one. I never put the batteries in the farm b/c I couldn’t handle the sounds… just FYI..

  10. I don’t know who E is… maybe it was just in jest, but, um… wow. From the outside looking in, that was uncalled for.
    I bought my little girl a Snap and Style doll when she was two. They have fun hair, cute clothes and the best part? They can put the clothes on by themselves! Easy snap on and off… you can get extra clothes sets – everything from snowboarding to soccer to karate to ballet! Baby Girl is 4 now and still loves these dolls…
    http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=2180&e=thumbnail&pcat=snap_n_style

  11. OOoooh. I second the stroller thing. BEST TOY EVER. Kids love pushing babies in strollers.

    And I thought E’s comment was hilarious. I am so going to hell.

  12. I feel for you. There really is a lot of junk out there! My son just turned 2, and I’m sure a lot of the things he got, and girl would enjoy–the Leap Frog Letter magnets (that tell you what sound the letters make–he also got the movie that sings the same songs for Christmas), blocks (our friend actually gave us the generic version of Jenga–they are fun for building, or actually playing the game), play food and dishes, small wooden cars and trains, books, and puzzles.
    Good luck!!

  13. The funny thing about 2 year olds is, you can spend all kinds of money on neat toys, and they’ll just want to play with the pot and pan lids in the kitchen.

    The toy stroller was always popular in the nursery. Other than that, it was mostly the little figure toys. One looked like the ugliest robotic fly you can imagine, but to one of the little girls it was a beautiful butterfly.

    Kids are so awesome.

  14. And THAT is why we called you with our joke the other day instead of putting it here….
    I know you thought it waz teh funny though.

    Bratz, single handedly responsible for an entire generation of girls wearing lip liner 3 shades darker than their lipstick. Seriously, that should be their new slogan.
    Yes Wiz, you are, but for far worse things than laughing at E’s joke ;) And if E is who I think he is than he’s got the okay to say whatever.

  15. My son turns 2 in July, and I’m so stealing some of these ideas (i.e. wooden puzzles and finger paints).

    Also, why not a little basketball or tee ball set. The Fisher Price ones are fairly gender neutral…

  16. Hmmm, sorry I’m no help to you here. I just needed to be included in some adult conversation! Oh wait…what about puppets do people make puppets still?

  17. So here’s my poverty tip of the day. For a young child, buy great wrapping paper, wrap up her favorite toys, wrap up a few of her favorite snacks, wrap up her favorite clothes. She will be in unwrapping HEAVEN.

    Things that cost money (but not too much):

    Homemade playdough is cheap and fun (for kids).

    Art supplies. My favorite new art supply is something called silky crayons which are like oil pastels, but water soluble. Even little kids get a lot of oomph for their scribbles.

    Dress up stuff. Garage sale finds have been some of monkeys’ favorites. There’s this burgundy house robe that has been joyfully clothing royalty around here for ten years. 50 cents.

    Those little cardboard boxes that stack inside each other. We’ve had three set of those over the years. Lillian Vernon’s lasted the longest.

    For fake food, take empty cardboard food boxes and wrap with clear packing tape. Empty spice jars are fun too if they aren’t glass.

    By the way, my baby monkey is the same age as yours, but is wearing a size 4T. chances are we have some hand-me downs if you want them. Email me if you do. :)

  18. Amen Sister! Bratz dolls have always been out of the question in our house. SOme people think it is all in fun but kids are acting out their dreams with those toys! And I don’t want my daughters dreams to be made up of pink glitter boas and foot high wedge heels.

    My kids all love WEbkins, your little one is probably too small for them but I thought I’d throw it out there anyway. They go on the net for 10 min to play then it fuels their imagination for the rest of the day while they play with the actual toy.

  19. Melissa, I’m sorry to have offended you. Mo Mommy, I can’t be whoever you think I am because I am a she, not a he. And of course I don’t support hooking as an acceptable career choice.

  20. E, she thought you were my brother- and he would certainly say something like that, and we would all laugh.

    Melissa, it caused me just a second of pause when I realized it wasn’t my brother, but it’s all OK. I know no one wishes my daughter was a hooker. :)

  21. Hi Tracy,
    After 2 girls and then a boy, I hear ya on the gender stereotypes… they need to just stop! Stop being said by neighbors, strangers at the grocery store, and the toys/clothes sold. I do love Target but generally don’t buy “girlie” stuff or “boy” stuff for any of my kids. They all love puzzles and arts/crafts stuff. (sidenote: they’re 4, 2 1/2, 1) Playskool (why can’t they spell is right??) makes some fabulous cars that are kind-of a soft, mushy plastic that are a hit around here… http://www.target.com/Playskool-Wheel-Vehicles-5-pk-Assortment/dp/B000WKV3L8/sr=1-2/qid=1208957071/ref=sr_1_2/602-1972462-0558247?ie=UTF8&index=target&rh=k%3Aplayskool%20cars&page=1
    Also trikes and ride-ons, or sand & water tables.

    Okay, since I apparently can’t stop… I also cannot stand all of the character stuff. I don’t mind some Sesame Street here and there, but the rest is just too much! Let’s mark-up our prices because we added a Dora sticker instead of a flower sticker. Drives me nuts! And then the kids walk into the store and want every recognizeable character they see! AHHH!!!

    Thanks for letting me rant and rave with you this morning… now I don’t have to blog about it myself. ;)

  22. As a mother of 4 boys and one poor little girl looking for some girlie toys that don’t make her parents and siblings want to puke–so with you. It’s all pink plastic crap on the girl aisles.

    The best Christmas gift my kids got was a teeny three-drawer plastic chest–like five inches high–with crayons, fat markers, and skinny markers. Maybe not right for a 2yo though.

  23. I say “AMEN” to Jami’s idea of rewrapping old toys…she’s two, she won’t care and she’ll still have fun.

    When my kids were little they loved blocks. Dad bought 4×4 lumber and then just cut it himself into cubes, rectangles, triangles, etc. He sanded them to perfection (soft finish with slightly rounded edges) with an electric sander and put them all in a wagon. No stain, no paint, no sealer, just sanded raw wood. It was a favourite toy FOR YEARS. No one had BIG blocks, just those tiny ones from Toys R Us.

    You could add ‘pipes’ or cylinders by cutting up wooden curtain rods or doweling. Other shapes could be made just by letting your imagination run wild in the lumber department! A little work for little expense!

  24. Let’s see…favorite toys we’ve owned (both daughters and sons):

    -Any water toy
    -Clown bean-bag toss (from Amazon)
    -Any playdough toy
    -Spy gear (the periscope is the current favorite of the two younger ones)
    -Travel Tracks (from Discovery Toys)
    -Harmonica
    -Toy kitchen/dishes/food
    -Kid-size garden tools & seed packets (even if they don’t thrive, it’s fun for them to water their own plants and watch them grow)
    -Sea Monkey City & magnifying glass
    -Littlest Petshop (my boys like these too)
    -Huge floor puzzles
    -Robot dinosaurs
    -Robot anything
    -Playmobil sets (especially the pirate ship)
    -Snowcone maker

  25. …of course, if she’s two, some of those items I listed won’t be appreciated for another year or two. I bet she’d like a giant beach ball.

  26. My daughter LOVED to play dress up at age 2, but if some of the clothes you’ve seen are too hoochie…maybe you could sew her a few dress up things? Make her a few cool dress-up pieces and put them in a nice box or trunk and its like a treasure chest!!! Or check out Etsy and see if they have anything cool…I have seen some adorable handmade felt food for a play kitchen, as well as some cute little wooden dolls and other stuff like that. I think its a great alternative to all the crazy, glitter-covered stuff at Toys R US!!!

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