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25 New Gender-Neutral Toys

The gender division of toys is something that parents always complain about, but toy companies continue to perpetuate. “Girly” toys are plastered with pink and involve baking or nurturing, while “boy-ish” toys include something you can shoot, build, or destroy — sometimes all three. And nowhere is it more blatant than at the New York Toy Fair, where some of the big companies literally had separate rooms devoted to boy toys and girl toys.

Even LEGO caused a huge uproar at the beginning of 2012 because of their new girl-focused LEGO Friends collection. (Although that’s one of the least offensive gender-targeted toys of the year, in my opinion. Babble writer Joslyn Gray agrees.)

I think many parents see that boys and girls can have inherent gender preferences — many girls gravitate toward pretty, delicate things, while their boys want to build and knock down. But it’s these neat little boxes with clearly defined borders that parents have a problem with — the blue vs. pink, guns vs. Barbies. Although my 3-year-old son loves dragons and digging and all things construction, he also loves his doll house and is obsessed with princesses and magic wands. And although green and blue are his favorite colors, he’ll just as willingly play with pink and purple toys.

Luckily I found that a lot of the smaller, more independent companies are ditching the traditional boy vs. girl mentality, and just designing quality toys that all kids, no matter the chromosomes, will want to play with. Here are some of our favorite gender-neutral toys hitting shelves in 2012:


  • Playmobil Farm, $69.99 – $139.99 1 of 25
    Playmobil Farm, $69.99 - $139.99
    This Playmobil play set (coming in April 2012) will be just as much fun for a boy as it is for girl. The gender-neutrality actually struck me as being so spot-on when I saw it at the Toy Fair.
    Coming to Playmobil.com soon
  • Janod BodyMagnet 2 of 25
    Janod BodyMagnet
    Brand new to the U.S. market this year, this popular French company was one of my favorite finds at the Toy Fair — especially these clever educational magnet toys. Whether we're boys or girls, our anatomy is, ahem, mostly the same.
    I don't know the exact U.S. price yet (coming this Spring!), but it's selling on Eureka Kids for 29.95€.
  • Begin Again Scented Scoops, $30 3 of 25
    Begin Again Scented Scoops, $30
    Another new toy company on the scene, Begin Again is pioneering a 100% compostable material called Green Dot, which will be featured in this play food set (out towards the end of 2012).
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • B. Toys Symphony in B., $49.99 4 of 25
    B. Toys Symphony in B., $49.99
    This is an incredible new musical toy for all kids — young and old, boys and girls.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Begin Again Bathtub Ball, $22 5 of 25
    Begin Again Bathtub Ball, $22
    Made from (dishwasher-safe) natural rubber, boys and girls will happily play with this bath or pool toy, side by side.
    See more of the Best Eco-Friendly Toys of 2012
  • MiYim Dr. Seuss Lorax, $9.99 6 of 25
    MiYim Dr. Seuss Lorax, $9.99
    I'm sure your little girl loved the new Dr. Seuss The Lorax movie just as much as your little boy — and here's a toy that even you'll love. Not only is it affordable and accessible (sold at Target), but it's made from natural cotton and colored with non-toxic, low-eco-impact dyes.
    See more of the Best Toys Under $10
  • Green Toys Stackable Salad, $19.99 7 of 25
    Green Toys Stackable Salad, $19.99
    Healthy eating isn't a gender issue.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Janod Story Box, $20 – $80 8 of 25
    Janod Story Box, $20 - $80
    Traditional toy companies might market train sets for boys and role-play sets for girls, yet Janod combined the two in a variety of themes that boys and girls will equally love.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Playmobil My Take Along Vet Clinic Playset, $50.99 9 of 25
    Playmobil My Take Along Vet Clinic Playset, $50.99
    This foldable, transportable play set is filled with a 100-piece pet clinic, including kittens, puppies, and guinea pigs. I don't know about you, but my 3-year-old son would flip for this — and the animal theme is always a safe, gender-neutral choice.
    Buy from Amazon now.
  • Hape Quatro 10 of 25
    Hape Quatro
    An eco-friendly upgrade to the classic Connect 4 game idea.
    See more of the Best Eco-Friendly Toys of 2012
  • Crayola Digital Light Designer, $49.99 11 of 25
    Crayola Digital Light Designer, $49.99
    This big release from Crayola (coming in September 2012) is a digital light designer that both boys and girls can use to draw images, animate those images, and play games. Think of it as a (very) high-tech Light Brite.
    See more of the most outrageous toys of 2012
  • P’Kolino Playful Xylophone, $29.99 12 of 25
    P'Kolino Playful Xylophone, $29.99
    Here's a classic toy idea with a high-quality design — plain and simple.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper, $99.99 13 of 25
    Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper, $99.99
    This new baby product (out in May 2012) can be used as a baby rocker, vibrating infant seat, or cozy bassinet — all for just about $100. It'll be introduced in this gender-neutral brown, and then come out in very pretty shades of red and deep navy blue — both of which are gender neutral, too.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Hape Baby Gym, $59.99 14 of 25
    Hape Baby Gym, $59.99
    Pretty much all of Hape's eco-conscious, wooden and bamboo-based toys are designed for either gender.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • MiYim My Natural Activity Bunch, $25 – $29 15 of 25
    MiYim My Natural Activity Bunch, $25 - $29
    MiYim is introducing a range of infant activity toys this fall, all of which are just as suitable for a boy as for a girl. And the best part is that they're designed entirely with non-toxic, eco-friendly, biodegradable materials.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Plan Toys Play House, $60 16 of 25
    Plan Toys Play House, $60
    Moms of little boys know how difficult it is to find a quality play house that isn't covered in pink and purple — and this is our answer.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Fat Brain Toys Paradox Box, $29.95 17 of 25
    Fat Brain Toys Paradox Box, $29.95
    When it comes to brainteasing, this toy is an equal opportunist.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Flying Super Grover 2.0, $29.99 18 of 25
    Flying Super Grover 2.0, $29.99
    I'm not sure if Hasbro assumes Super Grover is a boy's toy, but what child — boy or girl — doesn't love the Grover? Expect to see him hitting shelves this coming fall.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Hape Magnetic Animals 19 of 25
    Hape Magnetic Animals
    These geometrically shaped bamboo magnets can be arranged into animal shapes — perfect for traveling.
    See more of the Best Eco-Friendly Toys of 2012
  • YBike Explorer Go-Kart, $189 – $200 20 of 25
    YBike Explorer Go-Kart, $189 - $200
    Boys might be more drawn to a go-kart than girls, but YBike is absolutely not designing it to be that way.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Bald Bratz and Moxie Girlz True Hope Dolls 21 of 25
    Bald Bratz and Moxie Girlz True Hope Dolls
    While this isn't exactly gender-neutral, it's gender equal. MGA is making a line of bald dolls (both in Bratz and Moxie Girlz) for both girls and boys.
    Read more about these True Hope dolls.
  • Milliwik Laughing Stock, $24.95 22 of 25
    Milliwik Laughing Stock, $24.95
    This new family game (about to hit shelves next week) is like a more comedic version of Mad Libs — teaching about grammar and wit along the way. There's definitely no gender divide here.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Anamalz, $24.95 – $34.95 23 of 25
    Anamalz, $24.95 - $34.95
    If you're on the hunt for gender-neutral toys, you really can't go wrong with animals.
    See more of the Best Toys Under $10
  • Peaceable Kingdom’s Race to the Treasure, $16 24 of 25
    Peaceable Kingdom's Race to the Treasure, $16
    Peaceable Kingdom games teach young kids about strategy, shared decision-making, and cooperation — so boys and girls can work together towards a shared goal.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012
  • Moover Baby Truck, $85.49 25 of 25
    Moover Baby Truck, $85.49
    Moover is a popular European toy company making its way to the U.S. (via HABA) this Spring, and they're designed to be the highest quality toys in safety and construction for any and all children.
    Read more in Babble Best Toys 2012

***

Read more of Michelle’s writing at Early Mama.

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