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Gender-Neutral Toys Are A Huge Parenting Win

I've been "team green" for each pregnancy - that is, I've chosen not to find out the gender of my child before they were born. For my son, it was a dream come true. Honestly, a blessing I couldn't have orchestrated myself. Because we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl, our friends and family showered us with clothes in greens, yellows, and grays. Not only are these colors so chic for decor, but they're so easy to transition to another child. Of course, I didn't think about that until I became pregnant with my daughter. Once I started sorting through the baby clothes, I realized that nearly everything he wore as a baby, she'd be able to wear (if she was a she, which she turned out to be), too.

But once the kids got old enough to want toys and games, I quickly realized just how gendered children's toys can be! Stroll through your nearest Walmart or Target and just observe the color schemes next time. Chances are, you'll find a swath of pink dolls and dress-up and even washing machines. On the next aisle, bright blues and greens and oranges all over blocks and trucks and swords. Since toys are used not just to entertain kids, but to specifically spur on development, it seems silly that we're treating any gender different from the other. Desperate for another option, I started searching on Amazon. Luckily, some toy companies have started to catch on to the gender-neutral gap in the market! My kids reach for these goodies all the time.

Melissa & Doug

Ok, this isn't a toy - it's a whole company! Here's why I love Melissa & Doug toys so much: they're durable, they're easy to find (Target, anyone?), and they stick with bright, fun colors. Nothing is entirely pink or entirely blue - unless it's a pig or a blueberry, and that's just natural! Big hits in our house: bead mazes, the farmyard cube learning toy, and the take-along shape sorter!

Phones

Yup. Phones. It's like keys - simple, everyone has them, and your kid will try to grab yours all the time. When Shep was really young, he loved the Baby Einstein musical toy that looked like an old iPod. He also liked a cell phone toy that made noises when you pushed each button. But now that he's older, we're trying to let Rory play with those toys instead. So we took the battery out of a really old flip phone, and left it in his toy box. He frequently uses it to call 'Icah (Uncle Micah).

Blocks

Baby blocks have been a kidlet standard for centuries - and for good reason! They're durable and allow for lots of imaginative play. Plus, they allow kids to develop hand-eye coordination as well as gross and fine motor skills! My babies shared the same set of wooden baby blocks. As Shep got older, we graduated him to Duplo blocks - they're like an oversize Lego. Every day, he builds something new. And you know what? I can usually tell why he's calling that mish-mash of blocks a robot, or a boat, or a train. It's pretty amazing to see his creativity blossom! When Rory is big enough, she'll play with them, too! For now, she just chews on them.

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