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5 Reasons Your Boy Should Play with Dolls

One mama tells us why dolls are a must in her son’s play.

5 Reasons Your Boy Should Play with Dolls

*We collaborated with eeboo to celebrate their new Hue Do You Love Plush Animal Series and to show how breaking traditional gender molds can start with something as simple as playtime.

I had the best intentions to raise an open-minded, caring individual when I found out I was pregnant with my son. I read all of the books, heard all of the stories and witnessed examples of childhood behavior that I stored away in my brain for some time, waiting for the right moments to use this knowledge. But when my son came home from Pre-K one day telling me that a classmate said that he couldn’t like a certain toy because it was for girls, it confirmed that I was kidding myself in ever thinking I could prepare myself for motherhood.

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And I realized that this was only the beginning of these gender conversations I foolishly thought we liberal parents were immune to since we were, of course, visibly excited by the request of ponies, or a pink and purple leopard kitty, from my then truck-obsessed kiddo.

I realized then, we’d need to commit ourselves to keeping that gender conversation open. To constantly remind my son, myself and everyone around us who would listen that there is no such thing as boy stuff and girl stuff. That there is no such thing as acting like a boy or a girl because every child is an individual.

Now this isn’t happening overnight. But taking the gender labels off toys -- and especially off dolls -- really helps. I’ve seen the effect playing with dolls has on my son. Doing so has taught him so much, and taught us so much about the endless possibilities when you open your home to genderless play.

Here’s a few reasons we think all boys should play with dolls.

1. Imagination. The beauty of a doll is that you can watch a child’s imagination go where it wants to without limits. Some days that doll will be a baby, others it’s an airplane, or even a ball (being hit by a lightsaber that he is pretending is a bat, of course). Introduce a friend in the mix and the possibilities are endless.

2. Empathy. Playground bullying is real. And while I don’t believe there is such a thing as a bad kid, there is bad behavior. I want to raise a boy that is empathetic and can put himself in someone else’s shoes. A doll can be a great way to roleplay situations, talk about feelings or simply learn how to care for something.

3. Language. When you introduce dolls at a young age, it can be a great way to help your baby learn new words. Act out a scene for your child, teach your baby where certain body parts are, or even let him have a conversation with his doll in a language all his own.

4. Comfort. There’s something so sweet and wonderful about watching your child create an attachment to a doll or lovie. His little sidekick will have the power to help him be brave on that first day of daycare or scare away those monsters under the bed.

5. Breaking Gender Walls. There’s no such thing as boy toys or girl toys. I repeat: there’s no such thing as girl toys or boy toys! Let’s all say this to our boys and girls and watch them flourish to their fullest potentials.

Stock up on eeboo toys for Fall! Use code WRNYPLAY20 for 20% off $25 or more through 8/31!

Lifestyle photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded NY.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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