Many little girls begin show their parents they like to nurture and take care of other people and toys around a year of age. We see many kids imitate their parents by hugging, kissing, feeding, carrying and pushing their baby dolls around in strollers.
However, there still remains to be a stigma and negative mindset attached to little boys who engage in this same type of play. When my son was 18 months, he loved pushing dolls in strollers.
Many of my own family members would jokingly say, "What are you doing? Boys don't play with dolls!" Given his love for toy cars and vehicles, I personally know my son honestly could have cared less about caring for a doll, he knew it should be in a stroller and all he wanted to do was push or drive around something with wheels. While he was not interested in baby doll play, that does not mean that as parents we did not give him the opportunity to do so. As a mother I want nothing more for my child, who happens to be a male, to grow up to be a caring human being. We have given him opportunities to play with lots of toys, no matter which gender they might be intended for.
Wonder Crew is a line of dolls for boys. These "crewmates," were conceptualized by psychotherapist Laurel Wider after her son said, "boys aren't supposed to cry" one day when coming home from preschool. Wonder Crew dolls are companions.
They were designed to help boys "build emotional intelligence and creativity addressing the developmental needs of the whole boy." Wider stated, "Boys need more options in toys. Many of the play options offered by large toy companies are muscle-bound and even violent... My goal with Wonder Crew is to bring feelings and connection to the mainstream 'blue aisle' because all kids need to access this kind of play."
My son's first baby doll was a Corolle doll. I wanted him to have an opportunity to care for a baby doll, if he was interested. Doll play can also be a great way for toddlers and preschoolers to prepare for the birth of a new sibling. He was interested in playing with his small newborn baby doll, which was dressed in blue clothing, for only a short period of time. He loved spending time buckling the baby into his shopping cart and carriage, then ran full speed around the house pushing the stroller. While he was able to imitate the actions that showed he knew what nurturing or caring for a baby was, he just wasn't interested in the idea of holding, burping, feeding and "caring for" another baby as part of his play.
As a school age child many children, my son included, still show very little interest, if any, in baby dolls. He does like to feed, hug and love small stuffed animals, though. Had the Wonder Crew dolls been available when he was a toddler I wonder if his interest in "dolls" could have been completely different. If dolls weren't so visually appealing to girls I bet more boys would be interested in this type of play if they felt like they had a best friend.
Will, the first Crewmate, is a superhero.
Theo, the second Crewmate is a dino explorer. These companion dolls are available for purchase at WonderCrew.com or on Amazon.com. Each Crewmate arrives with a matching piece of adventure gear for the child to wear during their pretend play. There are additional "Adventure Packs" available for purchase, which include construction outfits, chef outfits, and pajamas for sleepovers.
We live in a complicated world. While most people still identify as male and female, there are also many people who identify as being transgender. We need more toys like the WonderCrew in the aisles. We need to teach and inspire them to be whatever they want to be. Maybe a little girl wants to have a boy best friend to play with on adventures. Maybe a little boy wants a pal or a buddy to create imaginary worlds with.
It's not about boy or girl, it's about giving our kids opportunities to learn core values and principles that will help them to be successful individuals, no matter which gender they identify with.