Do boys and girls play differently? Should you be choosing different toys for them? And should an interest in certain toys be discouraged? These are all questions that may cross the mind of any parent, family member or friend trying to decide how to choose the most appropriate toy from all those available on the market.
Few people would deny that most boys tend to like cars, trains, guns and action packed games, whereas in general girls seem happier playing with dolls/soft toys, domestic toys such as kitchens, and sparkly dressing up clothes. Is there anything wrong with this? On the surface no, but if play is solely restricted to strongly gender stereotyped toys and games then things may take a different turn. It could mean that girls will grow up learning that looking attractive and developing strong nurturing and domestic skills are of primary importance. And, because their toys and games tend to be more competitive, often with an element of risk, danger or aggression, boys may grow up learning that aggression, violence, and competition are both fun and exciting.
There have been several studies into how girls and boys play with toys and what influences them to do so. One of the key influential factors is how children observe adults interacting with the toys during shared play time as this sends strong messages to children regarding gender-typed behaviours (1). Children will often mimic the behaviour of their role model adult. In fact studies have shown that parents tend to spend more time playing with the child's gender-same toys longer, for example a girl's doll, or a boy's train. Also, that parents seem more comfortable with gender-same toys and can often be dismissive of cross-sexed toys (2). Maybe rather than observing how your child plays with toys, you should be observing how you play with toys and considering the influence you are having on them!
Many children may become attached to a particular toy or object such as a blanket. Whilst parents may worry that this is not healthy and should be discouraged there is no evidence to suggest this is the case. In fact children who adopt favourite comfort objects are often liable to sleep better and be well adjusted. In most cases the obsession with a particular toy or object will be grown out of when the child is ready.
The bottom line is that from an educational development perspective both boys and girls will benefit most from being exposed to a wide variety of different play experiences to help them fully develop. Puzzles and shape sorters will teach all children about shapes, colours and names of objects. And, all children will gain from playing with, for example, toy kitchen equipment, dolls, cars, fantasy figures and computer games irrespective of their gender. These type of toys stimulate imagination and teach practical new skills. Maybe this is the critical thing to remember when choosing a toy for a child - education begins at an early age and a varied education will give every child the solid grounding for a more balanced view of life as they develop and grow.
Music has been the backbone of human culture for hundred of years. There are spirituals for different groups of people, favorite songs for individuals and national anthems for countries. Just like music, vehicles are a part of human life that people can't live without. People rely on cars to get to and from work, to and from school and to travel across country in. Vehicles keep the country moving, even if the congestion problems on the roadways keeps getting worse by the day.
How do music and cars go together? There have been plenty of songs written about certain cars that are still popular today as well as bands named after cars. Most notably, and most obviously, The Cars. Their most popular songs were Hello Again, Just What I Needed and Drive.
Songs throughout history that have paid tribute to cars have been done by Prince, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Wilson Pickett, The Beach Boys and War. There songs about cars not only were popular because of the music but also because of what they were talking about. Prince's song was Little Red Corvette, Springsteen's song was Pink Cadillac, The Who sang Jaguar, Wilson Pickett did Mustang Sally, The Beach Boys were famous for Little Deuce Coup and War was popular for Low Rider. Low Rider is now the theme song for the hit sitcom George Lopez.
Once music videos became popular one band created one of the most popular music videos of all-time by using a car, a wind machine and a beautiful girl. That band was White Snake. The song was Here I Go Again, arguably their most popular song. The girl in the video was actress Tawny Kitaen and she was writhing all over the Jaguar of David Coverdale, the band's lead singer.