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Welcome to Train Table School!

Please read these fine articles written to educate parents on the importance of play and toy selection!

The National Toy Council



Toys for girls and boys


Toys are vital to your childs development. The National Toy Council has prepared these publications Toys & Children to help you select toys for girls and boys.

Someone said that if you gave footballs to 100 girls and dolls to 100 boys, within an hour the boys would be kicking the dolls around and the girls would be nursing the footballs.

Research shows that the toy itself guides play. Its generally true that boys are more active than girls, while girls are more nurturing in their play.

But the toy itself makes demands footballs invite kicking and dolls practically beg to be cuddled. Its true that "boys will be boys". But its also true that dolls will be dolls and footballs will be footballs!


Many children first learn of computers by playing video games. Research finds that boys are attracted by their fast pace and action, by sound effects and by being able to make things happen. Girls prefer games that "talk" to them and involve playing with others. They like music, but not shooting.

Although boys and girls play differently they are alike in basic ways. In fact, many of the differences are learned, especially from parents.

Most children like a variety of playthings puzzles, wind-up animals, modelling clay, books and board games.


From around two to three yeas of age boys and girls begin to differ in their choices of some toys. Boys select male super-hero dolls and vehicles, girls preferring baby dolls and toy household objects.

Why are those sex-hyped choices made? Apart from simply copying adults around them, children hope to win approval (or avoid disapproval) from their playmates, encouraging them to join them in their play. They also want praise from their parents for good behaviour.


Manufacturers often package and market toys "for boys" or "for girls". So a pink toy chest with a Barbie doll design is seen as a girls toy.

But this should not influence toy-buyers into thinking that a toy is only for a boy or only for a girl. Both need a variety of play experience to develop skills and attitudes.

Many parents are worried about allowing boys to play with dolls or domestic toys, yet there is no evidence that they develop "feminine traits" by doing so. Without knowing it parents might influence their sons to avoid toys usually considered suitable for girls.


Both boys and girls may become attached to a doll, soft toy or blanket. There is no need to discourage them. Children who cling to favourite comfort objects are apt to sleep better and be well adjusted.

In recent years girls play has become more like that of boys. They identify with super-heroes, play more adventure games and enjoy trucks, space toys and chemistry sets.


  • Boys and girls need to enjoy many different experiences with a variety of toys

  • Puzzles and shape sorters teach children about shapes, colours and names of objects. Parents also need to know how much can be learned from play with kitchen sets, dolls, vehicles, fantasy figures and video games. These stimulate imagination and teach practical new skills.

  • Praise your child for showing imagination or skill with a toy.

  • Parents with traditional attitudes tend to buy sex-typed toys. Dont limit children by providing only one kind of toy or play.

  • Being non-sexist in buying toys does not mean refusing your daughter a nurses uniform or your son a Superman outfit.

  • To encourage boys and girls to play together combine neutral with traditional boys and girls toys in play areas.

 The National Toy Council is concerned with child welfare. Its members include representatives of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, British Toy and Hobby Association, National Toy Libraries Association, Institute of Trading Standards Administration, BBC Childrens Television, national press, renowned academics and a toy safety expert.

Compiled with the assistance of Professor Jeffrey Goldstein BA MS PhD (of the University of Utrecht), member of the National Toy Council.


National Toy Council, 80 Camberwell Road London SE5 0EG

Play Matters, 68 Churchway, London NW1 1LT

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