Does a Boy Need "Boyish" Toys?

Updated on September 13, 2011
L.A. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
25 answers

We were at my parents house celebrating my birthday this weekend, and an uncle remarked that while our 11 month old son has a lot of toys, none of them are "boy" toys. No cars, hammers, pliers, footballs etc.

My parents care for our son in their home while I work full time, and hubs is in grad school. We've also got a Manny, who does 2 afternoons and most of Friday with our son in our home.

The toys at my parents house are largely hand me downs and are gender neutral. a number of shape sorters, some animatronic dolls, musical machines, puppets, etc.

The toys at our house are largely hand me downs and gender neutral as well. He has some shape sorters, a kick and play piano, a number of balls and stuffed animals, a rocking moose and a push toy train.

Honestly, he's more interested in chasing the dog, chewing the remote, and pulling the electrics out of the wall than he is in any of the toys.

Nonetheless, are "boy toys" necessary? Are they adviseable?

More about us- we didn't set about to have a gender neutral environment. This is not a matter of principle for us. We do like hand me downs, and we do like to pass on our cast offs. Baby stuff is expensive and largely short lived. Having said that, we are fortunate not to be hurting for money and we can certainly buy him some cars if its a good thing to do.

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answers from Houston on

A little off the subject, but has anyone else noticed that a little boy seems to automatically make the brrrrrr noise the first time he pushes a car? All of mine did. I think is linked to that male chromosone. My boys would push blocks around like cars. Given the chance, kids will make their toys be what ever their imaginations want.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If he likes chasing the dog get him one of those cars that can be pulled back then move forward. Its something that isn't too babyish and you can keep it for awhile

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

It would not matter if he was playing with princess barbie dolls! Toys don't make someone feminine or masculine. In the long run, his toys will make zero impact on who he grows up to be. Don't stress, and let him play with what he likes, whatever it happens to be.l

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answers from Redding on

Boys can turn anything into a hammer, I wouldnt worry about it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Kids need toys - period. There is no such thing as "boy toys" and "girl toys."

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

I wouldn't worry about it at his age :) When he's 2, 3 or 4, he will start becoming interested in cars, trucks, trains, hammers etc on his own and sure...get him some at that point! My son (now 19 and ALL boy) absolutely loved playing with my pots and pans, tupperware, pretending to make "soup" when he was 2 or 3 so we bought him a play kitchen with pretend food and pots & pans etc. I thought my dad would have a heart attack! My husband thought it was fine because he likes to cook too. We also bought him dump trucks, footballs, a train set, GI Joe's etc. He loved all those things...even the boy "baby" we bought him when he was 2 to teach him how to treat a baby when I found out I was expecting. At 1, it doesn't really matter what they play's all good!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son will turn anything you hand him into a truck, train, boat, or car. He will use anything handy to make a bridge or road or construction site for his trucks. Even digging in his sisters very girly toys he will use things to play his way. Boy toys are only necessary to appease the ego of the adult male!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

When my son was a baby he had baby toys - they weren't gender specific.
One thing he did have as a toddler was a springy horse.
It was a present to me when I was 2 years old from my Grandfather.
My Mom saved it and gave it to my son when he was 2 and he LOVED it.
We have pictures of me on it, and now we have pictures of my son, too.
It's become a family heirloom, but it's great for both girls and boys.
When my Mom gave me all her costume jewelry she no longer wanted, what I didn't want for myself became 'pirate treasure' in a box for my son to play with.
He liked Tonka trucks when he was old enough to play in the sand box.
And when he was older he liked (still likes) Legos but then I always played with them too so I don't think of building toys as 'boys' toys but some people do.
I think you're doing fine on the toys front.
I wouldn't worry about it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

When my daughter was a baby until she was about 3 her favorite things to play with were empty boxes. The bigger the better. I could have saved a fortune on toys :) When I was a kid, I used to fight with my bother to use his Lincoln Logs and Tonka trucks. I hated dolls and girly things, and so does my daughter. I wouldn't worry about what your son has. And if uncle mentions it again remind him when your sons birthday is.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Don't worry about it. When your son is older he will ask for things he have MANY MANY years to accumulate boy toys and inevitably it will happen. He's only 11 months! Wait till he's 10 and look around at all the boy toys taking over your house. Gender neutral toys are great too..and that is what we had when our son was a baby. Most little baby toys tend to be that way it seems. My son didn't want to play with cars till he was about 3-4 yrs old anyway.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Just buy him the things he seems to be interested in.. And when he is young, secondhand toys are best, because they outgrow them so fast there is no sense wasting money on them.

He will let you know what kind of toys he likes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

He's a BABY! Really, who cares?

I promise that he will show interest in trucks, wheels, trains, planes, etc. in due course. It is NOT pertinent in the slightest that your BABY is only interested in baby toys.

Don't worry about it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Oh please, why don't old farts keep these old ideas to themselves?

First of all he is so young, he would play with whatever you put in front of him.. As he gets older he will explore with all types of toys.

And I totally agree, anything can be turned into a hammer or tools.
Just continue as you have and continue to give him age appropriate toys of ALL sorts.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

The toys you describe sound fine. Give him some pots and pans and a spatula and you have drums!

As he gets older it wouldn't hurt to have some masculine toys such as rubbery dump trucks and hammers, but for now what you have is fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I have two of each.
My boys had "girl" toys and wore pink and my girls had "boy" toys and wore blue, or whatever was in the handme down bucket. All four of them have a full tool set and fishing gear, all four of them are learngin to change a tire, use a chainsaw, do the laundry, cook, and change a baby's diaper.

Get a variety of toys, dolls, trucks, hammers, jewelry. Everyone of my kids loved the play house and the play kitchen. They also loved the workbench and trucks.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

At his age, no. i don't think boyish toys are important. As he gets older, he'll most likely naturally become more interested in boyish toys...and it would make sense to get him some. Just like if a girl wanted a doll, i'm guessing she would get one. A boy wanted a car or truck or something boyish like that. And, of course, there's cross over. My daughters like to play with cars and my son has a doll (it's like his little buddy). But, overall, they do like their more gender specific toys when they get older. They don't seem to care as much when they are little little. Closer to 2-3 years old it seems to develop more.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

My son, at 11 months, loved his hammer that made noise and lit up when he hammered anything (the floor). I don't know if they're "necessary" but I think they're great to have. My husband uses a hammer all the time and so for our son to have his own is great - so he can copy dad and learn to use the tools just like dad does. He now has a bigger hammer now that he's 3, but still has one - a plastic saw too.

Try a consignment store/resale shop, as I agree they're expensive. Or just wait a month for his bday. He'll likely get some toys, possibly 'boy toys.'

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

He's not even a year old yet!
Babies that age will play with anything. answer your specific question: No, they don't.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Eventually he will use his imagination to "play" and then he will have all the hammers, balls, hero capes, ect he needs because he will "find" them all on his own. Are they necessary... no... are they advisable? Probably, espically if you don't want him to play with daddy's tools, or raiding the bath towels for capes, or playing dress up in dad's clean clothes, or trying to get the family cat to be the "baby".... but that can wait another year or two.

The best thing I think most parents find out is that a regular old box is a favorite with kids since it can turn into a thousand things... boat, rocket, bear cave, baby bed, race car, ect.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

Not necessary but they can be fun. I would suggest getting a large car or some other toy with wheels on it for him to sit next to and push/pull. We don't have any yet but my 9 month old son found one at the play group and he loved it! PLus it lets him work on a different motor skill.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

OHHH, he's just 11 months. The neutral toys are great. So he's learning his shapes that's wonderful! That's how I started with my son. Now he's got too many trains, too many cars, trucks you name it. I was hoping to get rid of some things and donate them to his school, but he forbade<~? me. Beleive me, in a short while he'll have enough boy toys to play with. My daughter plays more with his toys than her own girl toys. She prefers things that roll and trucks to put sand in. Don't sweat it. He'll be fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

After watching my DS (16 months) play a little while ago, I had to come back and find and read your Q.
Get your son some cars.
My son inherited his sisters big basket of cars. He LOVES them. She LOVES them. She is almost 6 and only recently lost interest in them.
They were her most favorite playthings for about 4 years.
When DS first discovered the joy of cars he would lay his face on the floor and watch the wheels move. I ask all moms of boys if theirs did the same and they all say yes.
Boys love wheels. He walks around w/ his train in his hand most of the day.
Just get the boy some cars.
And enjoy watching him play.
I can't tell you how much I love watching my son play w/ his cars...I can totally see his brain working in different ways than his sister's. ;)



answers from Washington DC on

I think that he needs toys he likes. It is no more important for his ball to be a football than a beach ball. It is no worse for him to have a kitchen than it is for my DD to have tools (if we had a repair person in the house, I had to watch her around THEIR tools!). Keep getting what he likes. If he likes cars, great. If not, invest in something else. Kids often have too many toys (mine does, inheriting all her sister's!) and a few thoughtful choices are better than an army of vehicles. When you take him to other places, see what he gravitates toward and go from there.

And trust me, he'll make his own toys out of blocks or sticks or boxes or whatever, too.



answers from Kansas City on

LOL, Grandma T...that is so true!!! ;)

Well, I wouldn't worry about it, no, but if he hasn't been exposed to those types of toys, maybe you just don't know if he likes them. I don't know if I'd go running out and stock up on cars and trucks, but even at a very young age my boy showed an affinity for those types of toys that my daughter just never did. They both play with gender neutral and gender specific toys, of course, but my son LOVES balls and cars like no body's business!

Maybe at Christmas you can stock him up with some of that stuff and see how it goes. He's getting to the age where he will start playing with toys longer and you'll get more use from them. Look into Fisher Price Little People. Their stuff is great and it will be used for years and years! We love the Stand and Play Garage (which my son got for Christmas right after he turned 1) and the big airplane. Also there is a brand (can't remember the name) of giant recycled toys that are like dump trucks and recycling trucks and my son likes those too!

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