A trolley full of gender-neutral childrens’ gifts

TOY STORY: Carey Horner at Toy Kingdom in Lismore with a girls range of toys that have traditionally been targeted at boys.
TOY STORY: Carey Horner at Toy Kingdom in Lismore with a girls range of toys that have traditionally been targeted at boys. Cathy Adams

THE traditional doll or truck toys under the tree might not be for who you assume it is for this Christmas.

With the idea of gender neutral toys rising once again, choosing a toy for your child isn't quite a black and white (or pink and blue) issue anymore, local toy shop owners have said.

Owners of Toy Kingdom Lismore and Byron Bay, Carmel and Carey Horner, said the trend of gender neutral toys is one that has been around for a long time and rears its head every now and then.

The gender neutral toys argument is based on the idea that children should be free to decide what toys interest them, rather than having toys pushed towards them through marketing based on their gender.

Mr and Mrs Horner said major stores are often very guilty of this, but in smaller stores like their own, they believe the gender-based push is much less so, as they don't have those "faceless marketing companies" driving products so hard.

"Definitely people are aware of the stereotypes," Mrs Horner said.

"I think we live in an area which I think is really open-minded in the way of not restricting the kind of toys their children play with."

"I do think they're probably a little less likely to be confined by those stereotypes."

They said it's not unusual for them to sell toy prams to little boys, especially if they've got a younger sibling on the way.

Recently the Horners said they've seen companies bring out toy lines that break down some of the gender toy barriers, such as Lego and Nerf.

Just last year Lego came out with a popular girls range, Mrs Horner explained, while Nerf, famous for their Nerf guns, brought out a sellout girls range featuring Katniss of the Hunger Games style bows.

While the products were admittedly in 'girly' pink and purple packaging, the fact that the toys were available for both genders was a step to breaking down a barrier, the Horners said.

In the end though, Mrs Horner said kids will enjoy what they want: "Parents just need to be guided by what their own children enjoy."


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