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Should girls and boys be encouraged to play with each other’s toys?
Q: Should parents differentiate what sort of toys they offer to boys and girls? Should we try to encourage girls to play with boys’ toys and boys’ to play with girls’ toys?
A: Boys and girls develop social, language, physical and cognitive skills at different rates. We’re coming to better understand the difference between them because of brain research that has shown gender differences in more detail. However, it’s important for us to provide equal options and choices for them.

Understanding and accepting that there is a difference between boys and girls is important to treating them as individuals. Generally, boys are attracted to toy vehicles and girls are more attracted to dolls. But, they’re also interested in many of the same things and activities. Infants and toddlers usually don’t show a preference for gender-specific toys. Usually, such preferences become evident between 18 to 24 months of age.

Kathleen Alfano Ph.D. Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price®