Gender Free Gifts
For Girls and Boys
Tags: gender free toys
Posted: 2010-10-20 13:44:54 By: Joanne Oppenheim

 

       Gender Free toys can be enjoyed by boys and girls and do not center on role playing that narrows your child's view of the world. They are also toys that can be passed along from sister to brother, having a longer play life. With tight budgets, buying toys that can go the distance makes sense. In looking at our winners, we realized that with the exception of a few dolls and craft kits, most of the toys on our lists are gender free.
       Even when we select infant toys, we tend to select toys with primary colors rather than the powder blue and pink variations. Similarly, with toddlers and preschoolers, we look for play that expands their world rather than narrowing their options. Take a look at all the lists and you'll see what we mean. Just to get you started, here are some of our gender free choices:

 

 

 
2010 Awards
Playskool Explore 'N Grow Musical Gear Center
(Hasbro $24 Score: )

A great combination of two favorite play modes for learning about cause and effect and making things happen. There's an easy to activate ball drop with two balls that roll down a chute and best of all, there is a set of colorful gears that twirl and play music. Tots can activate the gears by moving them directly or by pressing the red happy face button. The gears on the side of the toy are locked in, but the ones at the base can be lifted off and stacked on each other. This is a wonderful floor toy for sitting up babies and young toddlers. It has musical sounds, but they can be turned off. Depends on your baby and your own tolerance for electronic sound effects.  One of our one year old testers was much more interested in tasting the gears and the balls than making any of the gears or motion happen. At this age, it will be a much more parent intensive toy.  Toddlers a little bit older will enjoy the repetitive action of making something happen.  9 months & up.


The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.


SNAP: There are good-sized pieces in this two-way cause and effect toy. The two balls are the right size for grasping with the whole hand and learning to release them from the hand is the second part of the trick. Unlike so many ball drops, this is uncomplicated and yet satisfying. The colorful gears can be used for reinforcing color names. They are usable for stacking as well as fitting together like a puzzle that moves. Best of all, the big red button allows them to make the gears spin...allowing a direct kind of lesson in cause and effect. Adaptation: This is an engaging toy that may need to be taped down for stability. That means leaving the sound off or using a tape that can be lifted and replaced with ease since the sound button is on the bottom of the toy.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 



 

 


2010 Award
Steiff Happy Teddy Bear
(Steiff $45 Score: )

Soft as silk and totally huggable this 16" plush Teddy bear has velvety snout and paws and a sweet friendly face. Ready to listen to stories, songs or just quietly in the arms of a child. The bean bottomed lovable is a nice armful and available in beige or light honey brown. This famous bear maker is well known for their collectables, but Happy is designed for play not display.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2010.

 


 

 

  
2010 Awards
Ambi Ted & Tess Carousel
(Schylling $19.99 Score: )

Welcome back, Ted and Tess! A classic toy that has been missing in action for a few seasons. These spinning bears go round and round when baby pushes the knob on top. The brightly colored spinning top is made of sturdy plastic and has a flat bottom that sits flat on the floor. A fun toy for learning about cause and effect and for making things happen. Babaies will need adults to sctivate the bears, but in time they will be able to make it happen. Such a feeling of power! 6 months & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP: It's not always easy finding toys that respond to a swipe of the whole hand. This classic spinning toy is sturdy and easy to activate.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2010 Award
Radio Flyer Bumper Car
(Radio Flyer $49.99 Score: )

Low to the ground, this is a perfect little first ride-on for kids who are steady on their feet. It's shiny red and looks like a classic red vehicle. There are no pedals to complicate the action. It's foot to the floor fun with a steering wheel loaded with a horn that is sure to please. The bumpers make this furniture-safe. However, the front bumper is loaded with 7 funny sounds that just might startle your toddler. You can turn them off with a switch at the bottom. But let them know about the sounds so that they are not surprised while they are scooting around. They say 1-3. We say, not many 1-year olds are steady enough on their feet. The wheels on this are small castors that turn pretty easily.  We think this is a much better choice for 18-20 months. A great choice for two's.
The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2010 Award
Dance Star Mickey
(Fisher-Price $70 Score: )

First things first...Dance Star Mickey is a pure novelty.  That is usually not a plus. But if you love Mickey, you are going to love this toy. He's anything but plain and simple. He's not one of those soft and cuddly dolls kids snuggle up with at nap time. He's covered in plush, but you can feel the armature of his articulated body inside. That said, he is one adorable mouse! A musical Mickey who will get kids up on their feet to dance along to five different tunes from Latin to Soul and get them to play whatever game your favorite 'Leader of the Band' has in mind. Mickey's face comes alive as he talks, walks and waves his arms in the air. His whole body moves as he turns and does the moonwalk to his own music. He plays a freeze dance game that calls for some serious listening. So, unlike a lot of electronic dolls, Mickey is not just about watching. He's all about moving and doing. He runs the show, but he's more like a party director than a bossy toy. This is one kind of mouse you won't mind having in your house, even if he is a novelty.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2010 Award
Step 2 Little Helper's Shopping Cart
(Step 2 $29.99 Score: )

A gender free red, white, and blue shopping cart. Scaled perfectly for toddlers and preschoolers. This is a favorite piece of equipment for pretend play. It can hold a doll, bear or other soft toy in the usual up front place. It has an open basket that is easy to load as well as a lower shelf for big items. The top basket has no openings for small items to fall through. This will be used for deliveries, shopping, and hauling treasures. It's low enough for toddlers to use and rolls smoothly. However it is not weighted, so this is for kids who are steady on their feet. It's not intended as a prop for wobbly beginning walkers. The company also makes this in green and blue, if you do not want the flag colors, though either are gender neutral. Best of all it comes out of the box completely ready to roll! 2 & up.

0 false 18 pt 18 pt 0 0 false false false

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 

 
2010 Awards
Wonder World Eco House
(Wonderworld  $140 Score: )

A small eco friendly rubberwood wooden dollhouse powered by a windmill and solar panel. Comes with three family figures, that have yarn hair and as one tester put it, "They look like they were at Woodstock." It also has recycling containers, a water barrel, furniture and a two wheeled vehicle (we can't say what it runs on.) This is a much younger and less detailed setting than the Eco House from Plan toys. Two storey wooden playhouse comes with kitchen set, bedroom set, three wooden dolls and bathroom set
It's not just gender free it's one that boys as well as girls will like.


The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP: This is easier to get into than many doll houses because if is so open. It is also uncomplicated, though it has all the features a house should have. This is one of those rare gender free houses that can be used for dramatic play. It not only builds imagination, it can be useful in developing language skills.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2010 Award
LeapFrog Tag Interactive United States Map
(LeapFrog $19.99 Score: )

What a fun way to learn the names of the states, the capitals, products and a smattering of history! This two sides map is an "add-on" to be used with the electronic Tag reading system. You need the sensor stylus to explore, answer questions, and play games on the big 35" X 20" map. Along with the kinds of info and quizzes you would expect, they have also added distances and travel times between places, animals, cardinal directions and other map reading skills. There are kids who tell about what they like to do in their states as well as quiz games that give kids feed back. We could have done without some of the wah-who cheers on one side of the map, but unlike so many electronic globes, this map of the United States is programmed with less trivia and more info that kids really should get to know. Early school years children have a natural curiosity about maps and this toy can help foster that in an entertaining way. Marked 4-8 , we'd say 4 is way young for this. Bring this home for your school aged child. We know a lot of kids over 8 who could use this learning tool. There is nothing babyish about it.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2010 Award
Citiblocs Cool Colors Building Blocks
(Citiblocs $24.99 Score: )

We fell in love with these open-ended building blocks last year.   They look alot like the pricier original French, Kapla blocks. Compatible with the originals, they are all the same size pieces of natural wood.  The open-endedness of these blocks truly challenges the builder's imagination and dexterity. The smooth and precision cut blocks are made of Radiata Pine from certified renewable forests in New Zealand and come packaged with suggested projects kids can build without glue or pegs.  What's new this season- sets of Hot (pinks/reds) and Cool (blue/green) colors. These make interesting patterns and may hold added appeal to younger builders.  (These sets got lukewarm reviews from threes--but older 4s and 5s totally got into them - so if you get a set and your child doesn't seem enthralled, pull them back out when they're a little older.) They come in different sets: 100 piece set costs $24.99, 50 pieces for $12.95.   The packages say 3 & up, we think older builders of 5 & up will find them more interesting.  The activities suggested will challenge even older kids.  Our recommendation--put them on the coffee table and see what everyone, young and old, comes up with.  We found them addictive.
The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2010 Award
Boys Play Castle
(Teamson Design $198 Score: )

This isn't a boys only toy - hat just happens to be the name they gave it. Since so many castles are strictly for girls, this is a welcome scene changer. This company also makes a pink castle for princesses. But this one is less gender specific. It's a beautifully painted wooden castle that will be pleasing for years to come. It's three stories tall and has two turrets with flags on top and two staircases to get from bottom to top. The royal play figures and furniture come with the castle. The furnishings are also extra special, painted to look like antiques and fashioned to look that way, too. The play figures are more like old-fashioned play figures you probably played with in the block corner at preschool. They are easy for little hands to grasp and move about. This is one of those wooden toys that is destined to become a family heirloom. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: . Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 



 

 


2010 Award
Toy Story 3 Woody and Buzz to the Rescue
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score: )

A special 92 piece racing car vehicle comes with a pull back motor for action along with Buzz and Woody figures ready to ride off into new adventures. This is a fairly typical build with not too many surprises but will be a hit with Toy Story fans. 6-12.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: . Award Year: 2010.

 


 

 


2010 Award
Jungle Jive
(Ravensburger $28 Score: )

A fun filled active game for the 6 & up crowd with a little reading involved and a lot of giggles. There's an electronic egg that players must keep steady while they move through the paces the Monkey Cards order up. The balancing acts get harder and harder and the cards are coded for difficulty. If Player 1 succeeds in moving the egg without making the bird inside laugh, the next player turns the card over and must do a new exercise. If Player 1 does not succeed than Player 2 must try to do what the card says. As many as six players can play, but this is probably the most fun with a smaller group so that you get a turn more often. Play involves balancing, following directions, memory, reading, and lots of laughs! 6 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 
Products for Infants
Products for Toddlers
Products for Preschoolers
Products for Early School Years
Products for Later School Years
Twitter   Facebook     YouTube 

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio - All Rights Reserved. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Award are Registered Trademarks of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio.


Instructions for submitting product to the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio for review.

 

 

Contact the Toyportfolio by phone at (212) 598-0502 or by email at Webmaster@Toyportfolio.com.

Copyright 1995-2013

 

Products reviewed by the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio are provided by the manufacturer at their cost. The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio does not require or accept fees for reviewing products.