These Toys Help Kids Care for the Planet and Each Other

By Lidia Nalbandyan

July 27, 2018

When you think of your childhood, what do you think of? Being outside, learning at school and of course, toys.

When we are young, we do not understand the significant impact toys and play  have on our development. However, toys can have a big impact on a child’s growth in many different ways:

  1. Children learn through play. Playing teaches self-expression and contributes to the development of imagination.
  2. Toys encourage children to share things with others. This makes them become better team players later in their lives.
  3. Play gives children the chance to be spontaneous and test their own limits.

We know toys have extraordinary potential, but how are companies are using them to influence social change? Here are a few toys that  address some of the biggest social and environmental issues that we face around the world.

Toys That Fight Against Gender Inequality

As a result of gender discrimination, women and girl are still underrepresented in many fields of work. For example, women represent only 24% of STEM workforce. This discrimination also impacts men and boys in a negative way.  Because of gender-based expectations, many men being afraid to be vulnerable and empathetic.

So, how can toys help us minimize the gender gap? Here is a list of toy companies that are taking the lead in addressing this social issue:

Credit: Matel

  • Barbie  is changing the future of the STEM field! Yes, you heard it: the new series of these most popular dolls represent girls who have occupations in robotics, engineering, math, etc. This is an amazing opportunity to inspire young girls to chase their professional dreams and believe that girls as well can make a difference in this workforce.

Credit: Goldieblox

  • GoldieBlox, this  award-winning company, is working towards closing the gender gap in the STEM field as well.  Through different toys, apps, animation, books and videos the company empowers girls to confidently explore this workforce. One of the most popular toys that enhance girls’ inventing and engineering skills are spinning machines, craft-struction boxes, move machines, and many more.
  • “Boys don’t cry”, “Boys don’t play with dolls”, “Be a tough guy”: these are some of the phrases that the vast majority of men hear when growing up. The society teaches young boys not to expose any feelings because they are expected to be the ‘strong’ opposite sex. Wonder Crew dolls is changing this social construct and inspiring many boys not to be afraid to express their feelings. The 15-inch modelled dolls are designed to help boys to develop a sense of caring and compassion for others.

Toys That Build a Healthy Planet

From soil pollution to global warming to waste disposal, our planet is facing a wide variety of environmental challenges. It is estimated that by 2050, there is going to be more plastic in oceans than fish. Environmental problems are a threat for younger generations. Thus, educating children about about sustainability is very important. Many companies are relying on creative and fun ways to make this happen.

  • The Magic School Bus Going Green” kit produced by the Young Scientists Club encourages creative learning about recycling, composting and much, much more. Children can shrink plastic, create new paper, build compost tube, etc.

  • In order to raise awareness about the environmental issues among children, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed a series of games that address the key concerns of our planet in an entertaining way.  And what can be more fun than playing games? One of the games is called Recycle City and it teaches how the simplest things can help us reduce waste and use less energy.

Children are naturally prone to learning. If we want to ensure their participation in our journey to a more sustainable future, we must teach them about social and environmental issues from a very young age. To make this learning process more enjoyable and entertaining, providing them with games and toys like the ones we mentioned above can spark their interest and involvement. And, at the end of the day, who doesn’t like playing games?

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