The Best Gender Neutral Toys for Toddlers & Young Children

I’d like to start by saying that I don’t believe toys should be looked as “for girls,” or “for boys.” Toys don‚Äôt have a gender.

Toys are Gender Neutral

I hope you’ll agree that the toy list I’ve put together are¬†GENDER NEUTRAL (as all toys are). Everything on this list is wonderful for girls and boys. Loved by both, and equally NEEDED by all.

I hope you’ll consider the ways all children will learn learn through playing with,¬†whether Legos, a doll house or kitchen.

Toy List

Best Toys for 1 Year Olds

Best Toys for One Year Olds

Best Toys for Toddlers

Best Toys for Toddlers

‚ÄúPlay Is The Work of the Child‚ÄĚ Maria Montessori

According to Montessori, the essential dimensions of play are:

  • Voluntary, enjoyable, purposeful and spontaneous
  • Creativity expanded using problem solving skills, social skills, language skills and physical skills
  • Helps expand on new ideas
  • Helps the child to adapt socially
  • Helps to thwart emotional problems

 

If play is the work of the child, toys are the tools. Through toys, children learn about their world, themselves, and others. Toys teach children to:

  • Figure out how things work
  • Pick up new ideas
  • Build muscle control and strength
  • Use their imagination
  • Solve problems
  • Learn to cooperate with others

 

Toddler Toys

Wooden Blocks

These are the absolute best open ended toys for young children. Even elementary aged children love to play with blocks.

blocks

Rainbow

Another favorite open ended toy, this rainbow has endless possibilities for play.

rainbow

Small Animals

A set of small animals, or two or three, can be used for sensory bin play or endless imaginary play. The Schleich animals have exquisite detail, and will keep interest of older children with their life-like quality.

baby animals

Vehicles with People

Community helpers are so big with toddlers, and these vehicles are perfect for pretend play.

helpers

Duplo Legos

Legos are a open-ended toy that every household needs to have. Duplos start young children in the early years to develop building skills.

duplo

Play Kits

Vet Kit Shaving Kit Scarves

Children love to play make-believe, and these kits explore grown-up skills and group play. If you don’t have scarves yet, they have so many uses. From dancing to learning signals, they truly are an open ended toy!

scarves

Baby Doll

Boys and girls benefit from playing with dolls, empathy and nurturing are not just skills for little girls. I absolutely love this new born doll is anatomically correct! Available in Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic and African, boy or girl.

baby

Doll House

We have gotten so much play out of our doll house. Excellent pretend play for boys and girls! In my daughter’s preschool class the boys often play rescue games with the the dolls and the girls jump right in. This particular house is the most gender neutral one I’ve seen.

dollhouse

Kitchen

There are hundreds it seems, of play kitchens on the market, and for good reason. Boys and girls love to role play mommy and/ or daddy preparing meals in the family kitchen. This kitchen from Ikea is a good value, but check your local market for resales,  you can often find one for a great price and most can last through several children.

kitchen

Pots & pans, cookie cutters, mitts, spoons, ladles, spatulas

We love our Ikea play sets for the kitchen. These are the perfect size for little hands!

Play Food & Shopping Basket

Grocery shopping is another favorite role play of young children. And these soft foods are our favorites!

grocery

Fruits Veggies

Puzzles

Shapes Tool Puzzle Community Helpers Puzzle

You can never have too many puzzles (although my husband might disagree with me on this one). There are so many amazing teaching puzzles on the market today, these are just a few of ours that we love.

Cash Register

A tried and true favorite, this retro toy is making a come back. I love the simplicity of this one and I’m so glad they brought it back!

Cash

Alphabet Toys

Alphabet toys are a great way to introduce letters. Organically the child can explore the shapes, and we like to make the sound of the letter, not specifically the name of it yet. I love that this set has upper and lower case letters, and the wood pieces are in the actual shape of the letters.

alphabet

Train Set

Perhaps traditionally thought of as a toy meant for boys, little girls love to play with trains. Building a track with a grown up, and moving pieces around give endless hours of fun.

train

Play Tools

Our little girl loves building things with daddy, and tools are a great way for bonding with parents or “fixing” the child’s own toys.

tools

Spill Resistant Paint Cups

As children get older, they crave opportunities for independence. You want a clean house- these spill resistant paint cups help us meet them somewhere in the middle.

paint

Tea Set

Equally loved by all children, the right tea set teaches caring for others (offering drinks) taking turns, and introduces some basic etiquette (sitting at a table together).

tea set

Color Sorting Toys

Color sorting are one of the most favorite games of toddlers. Toddlers love order, and color sorting gives them an opportunity to practice those skills. Its amazing how fast children learn to sort.

Color Sorting Shapes

Music Instruments

Music is such a critical piece of development, I could write an entire post just on music and music therapy. A few good quality pieces will bring hours of joy to your children. And I love the simplicity of these instruments that require the child to do all of the creative work.

Band Piano Percussion

 

One Year Old Toys

Stacking Toys

We love these stacking toys, the cups are a steal at $3 and have given so much joy from such a simple toy. The imagination of children is just amazing. From playroom, to tub, to traveling on a plane and flying to see grandma- our stacking cups have some serious miles on them!

Stacking Cups  Stacking Rings

Baby Doll

Baby’s first doll should be soft, sweet and have a friendly face. We love playing with our soft doll and remember- they’re not just for girls!

baby1

Shape Sorting Toys

Another toy that has brought joy not just to us, but our playgroup friends as well. Babies and even toddlers love this sweet little house!

sortor

Balls

The ultimate baby toy, but these texture balls are one of our favorites. Eager young children love to put everything in their mouths, and these little balls are so easy to wash. Another favorite of our little ones, and all the children at our playgroup gatherings.

balls

Push Toys

Every single child loves to have a toy they can push- moms and dads, you’ll love how compact this one is! This zebra is another well loved toy, and makes just enough sound as you push it along. You’r little one will love it!

zebra

Pop-up School Bus

Another timeless classic, we have one from my husband’s childhood. The peg people pop up when you push them down- baby’s first lesson in cause and effect! The cheerfully painted school bus and little people make this a hit with all children!

school bus

Ramp Toys

Toys are amazing things, did you know this is a first lesson in reading? I know! What? Yes, this simple little toy in which cars are dropped at the top of the ramp and drive down, yet allow full visibility, train a child’s eye to love down the page of a book! See, I told you toys are good for learning!

car ramp

Big Knob Puzzles

Big knob puzzles are a great first introduction into the world of puzzles. The over sized knobs make it easier for tiny hands to firmly grasp, and friendly pets, and fruits give little ones a good practice for things around the house.

Fruit Basket Pets

Mega Blocks

These are perfect for tiny hands, just learning how to put two blocks together!

mega blocks

Animals

All children love animals, and if you’re going to get small animals, I would highly suggest starting your collection with Schleich. Younger children may not yet notice all the fine details, but older children will. These are great for sensory bins, playing with blocks and other toys, the possibilities are endless. Starting your little ones with some of the larger animals, then slowly adding to the collection will be toys you can grow with.

Dog Horse Tiger Polar Bear

 

What are your favorite toys for little ones?

Remember, we don’t have to have every toy- just the right ones! Toys that entertain our kids are one-and done. We don’t want that! Look for open ended toys that let the child play, use their imagination and can grow with them!

 

xo,

Christine

 

Gift Guide for Him

Gift giving for the guys in our lives can be difficult, they always say they don’t need anything. Am I right? But let’s face it, they appreciate a nice gift. I’ve teamed up with a few of my favorite guys to put together this helpful list of ideas for you to give to the special guy in your life! You’re sure to find something here for your Dad, brother, boyfriend, or husband.¬†I’ve linked all of these items for quick reference.

I’ve sectioned the gifts into wearable, tech, and for fun. When gifting, remember it’s not about finding the perfect gift, it’s where it comes from that is most important. Giving from a kind, loving heart and hands are what matters most.

 

Gifts for Any Guy

Gifts for Him by Delightful Southeruthern Moments

 Gloves // Slippers // Shirt // Socks

These are a few of my favorite items you can gift to almost any guy. These leather gloves from Nordstrom are needed across the US (unless you’re a Floridian of course). And a good pair of leather gloves will last a lifetime if well taken care of. I love the quality and durability of these Land’s Ends cozy slippers. Did you see the hard bottom? How many times do guys run outside to fetch the mail or say ‘hey’ to a neighbor and tear up the bottom of soft sole slippers? Another favorite is the L.L. Bean flannel, super soft and in the most flattering colors, you’re sure to have a winner here. And of course, we had to include Gold Toe socks. These come in dark colors and light, and are things guys never buy for themselves, but really do appreciate. This fun pair with deer and ever green trees are perfect for the holiday season and can even be worn to the office to spread some holiday cheer!

Luxury/ Tech Gifts

Gifts for Him by Delightful Southeruthern Moments2

Dopp Kit // Belt // Ear warmers // Wallet // Headphones

These next items are special items you might think are a little bit of a splurge, but who doesn’t love to spoil their guys a little every now and then. I love this Banana Republic dopp kit, it’s stylish and still just the right size to fit on a carry on when traveling. The two sides make it easy to separate liquids from things like a comb, razor, toothbrush and nail clippers. A new brown or black leather belt, when bought in the correct length and width like this one from Nordstrom make a classic gift a bit more dressy. Brown belts can be worn at almost anytime, with just about any colored pants and are the most likely to¬† need replacing. This black would be a great gift to give before a company holiday party when your hubby realizes his old belt no longer fits. Either way, it will be a great item to give! These ear warmers from Target are inexpensive, stylish, easy to pack and carry. While not a splurge item, most guys won’t admit to needing a hat and will most likely not buy one for themselves, even in the coldest weather. You know they’ll think of you every time they wear them and feel a little bit warmer. I love this slim wallet design, enough space for the guy who has tons of cards, or the minimalist card carrier. And Banana Republic leather products hold up really well to daily use. My absolute favorite splurge item are these Bose headphones. They are amazing quality and use bluetooth connectivity so he won’t be tied down with wires. With built-in-mic with HD Voice and an easily packable fold-flat design may be his favorite gift under the tree this year.

 

For Fun

Just Listed

 

Pandemic // Coup // The Resistance // This One Time, I…

 

There are so many great games on the market today, it’s so hard to pick just a few. For the avid game lover who has all the best games, these indie games will put the smile on their face you are looking for! Pandemic is a co-operative game (no hard feelings like Monopoly) and can be played in smaller groups of 2-4 players.¬† In this game, a team of specialists in various fields play together to find cures to save the world.¬†Coup is a game for a slightly larger crowd, 2-6 players and can be played in a relatively short period of time. He’ll love to play this game with relatives that he would secretly love to crush as the winner must manipulate, bribe and bluff their way into absolute power to win. The Resistance is not a game for the faint of heart as it is a very intense social deduction game. Good for a very large group, 5-10 players, and is a fun way to test how good a¬†liar your friends can be. The final game is a hilarious one called¬†THIS ONE TIME, I‚Ķ THE GAME OF LUDICROUS LIFE CHOICES. This is the Party Edition, and has been called the best adult icebreaker card game for men and women. This is a super fun, pregame, drinking, and party game where rules are optional. It’s ages 17+, so you decide where it’s best to break this gift out.¬†

lights

 

Still looking for more ideas? Personalized gifts are always great. Perhaps a photo of you in a frame for their desk or a new mug with your favorite vacation photo or coasters with your favorite memories together. Or perhaps you’re looking for something even more simple, maybe a last minute gift? How about a gift card? A Lowes Home Improvement, Topgolf, Fandango, or even Amazon gift cards are all great ideas.

 

What would you add? Leave a comment  below with your great gift ideas!

xo,

Christine