By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Amazon just did something that may change the way parents buy toys
Amazon just made it so that shoppers can't find toys based on gender. But is the argument over toys really about gender? - photo by Herb Scribner
Its about to get a little harder for parents to find toys for their children.

The Telegraph reported Thursday that global retailer Amazon removed its boy and girl filters from its search options, which forces shoppers to only search by age and toy type. Amazon still has boy- and girl-specific toy pages. But parents cant access these pages from a simple search.

This move by Amazon is the latest move by some toymakers and distributors to advocate for gender equality with their merchandise. Recently, Fisher Prices Laugh & Learn Purse, which comes with lipstick, a bracelet and mirror, drew criticism from some who said toy companies and distributors teach youngsters societal roles that they are too young to understand.

This is why some modern toys have worked to buck these stereotypes. Look no farther than Entrepreneur Barbie, which comes with a tablet, purse, smartphone and her own LinkedIn page.

But despite these gender stereotypes, parents have long been encouraged to seek toys that teach their children lessons that those youngsters can apply later in life no matter what the toys look like. Gender-neutral toys are especially educational for children since they require children to ask questions and play creatively.

Similarly, research in 2011 found that the simplest toys, like building blocks, offer more educational value than high-tech toys because they require children to solve problems during playtime.

What toy stores (and parents) need to understand better is that for a product to be an effective learning tool, the child has to be able to use it to make inquiries and attempt to answer them, wrote Jenn Choi for Quartz. However, in the case of educational toys, its the machine that is asking all the questions.

Choi said parents should seek to buy their children toys that require them to ask questions and solve problems. She also said children learn from toys that allow them to have open-ended play and learn new lessons while they have fun.

When I see that my children are ignoring their open-ended toys, I just start playing with them by myself, Choi wrote. I dont even invite them to join me but they always do. Theyll sit beside me and say, Hey Mom, look what I made! The inspiration returns, without any cajoling or direction. All I had to do was sit down and play first. It works every time.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters