If you ever had a chance to walk past a primary or nursery school at break, you would have noticed how differently children play from one another. Girls tend to huddle in a corner in small groups and are seen playing hand games. Boys, on the other hand, are seen running around the playgrounds and are all noisy chasing one another.
It is a general sight that girls play differently than boys, from their choices of toys to the games they play. They have very distinct choices from each other. According to studies, girls are more interested in choosing soft toys and dolls while boys tend to choose building blocks and cars.
Is it a Cultural Thing?
Yes, it is. One of the major reason of this change in behaviour between boys and girls is gender stereotyping that begins very early in the age. Parents who are expecting tend to paint the nursery blue for a boy and pink for a girl. The society also treats them differently from one another and so do the toy manufacturers. The type and colour of packaging of these toys are all very different for girls and boys. It has built in our culture and hence our minds that blue is for boys and pink for girls and we base our major decisions on this as well.
Nature Plays a Role as Well
Is it all to do with just merchandising and toys? No. Nature also plays a major role in this regard. There are innate physical, neurological, and hormonal differences among boys and girls, which manifest early on. The hormonal difference that starts early on in the mother’s womb plays a part as well. Girls, from their birth, tend to show much more interest in people and their faces as compared to boys. This can explain why girls are more inclined towards teddies and dolls as compared to boys who prefer playing with toys such as trains, cars and trucks etc.
Parents also allow boys to indulge in rough and tumble play and take risks. On the other hand, they are more protective of their girls and keep them safe from getting hurt. Girls tend to learn to talk earlier than boys do, which make them more skilled in games that involve role-play and stories. Boys, on the other hand, prefer playing in large groups as compared to enjoying a one-on-one time with a friend. Boys are also born with more muscle mass, which is why they are more physically active. They also have better spatial and mechanical skills, perhaps this is why they are interested in cars and building blocks.
Role of Parents
As a parent, it is your responsibility to offer your children a wide range of playing experience, good to play toys and exercises. Let them challenge themselves and give them more learning opportunities accordingly to bring out the best in them. Let them do what they like doing the best instead of imposing gender specific games on them.