Social Roles via Toys
SOCIAL ROLES VIA TOYS 6
SocialRoles via Toys
SocialRoles Adults Endorse to Children via Toys
Playingthrough the use of toys is one of the ways through which childrenexperience growth and development. For years, play has been anessential contributor to the development of cognitive skills ininfants. Toys give children an experience of the world and enablethem to make sense of the events taking place in it. As children growup, they learn how to talk, walk and other things about the world byusing toys. Adults use toys to socialize children at an early age.The use of toys as a playing tool for children enables adults toteach certain social roles. Through toys, children can learn andinternalize gender roles right from a young age. The paper highlightsthe social roles that adults endorse to children through toys.
SocialRoles through Toys
Toysare significant in defining the gender-specific roles that a childwill learn from an early age. The play materials bought for girls aredifferent from those parents buy for boys. There is a tendency foradults to buy girls toys such as dolls and shoes that arehigh-heeled. On the other hand, the toys bought for the boy childinclude trucks, building materials, and tools among others (Lynch,2015). The toys send a particular message to the children and have animpact on the skills and roles learned. Adults instruct children onhow they should use the toys, and this contributes to aninternalization of gender roles. With the use of feminine toys, girlsare taught to be caring and how to become good at nurturing children.It is common for girls to be seen carrying toys on their backs thisdepicts the role of a mother. On the contrary, boys use masculinetoys and are taught to be active (Harris & Butterworth, 2012).
Theinfluence of toys on social roles can also be evidenced by the factthat boys’ playthings teach them to be aggressive. For instance,the use of toys such as soldiers and guns makes boys internalize thefeeling that they should be fighters. They learn to be physicallyactive and protect themselves when under attack. Male children alsolearn the role of completion based on the toys they are exposed to byadults (Ballantine& Roberts, 2013).Moreover, the spirit of hard work is instilled in boys through toys.For girls, the toys teach them the importance of beauty andappearance. The girl child learns that to appeal to male peers andthe rest of society, they must have attractive looks. To achievethis, adults have the tendency to use toys such as costumes, jewelry,and makeup used for play. Thus, girls are taught the social roles ofcharming men while boys learn that brevity will earn them respectedin the society (Harris & Butterworth, 2012).
Toysdesigned for male children tend to show the importance of academicsand being competitive in the classroom. For instance, adults canpurchase geometrical sets for boys to enable them to learn mathskills. Adults shape the opinion of a child regarding social rolesthrough the selection of toys. In most instances, fathers do not liketheir sons to play with dolls since such toys are seen as feminine(Anne& Niklas, 2015).Gender roles are also influenced by mothers who buy fashion dolls fortheir young daughters. The contribution of adults in teaching socialroles to children is reinforced through the use of different colorsfor boys’ and girls’ toys. The color popularly used for toysbelonging to boys is blue while most of the toys for girls areyellow, white and pink. These colors represent calmness for the girlsand boldness for males (Kristy & Ted, 2015).
Girlslearn domestic roles through the toys that adults buy for them. Froma young age, girls tend to prefer playthings that can be used at homesuch as kitchen sets. Toys pass a message to girls that their rolesare confined to the homestead (Lynch, 2015). For example, MyLittle Stove, Elegant Tea Set,and MySweet Homeare some of the toys, which make girls learn that they should fulfilldomestic roles. On the other hand, the toys that boys use challengethem to think. Moreover, the tasks assigned to the boys while playingwith the toys are not repetitive as is the case among girls.Moreover, girls are taught that the social roles they are expected toplay are inferior to those of men. Children get approval from theirage mates by playing with toys that are appropriate to their gender(Kristy & Ted, 2015).
Throughtoys, children learn that there are specific gender roles, which areclearly defined by the society. While playing games, it is common tofind young ones using dolls, which are considered to be children.Girls dress the dolls and engage in female roles such as cleaning thehouse and cooking. Playing with dolls enables girls to learn thatthey should be caregivers in the family. On the other hand, boys playthe role of fathers in such games and seem to get a lot of respectfrom the girls. Male children learn that it is men who should providefor their families by playing with toys such as vehicles (where theyplay the role of drivers) and blocks, which depict them as engineers(Anne& Niklas, 2015).
Toysenable children to realize their gender and learn the expectationsthat the society has for them. They consider some toys to be for boysand others specific to girls. This makes them like the toys based onwhat they believe about their gender. For instance, girls come torealize their sexuality by playing with toys such as dolls. Afterlearning about their gender, there is a tendency for the behavior ofthe children to change in response to the social roles they areexpected to play. Toy manufacturing companies also play a criticalrole in passing the message about social roles. Their marketingstrategies display some toys as solely for boys and being used by themale gender in some social roles. Besides, some toys are depicted asbelonging to girls and used for female tasks (Ballantine& Roberts, 2013).
Itis worth noting toys are an essential socializing agent that teachessocial roles to children. Children learn about their environmentthrough the toys they are exposed to by adults. As depicted by thetoys children play with, the social roles of boys are different fromthose of girls. Boys are depicted as brave, intelligent, hardworking,and aggressive while girls show some calmness. Toys teach boys thatthey should play the role of taking care of their families whilegirls learn to play domestic roles such as cooking and cleaning. Fromthe above discussion, it is clear that the tasks learned by childrenthrough the use of toys are unique to their gender.
Anne,K. & Niklas, P. (2015). Bring Your Own Toy: Socialization ofTwo-Year-Olds through Tool-Mediated Activities in an Australian EarlyChildhood Education Context. EarlyChildhood Education Journal 43(5), 367-376.
Ballantine,J. & Roberts, K. (2013). OurSocial World: Introductionto Sociology.London: SAGE Publications. Harris,M. & Butterworth, G. (2012). DevelopmentalPsychology: AStudent`s Handbook.New York: Psychology Press.
Kristy,B. & Ted, B. (2015). GenderStereotypes of Children`s Toys: Investigating the Perspectives ofAdults Who Have and Do Not Have Children. Journalof Occupational Therapy, Schools and Early Intervention 8(1),97-107.
Lynch,M. (2015). Guys and Dolls: A Qualitative Study of Teachers` Views ofGendered Play in Kindergarten. EarlyChild Development and Care 185(5),679-693.
No related posts.