Game Night: Scattergories

Scattergories, available on

Family game night is a fun, all-ages activity. If you read the first post in this series about Taboo, you’re becoming acquainted with my family’s penchant for games where we can get a little rowdy. This post is no exception, though I think you’ll find Scattergories is also well-suited to the quieter thinking types.

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Little Scientists

Little Labs Stepping into Science Kit on Amazon

It was the famous developmental psychologist Jean Piaget who called children “little scientists” to describe their active role in discovering how the world works. Little Scientists also describes what happens when you bring home the classic child’s chemistry set. What better way to pique early interest in science than with some hands-on….science! Science kits are a great way to spark a love for science, and to teach about the scientific method and its role in discovery. Unfortunately, chemistry sets are often deeply gender stereotyped in packaging and marketing. Let’s take a look at some better and worse options for all ages.

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Gender in the Family

This might come as a shock, dear readers, but not everyone is on board with this gender-fair business. Some people think differences between boys and girls should be encouraged. Others simply don’t see the harm that comes from not doing anything. Certainly the mainstream media is a culprit, but what about the people in your own life? What if, in fact, the gendered dialogue comes from family members, people whose efforts and affection are ostensibly directed toward your child’s happiness?

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Game Night: Taboo

Taboo, available on

Taboo is hands down my family’s favorite game. That is saying something because we are a family of game nights! Taboo was a great game when we were kids and it’s still very fun and a regular standby at our grownup game nights. That’s the great thing about the game – with a few modifications, nearly any age can play and enjoy the game.

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The Trouble With Barbie

Barbie may be one of the most culturally iconic toys available to girls today. She is tall, thin, blonde, white…oh wait, that’s exactly the trouble with her! Barbie represents a single particular (heterosexual) feminine ideal, but unfortunately it is the single particular feminine ideal so revered in our culture yet so impossibly unattainable. There are very few brunette Barbies, let alone Barbies of color, and certainly no dolls of varying shapes and sizes.

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What’s Cooking?

Felt Pizza Set by Melissa & Doug

If you read our post about kitchen sets, you know that Fair Play is currently on a kitchen play kick! As I explained in that first post, make-believe play is so important to children’s cognitive and language development. Kitchen play is a fun way to encourage pretend play but finding well-made, gender-fair options can be a challenge. Today we’re going to look at some of the pretend food options for your child’s kitchen play.

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Let’s Play Kitchen

Melissa & Doug Kitchen Set from Amazon

Make-believe play has a tremendous impact on cognitive and language development. Children use higher level, more complex language during make-believe or imaginary play than they yet use in everyday life. In my own research, make-believe is one of my favorite modes of play to look at – kids are just learning SO much! But, make-believe play is also one of those areas that can suffer from gender bias in marketing. “Girl toys” are often promoting of make-believe play while “boy toys” are promoting of active play. Finding toys which promote imaginary play without promoting gender differences can be challenging, especially in the arena of “playing house.”

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