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Kid Gifts That Bust Gender Stereotypes

Janine Annett is a New York-based writer of picture books, humor pieces, personal essays, and lifestyle articles. Her work has appeared in The New York Times' “Well Family Ties” column, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and others. She writ...

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For kids of all genders

Images: Whitney Shop, Uncommon Goods, Getty Images/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows
#1/13:

For kids of all genders

There are plenty of reasons to get children gifts that defy gender stereotypes. Maybe you've made a conscious decision to raise your kids in a gender-neutral way or your child self-identifies as fluid or nonconforming, or perhaps you're the cool aunt who wants to help your niece or nephew start a gender revolution in middle school. Maybe you simply want to raise a kid who doesn’t feel tied to traditional gender roles. Or maybe you just want to stockpile a bunch of gifts you could give to a boy, a girl or whomever — at a moment’s notice.

It's easy to find gender-neutral gifts for babies and little kids (after all, stuffed animals are for everyone!). As kids get older, though, it can feel tough to avoid all those tired gender stereotypes — especially when so many stores seem to divide their kids' clothes and toys into "pink sparkly unicorns and princesses" and "blue construction equipment, dinosaurs and robots." 

But rest assured there are plenty of gifts out there that defy stereotypes — either by being entirely gender-neutral or turning an arbitrary gender convention on its head. Here are some game-changing gift ideas for every kid in your life, regardless of his/her/their/zir gender.

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For younger kids: Dress-up clothes

#3/13:

For younger kids: Dress-up clothes

Melissa & Doug makes great role-play costume sets for kids — and their website shows all kinds of kids playing the part of doctor, construction worker, firefighter and more.

Doctor role-play costume set, $29.99 at Melissa & Doug

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For younger kids: Playhouses

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For younger kids: Playhouses

An empty building can be anything — a home, a business, a hideout for superheroes… the possibilities are endless. Many younger kids love to pretend in playhouses that are just their size, and this Neat & Tidy Cottage would work for anyone.

Neat & Tidy Cottage II, $140 – $190 at Step2

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For elementary-schoolers: Slime

#5/13:

For elementary-schoolers: Slime

The slime trend is still going strong, and kids of any gender expression can enjoy making and playing with the glorious goo — in a wide variety of colors. This one from Elmer's has pink, blue and purple all in one kit.

Elmer's Galaxy Slime Starter Pack, $9.99 at Target

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For elementary-schoolers: Gender-bending dolls

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For elementary-schoolers: Gender-bending dolls

With this plain muslin doll, crafty kids can create the hair, face and clothes to make a beautiful, unique person just like them.

Bendable muslin doll, $7.99 (not including additional materials) at Jo-Ann

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For any age: Feminist books

#7/13:

For any age: Feminist books

Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist, both written by Andrea Beaty, are delightful picture books with positive messages. Read them to your favorite kid of any gender — because everyone can enjoy stories about smart girls who are interested in science and engineering. 

Rosie Revere, Engineer, $13.59 at AmazonAda Twist, Scientist, $13.46 at Amazon

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For elementary-schoolers: Barbie President & Vice President

#8/13:

For elementary-schoolers: Barbie President & Vice President

We might not have our first female president yet, but a kid can dream, right? And they can pretend with these Barbie President & Vice President dolls. If only it were this easy to put a woman in the Oval Office IRL.    


Barbie President & Vice President dolls, $17.99 at Mattel

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For various age levels: Science kits

#9/13:

For various age levels: Science kits

Science makes the world go 'round — literally. And it's great for kids of any gender. KiwiCo is one company that offers science kit subscriptions for various age levels; you can choose subscriptions from one month to 12 months long. 

Kiwi Crate science kits, $16.95 – $19.95 a month at KiwiCo

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For older kids: Yoga Joes

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For older kids: Yoga Joes

These little green Army people in yoga poses bust all kinds of stereotypes (active military members need yoga too!). The figurines are in a variety of popular yoga poses, including Child’s Pose, Tree Pose, Crow Pose and Downward-facing Dog. And under those uniforms? These yogis could be men or women, cis or trans — just some cool folks getting their Zen on.

Yoga Joes, $25 at UncommonGoods

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For teens: Rainbow pin

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For teens: Rainbow pin

Gifting a rainbow infinity pin is a lovely gesture of support for any LGBTQ or gender-nonconforming teen. Plus, the Whitney Shop explains that your purchase of this pin also supports “a different queer nonprofit each month, like GMHC, the Transgender Law Center, or the Ali Forney Center.” It doesn't get much better than that.

Rainbow infinity pin, $12, at the Whitney Shop

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For teens: Gender-fluid clothing

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For teens: Gender-fluid clothing

This sweatshirt says, “The Future Is Fluid” and is a collaboration between the gender-neutral clothing company Wildfang and the musicians Tegan and Sara, because obviously. Proceeds go to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, with its stated mission "to fight for health, economic justice, and representation for LGBTQ communities.”

"The Future Is Fluid" hoodie, $70 at Wildfang

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Whitney Shop/Uncommon Goods/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows
#13/13:

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Pin this for a happier, more gender-fluid future.

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