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.
Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
A version of this story was originally published in December 2017.
For kids (and heck, adults) of all ages: Monster crackers
Monster Crackers are a line of holiday ornaments that are a new take on the classic nutracker. The company that makes them says they specifically “aim to crush gender-norms and underrepresentation” and they’re suitable to give to, well, anyone.
Monster Crackers, $20 each, monstercrackers.com
For kids of all ages: Art Supplies
Anyone can be an artist. But did you know that (according to the National Museum of Women in the Arts) although nearly half of all visual artists are women, 87% of art in the permanent collections of the most prominent art museums in the U.S. are by men? Time to change that ratio, kids.
70 piece art set by Creatology, $25.95 at Amazon.
For younger kids: Pretend Food
People of all genders eat — and hopefully cook, too. Let younger kids have their cake and (pretend) eat it, too with pretend food.
KidCraft 65pc Food Set, $12.99 at Amazon.
Ages 3 and up: Magic Kit
Historically, most magic acts used to relegate women to the assistant role. But today, anyone can say “Abra Cadabra” and pull a (fake) rabbit out of a hat with a magic kit.
Ultimate Magic Show Kit with Performance Table, $49.95 at Young Explorers.
Ages 6 and up: A nature magazine for kids
Encourage kids’ love of the wild with a fun and educational magazine just for kids — like National Geographic Kids. It’s a gift that’s sure to please animal-lovers of any gender.
Subscription to National Geographic Kids, $15 at National Geographic.
For ages 10 and up: Settlers of Catan
Board games are great for kids of all ages and genders. For ages 10 and up, try Settlers of Catan — a fun yet challenging game the whole family can play together.
Settlers of Catan, $35.29 at Amazon.
For babies & toddlers: Building blocks
Blocks, bricks and other building toys know no gender. Plus, they encourage kids to use their imaginations and develop motor skills. A big bag of Mega Bloks in bright primary colors (just skip the pastel blocks “for girls,” please) is sure to entertain the younger crowd.
Big Building Bag (classic), $14.99 at Amazon.
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, $17.91 at Amazon.
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, $137 at Amazon.
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, $5.80 at Amazon.
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
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 Amazon; Ada Twist, Scientist, $13.46 at Amazon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pin this for a happier, more gender-fluid future.
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