My essay, "Should Little Boys Play with Kitchens?" is up on Shelterpop this morning. It's about how domestic play is so often geared toward little girls, and how that is short-changing all of us in the end. This is a topic near and dear to my heart since (1) I have a boy, (2) I have a girl, and (3) I have a husband who is a stay-at-home-dad and does all of the cooking, and much of the housework. Our society, our expectations, and our notion of what men do and what women do has been changing for quite some time--mainstream toy manufacturers need to start taking notice! Would love to hear what other parents think!
1/18/2011 12:23:58 am

Thanks for this! We just got our 20 month old son a play kitchen for Christmas and he loves it. His dad and I both do the cooking (although his dad is better at it.) All the greatest chefs are men too! It was funny to me how many people kind of scoffed when they heard we got him a kitchen- who knew old gender roles were still so ingrained?

1/20/2011 05:22:26 am

Our son (almost 3yrs.) has had a playkitchen for over a year now and he absolutely loves it. Why would I deny him his fun? It's funny that most of the people who found it strange that we gave our boy a kitchen were women...

1/20/2011 12:33:38 pm

Wow and THANK YOU for this! Our 5-year-old was over the moon when my mother-in-law brought him a Little Tykes kitchen. He loved it, and he'll still play "restaurant." As he's hit PreK years, we've bought him an Easy-B@ke oven. Now THAT was a study in pink packaging! He was so proud, though, to use it to melt chocolate-he made peppermint bark for his teachers-and he was so proud to give a gift he made! Then he wanted to do nothing but make gingerbread cookies all Christmas long. Making food for others has definitely been a way he's learned about relationships and showing love and making others feel special. I think it's way cool-and if he thinks his Little Tikes kitchen needs help, he grabs his pretend mig welder and welds away. I hope that if I can ever have a girl, she'll feel that free, too.

1/20/2011 11:32:11 pm

I found your blog through AMH's website and can really relate... i have a boy, a girl, and a husband who shoulders a lot of the domestic duties as well. My 2 1/2 year old boy has a play kitchen and a vacuum (neither of which are pink, if you can believe it) and he loves both of them. He loves to do whatever he can to help out around the house, and i think it's wonderful. I just hope he's still that way 10 years from now!

1/22/2011 12:29:39 am

It's so great to hear from others on this! Anna, I love your story about the EasyBake oven! That's a great point about cooking teaching kids about relationships.
J, Max has a vacuum too (got it at Once upon a Child) and he absolutely loves it. He loves to help daddy vacuum (in fact, the real vacuum cleaner has become his new favorite toy!)

1/24/2011 01:23:58 am

I have one word of advice for you...DUMP your goofy "friends."  Anyone who would make fun of you for buying your son a play kitchen is not worth having in your life.

OK...maybe that's bit harsh -- but talk about Stone Age thinking.  Geesh.  I assume they would also diss me for buying our 3-year-old daughter a train table (which we did).

I, too, am a stay-at-home Dad...I left a 25-year career as a human resources executive and have never looked back.  Part of why I am as good at and enjoy this role so much is that I was raised by parents who exposed me to "boy" stuff AND "girl" stuff.  I earned my allowance cleaning bathrooms...and ironing my shirts for school...and, yes, helping my parents cook!  And thank God...because my wife of 22 years can't even FIND the kitchen.  All three of us would starve if not for my ability to put a meal on the table!  

So...BRAVA to you for giving your young son everything he needs to become a well-rounded man.

1/24/2011 02:59:56 am

Hello Judi! I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your article! I found it especially amusing, since both my sister-in-law and I just purchased Step 2 kitchens this weekend as birthday presents for our 3 year old boys (we went to great legnths to make sure that they did not look "girly"!) And all weekend long, they've been microwaving the donuts, serving us milk and coffee, and putting chicken in the oven... it's great fun for them and us! For Christmas, I got a bright red dirt devil toy vaccum for my nephew (it looks just like the real thing!), and was amazed when my son - who hates vacuum cleaners - couldn't wait to get his hands on it. I feel that having the opportunity to role-play with every day stuff will make the transition to the real thing that much easier, and learning to take care of themselves is a requirement, not an option - which means cooking and cleaning! Why not start now and make it fun?

1/24/2011 05:50:21 am

thanks for writing the article. and those friends who laughed at you are going to feel real dumb when your son opens his first restaurant!

5/10/2012 04:50:37 pm

Play kitchen is the wonderful option for the small children to play.I really remembered my childhood sweet memories by reading this blog.Thanks for the blog post.


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