Boys and Girls Come Out to Play.

First of all, apologies to all my followers, readers and fellow bloggers for a spell of silence! Due to a technical issue, I was under the impression I had published three posts since Children’s Favourites but was eventually informed by a reader that they hadn’t actually shown up in my blog! All resolved now, I’m pleased to say.


My idea for this post was to look at gender issues in the 50s and 60s in relation to children and to talk about how things have changed. I know things have changed but when I started looking into it I realised that there are still ‘boy toys’ and ‘girl toys’ and that many of them are very similar. I think children’s books is an area which has definitely changed for the better. Books for kids are now far less likely to tell stories about Tim helping Daddy to wash the car and dig the garden while Mary was washing up and dusting with Mummy.

I am not going to go into whether boys naturally prefer toy cars to dolls or whether they are given toys people think are gender appropriate. This is more of a reminiscing post so I will talk about the toys we played with in my childhood, show some adverts which now appear very sexist and hope to bring back a few memories for some of you.


Triang was a huge name in children’s toys in the UK and every boy (many dads too!) aspired to own a Scalextric set.


Ah, Meccano! The main construction toy before Lego and a must for every boy.


Of course, girls became nurses and boys were the doctors – NEVER the other way around!

Well, I like the idea of bringing science into girls’ and boys’ play but . . . . a pink microscope?!

Girls baked, boys had adventures – in story books, anyway!


Girls appeared to be either pretending to be mums (kids still do that, of course!) or were having fun in boarding school!


4 thoughts on “Boys and Girls Come Out to Play.

  1. So glad to see you posting again!

    Toys and books may have encouraged sex-role stereotyping, but there weren’t nearly so many toys around then. We tended to play with what we could get our hands on or make our own, like the kites which never flew properly. I remember both boys and girls playing with cap pistols, and home-made bows and arrows. We were also very fond of building forts. Now “war toys” are frowned upon!

    My big sister had a Meccano; later she said Dad bought it because he wanted one! Only girls played with dolls, but I don’t recall many of my friends having them.

    Despite the messages about “what girls do” in books, I think that in many ways we had more freedom than girls today do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for commenting! I agree totally with what you say. The gender stereotyping was more in the books than in reality. My brother had a doll called Billy (an old hand me down) he adopted), my sister and I played with my brother’s toy cars, we all had cap guns and bows and arrows.


  3. I think reading Nancy Drew was my answer to dolls. The 3 girls in our family didn’t identify with dolls, but we did engage in more boyish pursuits. And one sister became a doctor, and the other a lawyer. At the time those careers were male dominated. I wish I thought gender issues were more blended now, but it seems as women make strides into ‘male’ occupations, sexual abuse by men increases dramatically. Men hate to give up dominance.

    Liked by 1 person

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