If you let a group of girls into a toy shop, the there is a very high tendency that they will be storming the isle of pink toys. This has led researchers to wonder why girls seemed to have a preference for pink toys. A study has revealed that gendered preferences for certain toys have a certain innate element to it. The male fetus begins to produce testosterone during the eighth week of gestation, while their female counterparts do not. This testosterone development in boys has been linked to toy preferences for things like cars at an infant stage as opposed to the doll preferences of female infants.
When a girl develops testosterone in the womb, it is considered a disorder and at infant stages, she has a tendency to prefer car-like toys to dolls. This natural behavior has been observed and tested with monkeys as well. A theory has suggested that this is all a part of our evolutionary development, causing people to rethink the impact of toys on child development.
Infants of both sexes have been established to prefer reddish colors and shapes that are roundish to the color blue and angular shapes. At 12-24 months, boys and girls reveal their sex typed preferences for certain toys. However, a girl’s preference for pink fully emerges at the age of three, usually due to the fact that she has been used to playing with toys that had those color as an infant.
When most companies make girl type toys pink and boy-type toys other colors, they are inherently preying on an innate element and that makes these infants play with certain toys. This has a significant impact on their development, because these companies make specific toys more appealing to specific gender through color.
A girl’s preference for pink will make her more likely to play with dolls, which promotes verbal and social skills, and can be linked to why girls perform better than boys on writing tests. Boys on the other, will have preferences for non-pink toys like cars which are linked to the development of spatial skills. The implication of these targeted colorings is a loss of learning opportunities for both genders which needs to be addressed.
As much as there is nature aspect towards toy preferences, there is also a nurture aspect as well, and toy companies need to be more aware of this.