Do you remember the first time you heard your child say, “Boys don’t ___,” or “Girls don’t ___?”
I remember how my heart sunk. I wanted my kids to feel free to act any which way and to feel free to do any which thing. I remember wallowing (and complaining).
My friend Laurel Wider, a therapist and mom to a preschool boy, remembers this moment vividly. Her guy came home from preschool to announce that “boys don’t cry,” and her heart sunk.
She didn’t wallow. She got busy.
Here’s what she did: she talked to lots of people about young children and how they are encouraged or discouraged to play. She realized toys marketed to boys do not encourage the stuff of dolls—nurturance, empathy, or friendship. Sure, not every boy wants a baby doll. Not every boy wants to emulate a beefy superhero, either. What could she provide that would offer boys all that access to friendship in a doll that wasn’t exactly marketed as a “doll?” What she wanted was simple: the idea that kids can Go Anywhere. Be Anything.
So began Wonder Crew. A pal for shared adventure. A crewmate. Meet Will.
Boys (and girls) love Will and have taken him on many epic adventures and many everyday adventures, too.
From Kickstarter to production, the first crewmate and adventures rolled out and there are more to come, including by holiday 2016, Theo.
There’s more. Will took Laurel on a grand adventure this spring. She spoke about Wonder Crew at the White House at a conference on Gender and Toys on a panel called “Helping our Children Explore, Learn, and Dream without Limits: Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in Media and Toys.”
Where will Wonder Crew go next?