Why I let my son play with dolls (win with Shimmer & Shine)

I let my son play with dolls. He has played with dolls for years because I honestly don’t think it’s a big deal.

son play with dolls

I let my son play with dolls and as of yet, his penis hasn’t fallen off in shame.

Mattel recently sent him Shine from Shimmer and Shine and he thinks she’s pretty cool. He says she’s beautiful and then wouldn’t shut up about all the awesome things she can do on the Shimmer and Shine show.

Shimmer and Shine is a Nickelodeon show focusing on a young girl named Leah Thompson who is friends with Shimmer and Shine, twin genies-in-training. Each day, the genies grant Leah three wishes, but they often make errors. Each episode features Leah working together with the genies to resolve, in Season 1 they are in Leah’s world and in Season 2 they are in Zahramay Falls where the genies are from.

Since arriving here Shine has gone for a swim and has had her blue hair brushed and styled. She has been restyled because he doesn’t like her jewelry much and he prefers that everyone goes around barefoot especially him. The Shimmer and Shine dolls go for around R269.99 each and they are pretty durable. I mean Liam dragged her by her hair, Caleb used her for target practice and Aidan had her in the bath and she bounced back pretty well.

Boys seem to play with dolls differently than girls do. The funny thing is that many boys are still not allowed to play with dolls because it’s so scandalous.

Personally I let my son play with dolls and there are five main reasons I do:

1. I have always believed in kids choosing toys based on their own preferences instead of what adults deemed gender appropriate.

Adults tend to give things way too much power. Oh no he is wearing pink, he is going to enter Ru Paul ‘ s drag race and do his brows better than mine and that girl playing with the truck is going to drive around killing men (clearly I don’t really know what people are scared of, but judging by how people want to hit dolls out of boys’ hands and then disinfect the whole kid, they are clearly scared of something).

2. I’m all for any toy that encourages the use of imagination.

Most toys these days have batteries, on-switches or wifi capabilities. Dolls are simple and require pretend. Pretend talking, walking, whatever is amazing for imaginative play and building their little brains. Also, I hate to tell you this “team no dolls for boys” but action figures count as dolls (don’t actually hate to tell anyone this). Ever wonder why people let their boys play with dolls as long as the doll has a weapon…yeah I went there…It’s messed up.

3. The “dolls make boys into softies” argument doesn’t cut it.

Personally, I believe we could do with more soft boys. We have enough butch guys treating women and other men with excessive aggression and “hardness” where do you think the #menaretrash movement comes from originally. Maybe if boys are allowed to “put a baba to sleep” and allowed to learn to care for a toy we could end up with less butch boys.

4. Making something taboo gives it unnecessary power.

I’ve always believed that making things taboo or forbidden makes it way more exciting. If you really have a bee in your bonnet about boys toys vs girls toys. Just remember that forbidden toys are way more exciting than their forced counterparts. Just let them play with the toy and get over it. Kids are known for getting bored with something right quick, so instead of shaming your child for showing interest in something outside your comfort zone just let them hug Barbie and move on.

5. I can’t come up with a good reason for him not to play with dolls.

When Aidan asked for a doll I could not think of one reason to give him as to why he couldn’t have one. Saying it was too girly sounds like I have a problem with girly, like girly was an awful thing to be. Which it’s not. I’m girly. I overheard Aidan and a friend just this weekend. He said he wanted to get lip balm from me and his friend asked if lip balm wasn’t for girls, his response was; “boys have lips too don’t they”. My child sees men and women as equal and I am not going to be the one who teaches him that men are from Mars nonsense.

Do you let your boys play with girl toys? Or like Luchae talks about on her blog today; let your girl play with boy toys?

I’m giving away a Shimmer and Shine toy follow the prompts below and your little girl or little boy can walk away with their own little Princess Samira. Winners announced  July 20

PS. Luchae has a prize on her blog as well and following her gets you an extra entry on my competition and the other way around…


32 thoughts on “Why I let my son play with dolls (win with Shimmer & Shine)

  1. Michelle thompson says:

    Well i just love this post my daughter is 3 and she doesnt enjoy dolls or girly toys she loves cars an building blocks and im not ashamed to say she is a real tomboy she plays rough loves paw patrol spiderman at first id take her to toy section to see if she want a doll she was very unhappy because wanted a paw patrol doll so im an excited for her new fav show shimmer n shine they so devine lol..
    Well with a aunt as a mechanic my baby can be whoever she want to be ….

  2. Simone Cameron says:

    I so agree with everything in this post. We were actually in Toys R Us this weekend when Adam tried to get us to buy him a newborn doll and I was like, no man…let’s go find the dinosaurs. We left there to head to a party and as luck would have it, he found a newborn baby doll and he was smitten and obsessed with that doll. I wish I’d known how much he really wanted that doll, because it was really the sweetest thing to see. I did a montage of them on my whatsapp over the weekend. lol.

    Your son is so right…boys have lips too!

  3. Andrea Thomas says:

    Both my girls love playing with dolls; cars; trucks and trains! They also take part in male dominated sports like cricket and soccer! My eldest is especially good at cricket! And hockey and golf!

  4. Carla M VD Westhuizen says:

    Harvey is two… I have let him play with whatever he wants…at home he is obsessed with cars and trucks and trains like the typical boy, but I have noticed at creche he likes the soft toys and dolls and kitchen things and playing with the girls. I like the idea of toys having no gender rules!

  5. Lynn Botha says:

    I don’t stick to gender specific toys… I have a girl and a boy.. and they are just over a year apart. And they play with each others toys.. together and separate. I was a real tomboy as a child, so I would like them to be exposed to all sorts of toys like I was 🙂

  6. Anusha Naidoo says:

    Little Evelyn and Amaani are two precious girls who play with cars and super heroes figurines and Little Kyle plays with their doll house and teddies as well and it’s not a problem at all. They having fun and are happy and thats what is most important its all part of growing up.

  7. Inge says:

    I have two girls which are complete opposites. One hates and I mean really hate all things pink it’s actually funny. Preference in sports is soccer, rugby and cricket, however excels in netball. The other daughter is fairy on another level, yes walks around on her toes and all lol.

  8. Nicole says:

    Kayla will LOVE LOVE LOVE this and you know what so will Mason! Lol! Pick me! Pick me! My house is full of all kinds of toys and the kids play with whatever they want no matter the colour, whether it has wheels or not.

  9. Simóne Human says:

    Beautifully written, Elle. I am in total agreement about the whole gender stereotyping toys thing. It’s so unnecessary. Let kids be kids without projecting your nonsensical issues on them.

  10. Jill Groenewald says:

    Because Madison (girl) and Levi (boy) are less than a year apart we do not stick to gender spicific toys.
    Our home is filled with action figures, ponys, cars, teddy bears and the list continues. They play with anything they feel like playing with on the day… dolls and tea sets or cars and puzzles.
    They still sleep with teddy’s they gave eachother when Levi was born…
    I want both my kids to grow up being kind and sensitive yet strong and independent… Levi to treat a lady with respect and care for a tiny baby and still be an amazing man… Madison to drive a sports car and pay her own bills and still be a phenomenal lady!

  11. andrea bester says:

    I dont stick to gender toys. I feel like -if you like it , you want to play with it -fine Kids don’t know the diffrence or that oh its “wrong” until people make them know. My daughter loves -trucks&cars (but also loves her dolls etc) and I often hear oh she is like a boy . Why do you let her play with that. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.

  12. Carolyn Augustus says:

    I ✉ mysterious daughter play with whatever she chooses to. I firmly believe that kids should be kids and we as parents should not limit their growth in any way.

  13. Lisa Forsythe says:

    I let my girls play with whatever they want – for my little ones 3rd birthday last year we took her to Hamleys to choose anything she wanted – I thought she would go for a dolly or princess dress but we came back with a Thomas the train

  14. Adele says:

    I let my kids play with the toys they choose! Growing up I loved playing with cars and trucks rather than dolls, so I dont want to tell them what to play with, thats up to them to decide

  15. yvette henning says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with it.. they need to explore different things and I think its good for them 🙂

  16. Cornea van der Merwe says:

    I used to think I’d never allow my son to play with dolls (No judgies please). Then life happened.
    My kids take turns to play together in each other’s rooms, and when they do it’s okay for my daughter to play with everything my son owns but then when my son wants to ‘hold the baby’ in her room, society wants me to stop him. How’s that for taboo and unfairness?

    So no, I let him play, because that’s how children learn. And I totes agree with you on the fact that restricting your kids from something gives it more power. It stems from Eve and the forbidden fruit. We just can’t help it, but in this case, there’s really no reason to keep children from experiencing through playing. I truly believe that’s how they learn.

  17. Kelly Jennings says:

    I believe a girl can learn tlby playing with boys toys and visa versa. These boys are our future daddies so every bit of baby doll play is amazing

  18. Elle H says:

    Awesome! Same in my household. You get to play with whatever you please. And like whatever colour you want. And wear what you choose to etc. Just trying to raise 2 kind and balanced little humans over here

  19. melissa cook says:

    I think it is essential that we do away with the age-old stereotyping of boys=cars and girls=dolls. It’s outrageous. GOOD FOR YOU for raising children who will be more tolerant and open and understanding of all individuals. I love these beauties!

  20. Claudia says:

    I let me LG play with whatever she wants – we love pretending and i love telling our stories back to her at bed time.

  21. Celeste Jonkers says:

    My son is 17yo tomorrow and playing with dolls had no impact on his boyhood at all. He enjoyed it and I let him be. You are spot on with all your points but I especially agree with no.4 That has been my parenting strategy with most everything. It’s also exactly what I told my brother in law when it came to my nephews. He didn’t want them playing with girls toys but they love playing with my daughter. And her dolls are way cooler than their toys. Nevertheless my brother in law relented and the boys have a fab time playing with it.

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