Who says STEM toys are just for boys? Following recent market trends, toymakers everywhere are tossing the girl/boy idea out the window, and we couldn’t be more excited. After all, girls like to make things and boys deserve a cuddly companion. From gender-neutral dollhouse play to strong superheroes for everyone, it’s time to let a toy be a toy. Scroll down to see our favorites.

1. Build & Imagine StoryWalls
These award-winning story blocks combine storytelling and engineering—something every kid can enjoy. Your little player can re-arrange the colorfully illustrated panels, which builds engineering skills like spatial reasoning and problem solving while utilizing his imagination to create a new story every time. Each set (choose from Marine Rescue Center, Fairytale Theater, Day at the Beach and more) comes with multiple accessories that make for hours of entertainment.

Available at amazon.com, $35.19 and up.

2. Circuit Cubes
These electronic building cubes were designed by two veteran STEM teachers and are compatible with just about anything. There are three different options— Wacky Wheels Kit, Bright Lights Kid, and Smart Art Kit—and kids can build vertically, horizontally and diagonally (the blocks connect with magnets). All the cubes are compatible with other items including LEGO, cardboard, rubber bands and even wood blocks. The transparent design allows kids to get a good look at what’s going on inside, each block has a play life of about one hour, and is easily rechargeable with a micro-USB port. It’s brilliantly basic engineering at it’s finest and is ideal for mini-makers everywhere. 

Available for pre-order at tenkalabs.com/products (Spring 2017) $49.99.

3. IAmElemental Action Figures
The first-ever line of exclusively female superheroes originally launched to worldwide acclaim as a Kickstarter project. The figurines are designed to appeal to both girls and boys, as the company envisions kids as the creators (and in the lead role) of a play experience. The 4” female action figures take inspiration from strong heroes like Joan of Arc and Greek STEM pioneer Hypatia. The latest line, Series 2/Wisdom, focuses on all things STEM with characters Creativity, Ingenuity, Curiosity, Logic, Exploration, Mastery and Oblivion.

Available at bigbadtoystore.com, $10.99 each.

4. Wonder Crew
Most toys that teach kindness and empathy are aimed at girls, but the Wonder Crew—Will, Erik, James and Marco—want to help change this fact. Inspired by boys, but great for all kids, these 18” dolls help to build emotional intelligence, imagination, and confidence with different adventurous storylines and accessories, including superheroes, builders, explorers and more.

Available at target.com, $29.99.

5. SleeperHero
This super-cuddly superhero stuffie/nightlight/alarm clock wards off bad guys at night and lets kids know when it’s OK to get out of bed in the morning. Accompanied by a book about a little boy who also gets scared in the dark, the SleeperHero is an empowering companion for even the toughest little people out there.

Available at amazon.com, $49.99.

There’s More Coming

Even more gender-barrier-breaking toys will hit the market this year. Get a sneak peek below.

Melissa & Doug Star Diner Restaurant
Girls aren’t the only ones who can cook. The Star Diner Restaurant from Melissa & Doug makes a chef out of any kid. Available Fall 2017.

Code with Belle
Your little princess can code, too. Hasbro’s Dance with Belle doll comes equipped with an app that allows users to code over 100 different dance sequences. Available Fall 2017.

Baby Alive
The classic interactive toy will introduce a switchable “mom or dad” mode and the newest member of the crew, Snackin’ Luke, later this year. Available Fall 2017.

What do you think of these toys? Share your thoughts in a Comment below.

—Gabby Cullen

All images courtesy retailers

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