I bet you think this post about gender-neutral gear for kids aged five and up is going to be full of Nintendo DS consoles and iPods. Think again; these luxury electronic gadgets may well be at the top of their lists and they are old enough to make their own choices, but we like to think parents value many other playthings for their older-than-a-toddler kids. This is a gender-centric time where boys feel pressure to be boys and girls may hit their pink Barbie peak so let’s see what else there is.
Striking the perfect balance between educational toy and huggable softness is the fabulous Hugg-a-Planet. My six-year-old is currently obsessed with locating Australia and Sydney on our globe at home so it’s taken a lot of knocks and now the flimsy plastic stand has broken.
Enter the Hugg-a-Planet to save the day. Kids can pass this one off as a tool for school, but still get the teddy-like cuddles under the guise of cool. (They are really still little; they just don’t want to show it anymore!) Get the Earth and Moon version for $69.95 from Urban Baby.
2. Lego Creationary
Lego is the best invention for kids ever. Yes that’s a bold claim but I challenge anyone to dispute it! Seriously though, Creationary is all about taking Lego beyond early childhood so the older ones really dig it.
These will get them off the Wii and out into the sand or dirt. Grab the captivating Willysphere Sculpting Tools for $19.95.
4. Hartia Paper Toys
Kids this age have much greater dexterity so take full advantage and set them to work with the beautiful Hartia paper toys. Totally gender-neutral; totally fun and satisfying. It’s win-win!
The structures kids can make from these gorgeous re-release Playplax squares are quite sophisticated so we think they’re ideal for the five-plus set.
Our kids are digital natives after all so perhaps you’d like to check out the very latest in tech play gadgets from TIME: