How can I pick a toy that is good for a little boy or girl?
This is going to be short and sweet. Forget about gender!
Children are ALL born with an inquisitive streak, a need for exploration and a willingness to learn more. Forget the idea that some toys are for boys and some for girls and pick a toy that they will enjoy, no matter what their gender.
Yes, we concede that as they get older that some children naturally gravitate to 'boys' toys or 'girls' toys (our 4 year old has a car obsession that rivals Jay Leno and we know some little girls that won't go outside without their princess crown) but while they are little let them explore and don't inhibit their learning by saying something is FOR girls or FOR boys - all toys are FOR FUN!
Your son likes playing with dolls? Great! ALL children need to begin to grasp social situations, and if dolls help him express himself, share his thoughts and learn about social dynamics and dolls are PERFECT for this.
Your daughter likes playing with trucks in the mud? Wonderful! ALL children need to develop a sense of belonging. By role playing with trucks she is finding her place in this world, showing an interest in others and by getting dirty in the mud she is involving more sensory experiences than she would inside.
Your niece enjoys rough and tumble play? Fantastic! This type of play teaches children about boundaries, socially acceptable behaviour and helps keep them physically fit!
What we are trying to say, is that any type of play is good! Children LEARN THROUGH PLAY - no matter the toy and no matter their gender. So let's try and stop putting these constricting labels of 'girls' or 'boys' on toys and let kids just have fun.