Let Toys Be Toys campaign is asking the toy and publishing industries to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.

Find out more about the Let Toys Be Toys campaign.

Pink and blue buckets of Meccano

Meccano – for boys?

Meccano have been in the news this week for their marketing of their new toy ranges at ‘boys 8+’.  We think it’s a shame that so many creative toy companies seem to be unable to think outside the limiting pink and blue boxes and imagine ways to market toys that don’t exclude boys or girls.

Read more…

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Let Books Be Books – supporters

The 2014 Let Toys Be Toys Silliness Awards

It’s been another terrific year for the Let Toys Be Toys campaign and our offshoot, Lets Books Be Books, with some notable successes including Usborne and Ladybird Books, not to mention plenty of publicity and media attention.

Nonetheless every day we receive tweets and images from our supporters showing that our work is far from done. So, as last year’s Silliness Awards proved so popular, we have once again reviewed the year to bring you the most nonsensical, convoluted and downright ridiculous examples of gendered marketing that 2014 had to offer.

Read more…


Yes, girls really do love trains

Last week we posted this blog about train enthusiast Abbie, who was so fed up with people telling her that trains are for boys that she changed her mind about choosing a new train set for Christmas. We asked our supporters to share photos, stories and messages to reassure her she really isn’t that unusual.

Turns out, yep, girls really love trains.

No surprise to us, but something the toy industry clearly finds hard to believe. Read more…


OKIDO – an inclusive magazine

A magazine subscription makes a great Christmas gift, one that children can enjoy all year round, but finding inclusive options can be a challenge. Sophie Dauvois, co-founder of OKIDO magazine explains why they’re trying to do something different with their bi-monthly science and art magazine for 3-8 year olds.

Have you seen the state of the current children’s magazine selection out there? One look along the racks of the supermarket shelves or large, multinational news agencies will show the same dismal story of poor quality, gender-specific, plastic-wrapped rubbish. Read more…


12 fun toys to foster STEM skills

As well as being fun, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) toys, are a great way to build skills such as problem solving, spatial awareness and critical thinking.

Of course we all know science is for everyone, but gender bias means STEM toys are often targeted squarely at boys, (or else given a dusting of pink glitter and lipstick as if that’s the only way to get girls interested). We’ve chosen twelve toys to help curious children everywhere develop an interest in science and discovery. Read more…

pirate abbie

Do girls love trains?

Abbie loves her train set, but is fed up of being made to feel there’s something strange about a girl liking trains. Can you help us find her more loco-loving girls and women?

Send us your pics and stories via Twitter tagged #girlslovetrains or email us at lettoysbetoys@gmail.com Read more…


Signs of change at Toys R Us

We’re pleased to see new signage going up in refitted Toys R Us stores in the UK. Let us know what you’ve seen in stores near you.

In 2013 Let Toys Be Toys met with Toys R Us directors to discuss marketing in a way that includes all children. We were delighted that they committed to drawing up a new set of principles for in-store signage meaning that, in the long term, explicit references to gender will be removed and images will show boys and girls enjoying the same toys. They also promised to consider more inclusive images in their Christmas catalogue. Read more…


Let’s Play Kitchens! – Let Toys Be Toys Gift Guide

Playing kitchens is a firm favourite with many children – toddlers and older children too. So popular, in fact that we’ve had to rewrite this guide a few times as these fabulous toys are going out of stock so fast! Read more…

Online retailers less sexist this Christmas

Our survey of online stores shows ’Girls’ and ’Boys’ navigation options are falling out of favour.

In November Let Toys Be Toys campaigners reviewed online stores to see how many of them encourage shoppers to use gender to help them choose toys and books for children.

Just over half the sites we looked at showcased toys without using gender signposting, and, compared with our 2012 survey, the proportion offering ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ options has declined by 46%. Household names including Tesco, Asda, Boots, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Hamley’s, Ocado and Selfridges have dropped gendered navigation or filters during this time. Read more…