Creative play helps children blossom and flourish. The Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children is hardly the first to note this fact. So why should we listen to toy manufacturers dictate what is gender appropriate for children's creative play?
In the Dec. 13 Post-Gazette article "Boys at Home in the Kitchen" highlights a conversation between two second-grade boys on the topic of Easy-Bake Ovens. This dialogue is not surprising. Fred Rogers once said, "Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood."
Creative play can come in many forms - including kitchen experiences. Children love to emulate adults they admire and even make believe they are those TV personas. The article points to these boys watching The Food Network's Duff Goldman make marzipan masterpieces.
The same argument can be made for girls. Yet, we don't see pink hard hats sitting on retail shelves amid Bob-the-Builder toys. Why look to Hasbro or Mattel to tell parents what is pink or blue? The activity of learning - learning through creative play - is the real message here.
PAEYC believes those developmentally appropriate activities should be embraced and supported throughout pre-K and beyond. For this reason we set our 44th annual conference around this very concept, "Creativity: Where the Future Begins," May 14-15, 2010, in partnership with Allegheny County Family Support and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Play! Embrace the discovery!
Executive Director, Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children
The letter was submitted on behalf of the board of directors.