We've all seen the ads - girls play nicely with pink dolls while boys bang around with cars and action figures. Play Monster Toys want to help you bust such gender stereotyping with their range of Wonder Crew dolls that are specifically aimed boys.
Starting off as a Kickstarter project back in 2015, they were created by psychotherapist Laurel Wider after her son came home from preschool saying that “boys aren't supposed to cry”. Frustrated that boys are being told that feelings are a sign of weakness, the Wonder Crew ‘buddies’ are to encourage boys aged 3-6 to embrace their emotional side.
Wonder Crew Dolls
What makes the Wonder Crew buddies different to other dolls out there? Well, for a start they aren't princesses in a sparkly pink dress and instead come as superheroes. Each one has a red mask and shiny swooshing cape that immediately scream out adventure and play.
Each buddy is about 15 inches long and weighs about 1.9 pounds, which makes them perfectly portable and light and kids won't get too tired of carrying them about as they play.
The buddies are lovely and soft, making them super squishy for when it is time for hugs. They have a smooth vinyl head and facial features, with no hair to worry about keeping clean, styling or getting tangled up
Everything about the buddies has simplicity and ease in mind and kids will feel empowered by dressing up their buddies with minimal any help. The mask has an elastic strap and is easy to slip around the head, while the cape can be attached around the neck with velcro.
The genius thing about the Wonder Crew dolls is they also come with a matching mask and cape for the child as well. I can't think of many other dolls that have this feature and it will encourage children to truly bond with their buddy. Imagine the fun kids will have dressing up the same and going on their superhero adventures together.
Superheroes not their thing? No problem. Other adventure packs are available too. Each one comes with a different outfit for different adventures.
For those who love construction, there is a 'Builder Pack' which includes a builder vest and hard hat for the buddy as well as a matching vest for the kids. There is also an additional construction pack which includes a printed tool belt and hard hat for both buddy and child.
If they prefer the thrill of exploring the unknown, there is also a dinosaur ‘Explorer Pack’ with explorer outfit and matching safari hats for buddy and child.
And after a long day playing there is even a ‘Snuggler Pack’ which comes with pyjamas for the buddy and a large comfy blanket for when they fancy a cuddle and nap.
The outfits themselves are all fastened at the back with velcro so, like the superhero outfit, they are extremely easy to get on and off and even younger kids shouldn’t need much help. The distinctive patterns and features of each Adventure Pack outfit are all printed on too, so there are no awkward fiddly bits that can get ripped off, tangled up, or end up just being annoying.
There are currently four buddies to collect and a nice touch is that they each have their own ethnic background.
A doll for kids from all different backgrounds that looks similar to them, and reflects the reality of a multicultural world.
The Wonder Crew buddies would be a great gift and would appeal to girls as well as boys. The buddies are all about encouraging fun and adventure, but also about nurturing emotional connection and friendship. It will give you the peace of mind of being gender-neutral too, and if one of these buddies helps to encourage a boy to be more kind and empathetic, then it is win-win.
Unboxing a Wonder Crew buddy:
Wonder Crew dolls are currently available at retailers such as Target, Toys R Us and Amazon.