Why do my son and his friends bound around the garden and all over the climbing frame like a herd of baby elephants, while my daughter and her friends play in the house, chat while swinging, and role play at being adults?
I know there’s a huge debate about the whole nature vs. nurture thing, and I’m sure I have subconsciously encouraged gender-specific toys, but seriously, they are like cave men and women when it comes to playing on the Rainbow Play wooden climbing frame!
Joe is 10 and a proper boy. When he was little, he loved anything with wheels and mechanics. Now, in the garden, he challenges his mates to see who can get on top of the house the fastest, and who can hang on to the monkey bars the longest. Or they set up an adventure course and time each other to find a winner.
Sophie is 8, and although a bit of bruiser having fought off her older brother all her life, she is a girlie girl. She and her friends spend hours playing house in the climbing frame kitchen, setting up tea parties and pretend sleepovers. The girls have asked this year if they can plant flowers, so we have ordered the window box accessory from Rainbow Play.
The girls get just as dirty and make just as much noise as the boys at times, and they use all the same equipment, but in a slightly different, slightly gentler way. The girls love the gymnastic elements – the shimmy bars and the trapeze – the boys just use the trapeze to see who can fling themselves off the furthest!
Certainly, for my kids, I think the boy/girl thing is a mixture of nature and nurture. They’re attracted to different visual cues, and they’re entertained by different types of play but I can honestly say we picked the best play system – it keeps them both (and all their friends!) happy for hours!