LEGO has been a hot topic on the internet again, with the recent viral status of young Charlotte Benjamin's letter to the company complaining about gender bias in the toy maker's products. However, savvy LEGO shoppers know that there actually are plenty of LEGO sets out there that both boys and girls can enjoy equally. Parents and kids often look no farther than the "blue aisle" versus "pink aisle" organization of a typical toy department, and the majority of LEGO sets are shelved in the blue section, but that does not mean that those toys are only for boys or only include things that boys find interesting. Here are ten currently available LEGO sets that both boys and girls can appreciate.
1) LEGO Creative Bucket - LEGO makes a variety of basic boxes and tubs like this one, and there are no rules or movie characters to dictate how children play with them. Boys and girls can build whatever they want, however they want. It doesn't get more gender neutral than that. Basic bricks provided open-ended play for any child who wants to build.
2) Parisian Restaurant - This high-end set can be found in LEGO Stores and LEGO Shop at Home, and it includes two female figures and three males. Designed for older children and adults, the set features lots of intricate details and food items, as well as a cool scooter and fully furnished interiors. Classy, complicated, and beautiful, this set ought to make any serious LEGO fan blissfully happy, although its $160 price tag puts it well above the usual allowance rate.
3) Forest Animals - For just $20 kids can own this Creator set, which includes directions for building a monkey and a toucan. Is the monkey a boy or a girl? Only your kids can decide. They can also choose to use the alternate instructions to build a teddy bear or a squirrel.
4) Furry Creatures - A counterpart to the Forest Animals set, this kit lets children build an adorable kitten and a mouse, but the alternate directions make a rabbit and a puppy if those have more appeal. Also priced at $20, this set is cute without being "girly," and almost any kid ought to enjoy playing with it.
5) Family House - This $70 set has terrific parts for building all kinds of structures, and it includes two figures, one male and one female. LEGO currently has several Creator houses available, including a Mountain Hut, a Treehouse, and a Small Cottage, and all of them make equally good toys for boys or girls. Serious hobbyists often buy several of each in order to build up a collection of useful parts for larger projects.
6) High Speed Police Chase - LEGO City does have a tendency to be a police state, with lots of cops and robbers, but this set includes a lady crook making a getaway on a motorcycle. If girls (or angry bloggers) are turned off by the "pinkness" of the Friends line, then perhaps a daring criminal heroine escaping the police will attract their approval. For boys, there's a male crook with a second bike and a very serious looking officer of the law with his squad car.
7) Flatbed Truck - The Flatbed Truck set in the City Line also features both male and female figures, with kids able to make up their own stories about how the scenario might play out. A tow truck might seem more boy-friendly at first glance, but the LEGO product description clearly identifies the lady figure as a "businesswoman," and she does have a very nice car of her own.
8) Camper Van - The current model is the latest RV in the LEGO City line, and it's as gender-neutral as anyone could possibly want. A male and female figure are ready for "amazing adventures" according to the product description, and they come equipped with life jackets, a canoe, and other accessories for their trip. Pair this set with the Mountain Hut for a weekend getaway from sexist stereotypes of all kinds.
9) White House - The LEGO Architecture line is a great place to look for totally gender-neutral sets, since the smaller scale means there are no people of any kind. The elegant White House model might be a perfect gift for a student looking forward a to a DC field trip, but the series also includes the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, and the United Nations Headquarters. Of course, younger children might be put off by the absence of the iconic minifigures, but these sets are designed with older children and adults in mind.
10) The LEGO Movie sets - There's no arguing that most of the movie tie-in themes are masculine, since the movies themselves are male-dominated blockbuster fare, but with the new movie LEGO is showing its commitment to attracting girls as well as boys. Most of the tie-in sets feature the brave and very cool Wyldstyle, and the Cloud Cuckoo Palace includes the adorably bizarre Unikitty in a rainbow sherbet world of colorful bricks. It's hard to imagine that boys will dislike any of these sets, but girls ought to be especially pleased with Wyldstyle and the many female figures included in this whole series.
There are lots of other LEGO sets that both boys and girls can enjoy, especially in the Creator and City lines. The numerous series of collectible minifigures are also great items that any child will appreciate.You can learn more about the letter that sparked the most recent media frenzy by watching the video at the top of this article, but be sure to check out the sets mentioned here before you draw your own conclusions about LEGO toys.