Toys in the American marketplace are heavily gender stereotyped, creating a variety of social and economic consequences. Beginning at an early age, children foster different cognitive abilities based on play with toys deemed appropriate for their gender. While boys’ toys promote skills in math and science fields, girls’ toys promote verbal and linguistic skills. This difference in cognitive ability has shown to influence a child throughout his or her lifetime, beginning with the education gap in schools and continuing on to influence a child’s choice in college major as well as his or her future occupational choice. Additionally, gender specific toys are raising concern about promoting violence in young boys and an obsession with appearance in young girls. While it is clear that children historically prefer toys designated for their own gender, this paper concludes that children’s preferences in toys are heavily influenced by parental, teacher and societal expectations regarding which toys are appropriate for each gender. Lastly, this paper aims to explore the future consequences of toy segregation as well as several potential solutions to gendered toys in the marketplace.

First Advisor

Kate Stirling

Date of Completion

Fall 12-18-2015

Degree Type






Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Economics

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2016


University of Puget Sound