Boy Genius! Boy versions of typically girly products from Leah from A Girl and A Boy

This week's Boy Genius! is Leah (not her real name!) from A Girl and A Boy and the new and fabulous Nice Things Now. I love her take on finding boy-acceptable ways to encourage boys to play with typically girly toys -- while my boys won't tolerate pink, they love playing kitchen and it's hard to find non-girly kitchens. Thanks so much Leah!

When I was pregnant, it was no secret we wanted a girl. But before you think I’m the type who wanted a girl because I thought that meant she would only ever do “girl things,” let me clarify that our preference had nothing to do with gender stereotypes and everything to do with the teeny-tiny dresses with puffed sleeves and scalloped hems and embroidered prancing lambies at Babies R Us. We were victims of cuteness, I tell you!

When we found out our she-child was actually a he-child, we were surprised and shocked and, yes, a little bit lost, but in short order we were high-fiving our good fortune at having conceived someone who wouldn’t deplete our life savings via bloomers and ruffled socks. As for everything else we dreamt of for a girl? Nothing much changed. Boys can take dance class and have tea parties and care for their dolls and play dress-up, they just might prefer their equipment for these activities be a little less pink than what most stores offer.

Here are my three favorite boy versions of typically girl products:

1. A plastic kitchen set

My two-year-old son loves nothing more than staging a tea party, so for Christmas last year I went on the hunt for a tea set that wasn’t covered with purple butterflies and sparkly ponies. What I found, though, was that for the price of a four-person tea service or picnic set I could have an entire collection of kitchen tools—frying pans and spatulas and potato mashers, oh my!—and once I threw in some wooden play food from Melissa & Doug, we had an enthusiastic chef on our hands. I bought this seventy-piece set by Learning Resources, but if you’re looking for a different style or materials, there are other options out there, you just have to dig a little deeper to get past the pink stuff. (Searching with the phrase “gender neutral” usually helps.)

2. Doll stroller

The best gift my son got for his first birthday was this blue gingham doll stroller. It was the perfect push toy when he was learning to walk, and over the past year he’s used it for everything from strolling his stuffed animals around the house to moving piles of alphabet blocks from here to there.

3. Felt crown

We hear a lot about the princess craze among little girls, but boys deserve to be royalty too. If you’re crafty, Jessica has a tutorial for an adjustable felt crown on Balancing Everything, and if you’re not so crafty, try Etsy for that handmade touch without any of the stress.