One of the most exciting and most important toys to arrive here at Rock Father HQ this year is one that I first covered here on the site over a year and a half ago... WONDER CREW. Initially launched via a successful Kickstarter Campaign, these 15-inch soft-bodied dolls were created by a mom who noticed a lack of toys that encouraged friendship and empathy being marketed to boys - essentially the reverse of what my wife and I (along with many others) see as the parents of two girls. Gender roles in play has been a hotly-debated issue in recent years, but spinning it back to my own childhood, the answer has always been a simple one - to let kids be kids and play with what they'd like. Thing is, it's mostly the grownups that are responsible for forcing a "this" and "that" mentality to kids, and even if you strip away all the debate, one thing is quite certain: it's very difficult to find a male doll in any toy store or department. Back in the 80s we had "My Buddy" and a host of Cabbage Patch Kids, but now lately it's been nearly impossible to find a doll that represents a boy - and even our girls have noticed. Wonder Crew takes a step in the right direction, and they're really great toys.
"Will" was the first "Crewmate" to be released, a huggable, 15" soft-bodied doll with a styled, vinyl head. His outfit represents a "Superhero Adventure" a bright red jumpsuit, cape and mask, packaged alongside a kid-sized mask and cape so they can join in the adventure. There's further "Adventure" (outfit) sets that are currently up for pre-order, including a Builder, Dream (pajamas and sleeping bag) and Dino Adventure.
The Rock Daughters™ have had Will as a part of their "family" for months now, and he's truly special. He stands out and represents something that even other families notice. When he joins us on adventures outside of home, kids and grownups alike ask about him, and then I give them the short version of the Wonder Crew story, hoping that they'll seek one out for their own kids.
Right now, Wonder Crew dolls are available online, or at select, boutique toy stores across the country. They're a featured pick in my 2016 Holiday Wish Guide, and are highly recommended.