Wonder Crew dolls are something I've been writing about for ages. In fact, I first shared news of these toys nearly three years ago - back in March of 2015. Fast-forward a bit, and what we have is a repeat entry into my annual Holiday Wish Guide™ - a 2016 selection that's back for 2017. Launched independently via a successful Kickstarter campaign, Wonder Crew was eventually acquired by PlayMonster, and they've slowly begun popping up on shelves at more and more retailers as the movement has grown. They're dolls that were designed with boys in mind, but intended for all children... girls and boys alike.

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.

Wonder CrewEarlier today, I took my girls to McDonald's for a "sometimes treat" - a Happy Meal, but only because it's St. Patrick's Day and I promised them their once-a-year Shamrock Shakes if they'd been good. I was surprised when the guy asked me if I wanted "a boy toy or a girl toy," because I thought I'd read that McDonald's was ending that practice ages ago. With no sign on the board indicating what the choices were, I stopped him and asked what the options were. He specifically stated, "for the boys it's Hot Wheels, and the girls is Barbie." Ok, so the Mattel promotion is back, but I have two girls that love both of those things. I deferred to the back seat for an answer, and with no surprise, Adalyn said "Barbie," while her little sister Finley answered "Hot Wheels." You'd think by now all the gender discussion with toys would be a non-issue, but it's not - and while I've often spoken of letting my girls play with whatever they want regardless of what "aisle" it comes from, I've heard that for parents of boys (an experience I will never know), there's issues even more challenging. Bottom line: the b.s. double-standard that some adults still push - cool for girls to play with cars and action figures/not cool for boys to play dolls and kitchen. WRONG. Kids can, and should be able to play with whatever toy they desire, but still, one mom is making strides toward making dolls "inspired by boys but truly meant for any child" under the name WONDER CREW - and it's because she has to. While the initial hook is "dolls for boys" (a phrase that does lead the press release), these really are dolls for everyone...