Inspired by the way play influences child development and frustrated by the many gender stereotypes that toys perpetuate, psychotherapist and mom, Laurel Wider came up with Wonder Crew – a new line of dolls geared toward preschool aged boys.
The 15 inch soft-bodied dolls, referred to as Crewmates, provide boys with the opportunity to build emotional intelligence and creativity, addressing the developmental needs of the whole boy rather than only those commonly recognized as “masculine.”
Many toys for boys are muscle bound and even violent, “we need another option,” said Wider. She spoke to a large toy company that told her “dolls will never be mainstream for boys.” She intends to enlighten them.
Despite having worked for years with clients who felt stifled by hyper-masculine stereotypes, Wider was shocked when her own son came home from preschool one day and announced that “boys aren’t supposed to cry.”
Studies show that strong relationships and the ability to connect emotionally are key to happiness, health and even career success, yet currently toys that encourage friendship and empathy are only marketed to girls, sending the message to many boys that this kind of play is not for them.
Wonder Crew launched a Kickstarter Campaign on March 3. Three days into the campaign, Wonder Crew was funded at 30 percent. It is Wider’s hope that this campaign will raise the funds needed to go into production, but equally as important, show public interest – “big toy companies might not listen to me, but they will listen to the promise of customers.”
“Our culture is changing, we’re beginning to understand the importance of kindness and connection – even the NFL has caught on. Boys have feelings, it’s time for their toys to catch up,” Wider added.
About Wonder Crew
Wonder Crew was founded in 2014 by mom/psychotherapist Laurel Wider. Wonder Crew empowers children to be the leaders, teachers, caretakers, problem solvers and dreamers of their own adventures.
Crewmates combine the adventure of an action figure with the emotional connection of a child’s favorite stuffed animal. Included with each Crewmate is a child-sized matching-piece of adventure gear. When children suit up alongside their Crewmate, a sense of team (or crew) begins to form and imaginative play deepens.