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Defining Movement Within The World Of Boys and Their Toys

Updated on July 7, 2012
Movement such as balls rolling down a chute is a physical dimension attractive to young boys.
Movement such as balls rolling down a chute is a physical dimension attractive to young boys.

Movement Defined

Although the basic application of movement is the act or an instance of moving: a change in place or position, movement defined for the purposes of this article most closely relates to, "the suggestion or illusion of motion in a painting, sculpture, or design. The progression of events in the development of a literary plot." (Free

Movement has an artistic flow and beauty to it when it is applied to certain objects in motion, such as cars. Speaking scientifically, movement is the process of relocation of objects in space over time, or literal movement. and it operates in the fourth dimension. (C. Jirousek, Cornell University, 1995). If you doubt the reasoning in this statement, ask any man to describe a Ferrari, it's all about the beauty of the car's speed through time in relation to distance.

Boys love racing vehicles while clocking the speed and noting the power!
Boys love racing vehicles while clocking the speed and noting the power!
Collecting toy show cars is a hobby for most boys.
Collecting toy show cars is a hobby for most boys.
Relics from my son's past play days passed on to our grandson.
Relics from my son's past play days passed on to our grandson.

Movement Relative To Boys and Toys

In my observations of boys at play, children as young as twelve to eighteen months will put movement to any toy you give them. If the toy has wheels, then they explore the movement capabilities regarding power and speed. Some boys, my grandson in particular, become fascinated with the wheels and will spend quite a bit of time rolling the vehicle back and forth while observing the tire rotation.

When my grandson was a toddler, we had a big plastic green mountain that he used to roll his matchbox cars down through narrow roads and through tunnels. The faster the cars went, the better. As a preschooler, he extended the mountain by adding cardboard tubes, small wooden planks and blocks to propel the cars through space, recording how fast and far each went through the track.

Toddlers demonstrate a toy preference based upon prenatal testosterone. Moving vehicles or parts, such as balls, cars, and trucks stimulate and satisfy a boy's hormonal, physical composure. It is an innate bias within boy's that steer them towards gender-stereotyped toys (source: K. Frey, University of Washington and D. Ruble, New York University, 1992). As boys mature, building activities such as using blocks to form road tracks or patterns for toy cars, satisfies their internal need to explore physical and spatial skills. There is something about the brain stem development that is strengthened through the sensory-motor connection in regards to movement through space.

Boys are made with more muscle mass than girls and this may be another reason why boys tend to play a little more aggressively than girls with their toys. As they roll, race and propel cars through tunnels and racetracks the motion stimulates the kinesthetic system which is responsible in part for balance, perception of movement and orientation through space. This type of play in boys develops and prepares the brain for cognitive, social and emotional learning experiences.

Parents should take note that although boys are prone to this type of activity, girls also need a similarly based physically active experience and allowing them to play along with a brother is a great way to help both children build social, language, and cognitive skills.

What Do You Think?

Do you believe boys have an innate bias towards playing with toy trucks and cars?

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Creating A Platform For Movement

With the definition of movement in mind and how boys use it to develop both mentally and physically, parents can create play environments at home to stimulate active learning.

Create a space in your home for active play. Provide blocks, assorted vehicles, play figures and materials such as hats for pretend play. A small play garage, racetrack or wooden railroad tracks are also great adds to this area. Make sure they are age appropriate and safe for your child. Cardboard tubing, large plastic plumbing pipes, boxes, and styrofoam packaging all add to the movement experience.

Take time to play with your child. This is a great opportunity for you to engage in conversation while increasing you child's knowledge of language and vocabulary.As you play, use variations of descriptive action words such as fast, rapid, speed, power, and estimate. Adding fun to the experience with sounds like "whoosh" will also keep your child engaged in learning.

Don't forget to set up a play area outdoors also. A sandbox is a natural setting for dump trucks and other construction vehicles, but can also be used as an active play area by adding wooden blocks, makeshift slides and other active play items.

Encourage cooperative play. As mentioned earlier, if your child has siblings, girls included, encourage them to play together as it will help them to learn social skills, especially to differentiate between cooperative play and competition. Boys tend to want to compete with others, which is fine under some circumstances, but learning how to play with another child (cooperative play) and not against them is also beneficial.

Boy's Toys: They Never Out Grow Them!


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    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Jodah, I was a tomboy growing up too. I can remember getting police cars and firetrucks for Christmas toys -- it didn't deter my girlish preferences as I grew. I'm sure your daughter experienced the same. Thanks for the supportive comment.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Gondwana Land

      Hi teaches, great hub and I agree with what you say. I have three boys and one girl (now all grown with kids of their own), and our house was full of cars and Lego. My daughter was a tomboy too and preferred to play with the traditional boy toys than dolls and the like, much to my wife's distress. Voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Audrey, my son and grandson took a liking to anything with wheels as soon as they discovered play -- about 6 months old! Thanks for sharing.

      Ruby, oh you are so right -- boys can imiate car noises so well. Enjoy your day.

      Carla, have fun watching your grandson at play. They do indeed have a different idea of fun. Be well and safe.

    • carlajbehr profile image

      Carla J Swick 

      7 years ago from NW PA

      My grandson loves truck and cars and interactive video games. I had four girls so watching him at play is a whole new experience for me. He's so cool, but different. Thanks for sharing as always, Teaches!

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 

      7 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Oh yes, my boys would quickly crawl after a bright toy truck we rolled across the floor. Funny at times getting them to let go of it, so we could roll it for them again. Some of the greatest vehicle sounds I ever heard came from preschool boys!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      When my 2 boys were little, it was all about race cars and dump trucks. And I was right there on the ground with them:) This is a great hub for anyone to read but especially for new parents. You've provided some excellent concepts my friend. Voted up and all the good stuff and sharing. ~ Audrey

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      Krsharp, I am chuckling over your talk about the cleaning -- boys! Love them! I am thankful for your visit here and the add to the subject. Be well and strong!

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      8 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Wonderful points about how boys play. We built a sandbox for our boys when they were young and we couldn't keep them out of it. Unfortunately we moved from that house :( They still love to explore and build but the elements are much more sophisticated! Thank Heaven for Oxy-clean and stain removers. Great hub.

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      Vinaya, it's interesting to hear how you became interested in play layer in life through your nephew. Perhaps your play as a child was expressed in different forms, analytically inclined people have other creative expressions in play. Thanks for adding to this hub topic.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      9 years ago from Nepal

      I was never interested in child activities until my nephew was born. Thanks for this informative article on boy child.

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      I think my own son had the largest number of vehicles on wheels of any boy at the time. Thanks for coming in to visit, Rtalloni

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      A good look at movement and toys where boys are concerned. Understanding these concepts helps us understand some of boys' needs--so important!

      Sure brings back memories of our son when he was a little guy.

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      Dwachira, I imagine your two year old enjoys your playtime together-- keep it up!! It's so nice to hear this, take care and thanks for your support.

    • dwachira profile image

      Danson Wachira 

      9 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Great tips, i really enjoy playing with my 2 year old son, i like to see how active he is and the playing help to improve the father-child bonding. Thank for sharing this information. Voted up, useful and i will share this.

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      Hello there, Alocsin! Boys mostly love playing with mobile vehicles and it continues through life. My hubby has an old favorite sitting in our garage!

      Alissa, you have a point... even if it doesn't have wheels they will put it into something that does just for the movement. LOL! Thanks for your votes and support.

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 

      9 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Having two boys I will definitely agree with their love of movement. Even if they are playing with a toy that doesn't have wheels, you can be sure they will eventually put it in the back of a truck or car just so they can zoom it across the room. Very interesting hub - voted up!

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      9 years ago from Orange County, CA

      It sounds like toys with wheels are the ones to get for this age group. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      Thanks, girishpuri. Much appreciate your vote and support!

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 

      9 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Great learning hub and an interesting article about movement and play, voted up

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      Nell, you have made my day. It's always good to hear from a professional in the field how your writing is on target with the facts. Thanks, my friend, for your support.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, I studied this in psychology, the differences between the girls and the boys, and motion and tostesterone was one of the subjects, brought it all back! lol! this was really interesting, thanks nell

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      Ttoombs, glad you came in to visit and got something in return. Thanks for your loyal support. Enjoy your day!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      9 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Teach, I always learn something from your hubs. Thank you! :) VUMS.

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      Lindacee, boys love all kinds of toys but love vehicles on wheels. Thanks for stopping by. Take care!

      Janine, girls play differently but still actively. Getting ready to post a hub on how they play. :)

      Jackie, you poor girl! You must have seen some very rough play around the home. Thanks for visiting and have a great evening.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      9 years ago from the beautiful south

      This brings up some good points about what comes naturally. With four younger brothers I can attest to that. I wonder still how they lived to grow up!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      9 years ago from New York, New York

      Very informative. Being the mom of 2 girls, I have no real vantage point here, but definitely some very good and solid information. Voted up and sharing too.

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Very interesting article about movement and play. I had never made the connection that boys might be more naturally drawn to playing with toys with wheels. Great Hub!

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      Our son still has his stuffed toys as well, they are comforting reminders of childhood. You were so fortunate to have grown up in a farm. They play activities must have been so exciting!

    • teacherjoe52 profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi teaches.

      Very good points.

      I really agree with the last three.

      Fortunatly for me growing up on a farm we had lots of thinhs to improvise to make toy and animals to play with.

      There was on toy my mom still teases me about. I kept my teddy bear until I was ten.

      God bless you.

    • teaches12345 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      MHatter, I still play with rubber duckies!! Generally, boys will develop more active play as they reach 18+ months. Good to see you here. Have a great time playing with your son.

      Kelly, I have had my share of playing with cars, trucks and the like through the years. Boys are really into playing rough! Take care!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      As a mom of three boys I can definitely agree that boys are energy in motion. All my boys love trucks, wheels, tractors etc. in fact my 2 yr old is playing with a tractor right now. Great hub! Voted up and shared. Kelley

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      from the time Peter was born he "played' with toys I always wanted, including "his" rubber duck collection. What is a 1 year old going to do with a road race set? :))


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