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The Creative Play Based Activities of Girls

Updated on July 11, 2012
The Grand Marshall of The Princess Pony Parade!
The Grand Marshall of The Princess Pony Parade!

The first week of July brought in temperatures of over 100º for a solid week and limited outdoor play activity in south west Ohio. This meant children were forced to stay indoors during most of the day. As you can imagine, parents dealt with trying to keep children busy and entertained.

For the most part, reading books, building Lego™ superheros, watching videos and playing electronic games kept our grandson busy, but our granddaughter found these options uninteresting. She preferred to create her own play activities, her decision was to have a parade. She spent the rest of the day planning, creating and implementing a Princess Pony Parade.

Piink "Star Princess" riding her pink pony and waving at the crowd.
Piink "Star Princess" riding her pink pony and waving at the crowd.

Girl's Play

Most parents discover that as children reach the toddler stage girls play differently than boys: boys prefer mobile toys such as cars and balls, while girls prefer playing quietly with dolls and stuffed animals. Activities with girls lean towards language-oriented, sedentary play providing a social setting for cooperative play (playing with other children). Boys enjoy the competition in play and express it through rough-house play styles.

An interesting scientific theory suggests that color sensitivity may attract gender-specific choices in playing with toys. For example, the pink elephant with purple ears may be visually pleasing to a girl due to her eye's sensitivity to color. A study by Dr. Anya Hurlbert, New Castle University, discovered reddish colors were preferred by females in their 20's. This may be why most lipstick shades vary from light neutral and pinkish colors to bright reds and purples.

Of course we must not forget how the brain plays into the gender specific preferences in play. Neuroscience studies found the difference is not so much in brain structure as it is in the development of the brain in regions. Also, a study completed in June 2008 by PloS Genetics discovered genes are expressed differently in male versus female brains in play and social interaction, which may explain the preference in gender specific toys.

National Favorite Color Ranking

Rank
Boys
Rank
Girls
1
Blue
1
Blue
2
Green
2
Purple
3
Black
3
Green
4
Red
4
Red
5
Orange
5
Black
6
Grey
6
Orange
7
Brown and White (tie)
7
Yellow or Brown
8
Yellow
8
White or Grey
 
 
 
 
Backstage preparation
Backstage preparation
The princess parade route to the castle.
The princess parade route to the castle.
Ponies, pearls, princess and peeps.
Ponies, pearls, princess and peeps.

Source: Color Preferences of Men and Women, Dr. R. Flanders and B. Norman, Georgia CTAE Resource Network: Study of primary-aged children

The Princess Pony Parade

When my granddaughter was a preschooler, she rarely played with dolls; most of her toys were stuffed animals. She also enjoyed building with Legos™, racing toy cars and playing outside in the sandbox with her brother. However, as she entered kindergarten we noticed she slowly began to take an interest in dolls. Now in upper elementary, she still shows an interest in video games, playing outdoor sports and building with Legos™, but her preference for creative play based activity remains higher.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, she spent an entire day creating a princess pony parade. She thought through the parade route, designed banners, created the spectators (represented by white pieces of paper), and applied a theme to the route (glittery rubber balls). It seems such a simple activity to adults, but the cognitive skills used to think through the process of color, patterns, balance and language skills were highly stimulated. It also involved sensory areas such as vision and touch, fine motor skills, and "cause and effect" critical thinking skills.

A child's play is much more than what we can observe, it's their work. Work that leads to the understanding of complexity as they grow and the ability to make important decisions.


Creative Play Activities for Girls

Play, as it connects to the whole child, involves creative thinking, physical movement and social interaction. It is necessary for the healthy growth and development of the child's body and mind. Although most girls will gravitate towards a more sedentary, social and language-oriented play, providing a girl play activities that stimulate these areas will build her self-confidence and promote positive social interaction with other children.

The following activities will help a girl to enjoy toy/activity preferences and also extend her interest into other types of play, especially necessary physical movement. (Note: check the toy packaging for age appropriateness)

  • Two to three year old: Riding toys, stuffed animals, balls, simple blocks and puzzles
  • Three to Four year old: Bikes, slides, swings, blocks, puzzles, dolls, simple art crafts
  • Four to Six year old: Simple obstacles courses, scavenger hunts, bean bags, dolls, pretend play with clothing, water colors, plastic animals, outdoor gym/swings
  • Six to Ten year old: Jump Rope, balls, bikes, dolls, arts and crafts, puzzles, hula hoops


The parade spectators were numerous.
The parade spectators were numerous.

Does your daughter prefer playing with dolls and doing crafts over other play activities?

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A fascinating article my friend! You dish out information in a concise and easy to understand manner. Your granddaughter should be applying for a job with the Rose of Orange Parades. She's a natural.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      I love the way you write! Your hubs are a treasure chest of practical information backed by research! I don't have a daughter so I appreciate learning more about how little girls creatively play today! Voted up and shared! Kelley

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Your granddaughter is a gem! So imaginative! I raised 6 daughters. They were so different. Some liked dolls, some liked trucks and cars, some horses, etc.etc. I do so agree with you: a child's play is their work!

      Great Hub as usual. I voted it UP, and will certainly share.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Completely informative hub and got to tell you that you described my 3 year old daughter to a tee here. She tells too many times a day she is princess. My princess has requested a princess cake for her birthday by the way too! Thanks again for this one and have voted and shared too!

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 4 years ago

      Hi teaches.

      Very informative.

      As a teacher I find girls love colouring, drawing and playing word games. Girls more easily work together in groups than boys as well.

      God bless you.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      I always wanted a little girl but was blessed with 3 boys, until I remarried and not I have a step-daughter. Of course, I missed out on all those adorable days like you describe. I enjoyed your hub very much.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I didn't raise a daughter, but enjoy watching my grandchild play. I'm sure you can share many stories from your childhood experience that would be helpful to so many, Kelley. Be blessed today.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Thanks Mary for your sweet comment. I think the blessings of watching a child is a lesson in life for all.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Oh, get that princess cake! It's so fun and what girl's like yours will remember forever. Thanks, Janine, for voting on this and sharing. Blessings.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Teacherjoe, thank you for your added insight to the topic. Yes, girls are better at cooperative play, it's a social skill they learn early.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Pamela, thanks for your comment and visit. Three boys are enough and I'm sure they were such joy in your home and beyond.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is another informative hub about child development, teaches. It was interesting to read about how your grandson and granddaughter played differently when they had to stay indoors. Your granddaughter is certainly creative!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Alicia, thanks! The grandkids do play together, but have their preferences in gender toy play also.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Bill, she would love helping in any parade that had horses!! She would probably take her dolls too. Thanks, dear friend, for your support.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love creative play with my grandaughter, she has a wonderful imagination and loves to create 'something' in play so she ends up with a 'product'!!

      The other day we made a 'book' it amused her for hours creating her 'pages'

      A 'princess parade' is definitely she would love to do, your grandaughter sounds wonderful!

      A wonderful, informative and interesting hub as always, thank you and voted up.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The princess pony parade looks like fun! So glad you have a good connection with your family and thanks for sharing your tips to help families stay connected.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      You definitely know what girls are about with such a creative granddaughter! I think our two girls would love to play together. Thanks for stopping in Movie Master and for adding insight to the hub.

      Christy, I think I enjoy being a kid with them when they play, it's great bonding. Thanks much for your support here.

    • MariaTeresaM profile image

      Teresa Martinez 4 years ago from Philippines

      I was thinking of my daughter while reading your hub. She is not in to passive play as well and often thinks of ways to make her play more interesting even while alone. Great hub!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Sounds like your daughter is demonstrating her girl power to create fun! Thanks for stopping by here, Maria. Enjoy your weekend.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 4 years ago

      Hi teaches

      I was looking on the internet and there are many sites where you can ask for donations for free (to help with your sons mission trips.)

      www.DigitalCharity.com

      www.DropCash.com

      www.Fundable.org

      www.RealityCharity.com

      www.FirstGiving.com

      www.Fundable.org

      Why not give them a try?

      God bless you.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 4 years ago

      It's Wonderful to read that your Granddaughter was able to use her Imagine and create a Beautiful Parade. My Granddaughters also Enjoyed this type of play when they were younger. It's so important for a child to be able to play alone. Thanks for sharing this Experience with us!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Thank you, TeacherJoe, for the web address of these Charity organizations. I will pass them onto him.,God bless you!!

      B. Malin, yes, we all need to enjoy playing alone-- it gives us time to think things through. Thanks for your visit here. Be well and strong.

    • profile image

      IntegrityYes 4 years ago

      You including great things in that hub. Rock on!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Thanks Integrity!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      best teacher, teaches :) As always you write fantastic, details and very informative, packed with ideas. Thank you for sharing.

    • snowdrops profile image

      snowdrops 4 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

      Very creative and unique ideas teaches. you have a wonderful granddaughter!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This will become a valuable resource for people wishing to purchase age appropriate toys and objects for girls as they grow. I thought that the chart regarding color preferences between girls and boys was most interesting based upon research. You have packed this hub with useful and interesting facts and observations. Voted such + sharing. Thanks!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      This was so interesting. I loved the parade.

      I used to love to play with dolls and yet my daughter didn't . Perhaps it had to do with siblings. I had two sisters and my daughter only a brother.

      Very thought provoking.

      Voted up.

    • profile image

      KatrineDM 4 years ago

      When I read this great article and looked at those lovely pictures I thought I was reading about my daughter's interests and play activities. Although she loves playing with the dolls, she is a creative type, and she has an eye for a detail. She loves crafts and she can come up with all sorts of games that include playing with ponies and barbies just as you described. And it can keep them busy for quite some time, because they get their creative spirit out...

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi fascinating hub and subject, If I remember right I tended to play more with boys toys than girls. I remember my poor mum buying a lovely dolls pram, with matching covers and frills around the side. It was pushed once then shoved in the cupboard! lol! good points, and I never realised about the color differences etc, I have a friend who has just had a little girl so I am going to be watching now! voted up! cheers nell

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Unknown, I sometimes wish I could play like this again, still can somewhat when my granddaughter is around. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Hi Snow, thanks! Love my grandkids, they do keep me active and loving life.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Hey, Peggy! I thought the color choice information was interesting as well. I do prefer the purples, reds and pinks still at my age. I appreciate your support through the votes and visit. Blessings!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Hello Blond Logic, not every girl/boy has a strong preference for gender-based toys. It's the manner of play and the purpose that is noted in activities. I played a bit with dolls growing up, but my siblings referred to me as the "tomboy" in the family. Thanks for your support and have fun out there!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      You certainly do have a girl on your hands, Katrine. Creative, social play is what girls do best! Enjoy your daughter!!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Nell, I had a similar play style when young. Had a doll, but preferred to climb trees, run and jump. It's the creative, social play that really marks girls. Thanks for coming by and for your support. Enjoy your day!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      great and informative hub, teaches12345. I don't have a girl but, am fwding this hub to a couple of my friend's who have daughters and want ways to beat the heat.

      cheers!

      voted up as interesting.

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 4 years ago from The Shire

      This is fascinating, Teaches. Your granddaughter essentially made up and dramatized a story with characters and plot, instead of having one ready made for her through a book or a video game.

      Maybe she'll grow up to be a writer like her Grandma! :-)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 years ago from London, UK

      This is beautiful to read. Your daughter is very creative too. This is a Hub I would definitely want to visit again. It's one of those Hubs that has a lot of tips and one definitely needs to refer to it from time to time.

      Hubpages used to have a Book marking facility. Pity they stopped it.

      Brilliant Hub

      Thanks.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Ruchira, so glad you found this interesting and thanks for sharing with those who could also use the information. Take care, dear friend.

      Molly, that's so funny -- my husband just said the same thing! I guess creativity can be a good thing to pass on. Enjoy your evening.

      Lady E, I do miss the bookmark also as I have come across hubs that I wanted to save for later. Thanks for stopping by here. Yes, my granddaughter is one that loves to plan and organize -- who knows what she will think of next!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Very interesting and informative too. Creative play is great for children. It enhances their imagination and thought process. The princess pony parade is very interesting and great fun. Voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Thanks, Vellur! I appreciate your visit here and supportive vote. I think I enjoy watching her play as much as she enjoys creating it.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Very fun! You have an imaginative granddaughter and you're a wonderful grandmother to help her fulfill her imagination. :D I didn't realize southern Ohio got so hot! I live in the mountains of western NC and we're close to a large river. It gets humid but not that hot - usually about 85 degrees on really hot days. What fun!!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      Fascinating insight, Dianna. I love the way you mix science fact with practical input. I have two boys and a daughter. Anna is highly creative loves to draw, set up scenes, play act, sing and play with dolls. Her energy and enthusiasm is boundless. We let our children pick their favourite pastime and encourage creativity. I know her room is so messy but there are so many treasures of creativity in there it is astounding. thanks for validating our thoughts. voted up of course.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Cclitgirl, this is an unusual summer for the midwest. Usually it runs around 85 to 90 degrees, but it is humid. I hope this area gets some relief soon. Thus, it was a week to find some creative play activity, which girls are pretty good at on their own. Thanks for your vote of support and visit See you around the neighborhood.

      Docmo, thank you for your validation of the content. I try to break what I have learned down into layman's terms so that it is useful and can be applied. I'm sure that in your profession you have similar methods of sharing with people. Anna is all girl and I'll bet she makes the most playtime very interesting. You are doing well to encourage creativity, this does help them to critically think and will only strengthen them as future leaders.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      This made perfect sense to me - my daughter loved her dolls and she also loved model horses as well so we had many a 'gymkana' set up in our living room and she played a lot with her friends with this game.

      Teaches, an interesting hub. Voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Jools, you sound like really fun parents who know who to make life exciting! Love to hear this kind of sharing. Thanks for the votes.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      teaches, another wonderful hub. I always wanted a girl. Instead, I got two boys. :) This was a great read, really enjoyed it and will be sharing with my friends that have girls. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Ttoombso8, glad that you have your boys to bless you with their active and creative minds. Thanks for sharing this with others and for your visit. Be safe and well.

    • Sturgeonl profile image

      Sturgeonl 4 years ago

      I could not help making many connections to my childhood memories when I read your hub. It reminded me of all the projects I liked to create when I was a young girl. Thank you for bringing back the fond memories. Voted beautiful!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I am happy to hear how enjoyable the read was for you, Sturgeonl. I still enjoy that creativity through the kids I play with. Thanks for your support and have a great weekend.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hahahah I can just imagine this one....so cute and imaginative! In our house, we seem to be surrounded with kids that are boys..now I wish someone would give birth to a girl too! Love and blessings, Dianna.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Michelle, enjoy those boys.. maybe a girl will come later? Thanks for the support on this hub topic. It is fun to watch her play because she's very creative. Blessings and love to you, too!

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      You have a great way of doing illustrations and it is obvious you have been a resourceful teacher. I have picked some suggestions from this article that i will try with my niece, thanks. Voted up, useful and shared with followers.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Dwachira, if you niece is like most other girls, she will enjoy the chance to create and make a parade. Enjoy your time together. Thanks for the votes and sharing.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 4 years ago from United States

      What interesting information! To think that we're wired to have preferences in colors and certain activities.

      I like to watch my daughter, 1.5 years old, play. While she loves playing with 'boy' toys with her bother (trucks, blocks, etc.) she also loves playing with her dolls. She likes to color as well, and is a bit more disciplined than her brother at trying to stay in the lines. It's funny to see how alike yet how different the two of them can be.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Yes, it is something to see how their natural preference in play emerges. PracticalMommy, I still prefer reds and purples in colors as well, so girly! Thanks for your support and visit here. Be safe out there.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      krsharp05 4 years ago from 18th and Vine

      What a wonderful parade. I was fascinated by the intricate and creative design she set up! Fantastic! -K

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Hey krsharp! I am glad you enjoyed the parade. She has recently designed an animal zoo which I am posting on this week. Great time visiting with you, my friend. Keep focused and continue your happy journey.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Now my daughter i in college, but your hub reminds me, when he was studying in school, i was searching for pink color, which i her favorite, interesting hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I so enjoy your comments and visits, Girishpuri. Pink is such a winning color with colors, along with purple. It's fun to watch them enjoy the choices in colors.

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 4 years ago from Florida

      Hey Teaches,

      As I read through I tried to keep both my girls in mind. My oldest JUST started kindergarden as you may remember and my youngest is rapidly approaching 4.

      I answered your poll with they enjoy all activites, well because they do. However they are both just entering more "independant" stages as you mentioned kindergarden as the "marker" for differential play.

      Regardsless I voted interesting (as always) and useful. Thanks for sharing!

      ~Becky

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Thanks Becky for stopping in here and for leaving your feedback on the topic. I am sure your girls will come up with some very creative play activities as they begin to explore their world. They do play differently at younger ages, but always they provide us with much enjoyment. Enjoy those sweet children!

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      My daughter, now 14, was into stuffed animals, especially dogs. Once she asked for a Bratz Doll, which she got, but didn't really play much with it. She was either reading, or with her stuffed puppies.

      Great hub teaches12345!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      ComfortB, my granddaughter loves horses and stuffed animals first; dolls are accessories. I'll bet she will keep her stuffed anilmals until she is way into her teens. Thanks for your supportive visit. Blessings!

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Your granddaughter has great imagination and knows how to use your space. My daughter loves her Little Pet Shop toys and makes different village scenarios. Her favorite colors are pink and blue.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      It's interesting how girls gravitate to this type of play and colors isn't it? I like the Littie Pet Shop toys because they are so varied and allow kids to play with much creativity. Enjoy your granddaughter!

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