I'm with her.
This girl who dreams of being a doctor and a ballerina and a princess and a mommy.
Who firmly believes she can and will be all these things.
A girl with big goals and the confidence to make them happen.
This is a girl I want to stand behind.
I'm with her.
So to keep supporting these aspirations, I try to fill her world with creative play and learning that reflect this spirit.
Despite our best efforts to raise gender neutral children and girls who like trucks and dirt as much as the boys on the playground, these strong girls we are raising let their opinions be known, opinions that more often than not involve some combination of pink, twirly, and sparkly.
So don't fight it, I say. Line up the dolls, fill the closets with pink, don that sparkly crown. But ALSO don't don't leave out the important discussions around strength and confidence and initiative. She needs to hear that too.
Because I want every girl to know this world is big and there is room for all our dreams. They can dance around in a princess crown and engineer a trip into space all in the same afternoon.
Here are a few of my favorite gifts for raising strong girls with big dreams...
Here is an example of a building toy that does not need to be pink for a girl to enjoy it. Truth. However, I love how Lego company draws in a different audience, maybe one who prefers the aisles of pink and purple, thus inspiring a budding engineer and a star gazing explorer. This one is on our Christmas list this year.
My snail loving girl's face lit up when she received this Fossil Hunter Doll from her aunt last birthday (see, Aunt's can be both cool AND nerdy!) A doll with hiking boots, a backpack, and tools. What more could you want. Or how about a stargazer? Maybe a pirate? These Lottie dolls are as darling as they are inspiring, just the right combo for your strong girl. Perfect for the little one who hasn't quite jumped into the world of Barbies. But if she has...
Mattel is so on point with their Barbies this year. Their line of Career dolls show our little girls that their life goals do not need to end at mall shopper, fashion model, or housewife. There is the pediatrician, the game developer, or my personal favorite the girl president and her girl running mate, pantsuits and all! Talk about dreaming big!
Another great way to encourage big dreams is in dress up. Sure, princesses can be honorable, but so can doctors. I don't let a lot of characters make their way into our play space. But I love Doc McStuffins as a model for our children and this little doctor coat would be a perfect addition to the dress up box.
The Goldiblocks line is a fantastic resource for encouraging girl engineers. Many of the kits are best for ages 6+ but this one is a good start for the younger crowd. It involves a bunch of different pieces encouraging imagination, planning, creative thought, and more. The possibilities are as big as they can dream.
It wouldn't be a Raise and Shine gift guide without a book line up too. This is usually my go to way of inspiring a young girl. Stories open up the imagination more than any other resource. But more importantly, it provides an outlet for discussion because we are reading together. Here are some of my favorites...
Rosie Revere still brings me to tears with the powerful message of never giving up in learning and creating. Ada Twist is the next book, and while it's not my favorite, a science loving girl will be inspired by a very similar message.
I fell in love with this book, Bloom, as soon as I began reading. Essentially a tiny little girl with an even tinier voice learns to take up space, speak up, and make a big mess, ultimately saving a crumbling kingdom. Even the font of the book changes as the meek little girl gets braver. It's a powerful message. Listen up ladies. This one is for you. Take up space. Be heard. Save the world.
I came across two new to me books with a similar message at our local book store and I wanted to bring home immediately. In Stand Tall little Molly Lou's grandmother has some wise words about being exactly who you are. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun has a similar message. Have courage to be the unique you. That's the best dream to dream.
These books come from a series called Ordinary People Change the World. There is no better message than that for raising strong girls. There really many to choose from but this collection of great female role models is an excellent way to teach our young growing little girls how to dream big.
Finally, we can't leave out the princesses. Two favorites, Not all Princesses Dress in Pink and Paper Bag Princess. Because having dreams of being a princess is perfectly fine, as long as you don't mind just being exactly you and not needing anyone to rescue you but yourself.
If my little girl grows up with those dreams, I'd say we did alright.