I went to Wal-mart and looked around at toys a lot (for an hour, because I had an hour to kill – like omfg, thanksomuch Verizon Wireless!!!!).
What I noticed about toys at Wal-Mart:
– there are not a lot of interesting, worthwhile toys in the age range I’ve chosen
– by the age of 8 or so, gender-role-type toys are basically all there is [Barbies and dolls for girls, NERF guns for boys]
– all of the kitchen/baking/food related things I found were for girls, above the age of 3, that seemed realistic – but didn’t do anything besides simulate real-life ((except for one cupcake making set, but that was for 8+))
– Play-Doh remains to be the most fun [at least to me?] toy sets for the age-range I’m thinking of targeting AND they don’t seem to define the gender of their audience through their design [color/form/function/etc.]
Combining everything thus far, I think my new direction isssss:
– a fruit and veggie peeler that is interactive [via crank, lever, whatever] AND safe -> makes apple fries, carrots for dipping in ranch, etc.
– pasta press (think of Play-Doh precedent) for whole grainsss
– ice cream maker -> some how ‘cranking up’ or interacting with it in some way that stores energy to start an electric paddle [or something]