1. Directions: For this assignment, you will need to visit the toy section in a local department store or a toy store in your area. Try to pick a store that carries many types of toys for young children.
Survey: As you walk through the toy section, look closely at the packaging. Are there boys or girls, or both, on the packages? Are the children of the same age and gender? What ethnic groups are represented? If you compare the scene on the package to the toy that is being marketed, are gender stereotypes being encouraged like boys using trucks and girls with dolls? Also, consider the task of buying a gender-neutral toy. What can you find at the toy store that does not encourage gender stereotyping in young children? Think about a toy that would appeal to both boys and girls.
Discuss your observations and your reactions. Make sure you describe how you went about this assignment and include the definition of gender stereotyping.
2. Watch television advertisements for “children’s” foods. Post advertisements from magazines/newspapers or include links to commercials that would seem to bolster the idea that advertisements geared toward kids tend to be for high fat/high sugar foods. Include nutrition labels for cereals or visit websites for fast-food restaurants to locate nutrition information. Do you believe that these ads encourage children to order high fat foods? How well does a child’s typical diet match the dietary needs of the child?