It's not just about inclusivity — here are six other benefits to boys and girls playing.
True
Cub Scouts

Have you ever walked past a playground and seen groups of girls playing separately from groups of boys?

Sure, really young kids may not be very discerning in their choice of play partners, but once kids become aware of their gender, they often silo off into their respective gendered groups. Girls may start gathering in a group that plays with dolls or puzzles, while boys may prefer to get dirty and play fight.

Photo via Pixabay.


And while there's nothing wrong with some separation, if it becomes the norm, over time it could end up working against kids as they come into their teen years. If they aren't encouraged to play with kids of the opposite sex, they might eventually feel like they aren't meant to, or that they aren't welcome in those groups.

Even though the 'boys only' clubhouse from "The Little Rascals" might sound like an extreme example, it's not a far cry from what women still experience in certain professions that remain more male-dominated — these women end up feeling like they aren't welcome.

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem/Unsplash

Thankfully, however, more and more youth programs are encouraging boys and girls to play together in order to help break down the barrier before it develops.

And this style of play isn't just helping kids feel included. There are many other benefits to inclusivity. Here are 6 of them:

1. It can help kids work together more effectively later in life.

Since boys and girls' brains and bodies are somewhat different, how they interact with the world also tends to diverge. But, if they're allowed to play together from an early age, they'll learn to adapt to each other's styles of interacting, which should help them communicate better as adults.

Photo by Mi Pham/Unsplash.

Dr. Gail Saltz, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of medicine and the author of Amazing You, elaborates:

"Children learn from being exposed to new ideas. They learn coping skills from being exposed to and having to manage compromising with others who play differently, they learn tools regarding collaboration, disagreement, compromise, resolving conflict, delayed gratification and frustration tolerance."

2. When boys play with girls, they may be more well-behaved

Both a 2001 study of preschoolers and a 2011 study of adolescents found that regular interaction between the sexes both during and after school leads to an overall decrease in aggression in boys. So if you have a boy who's prone to outbursts, it might be helpful to set up some playdates with girls in his class.

3. Making all toys fair game helps build confidence in both genders.

Photo by Unsplash/Sandy Millar.

If there's no separation between toys and activities, both boys and girls will feel more confident to explore the things they're drawn to, regardless of the gender it might've originally been associated with.

"By allowing boys and girls to play together with a variety of toys, including trucks, cars, play dough, musical instruments, dolls, puppets, and legos, you’re teaching that both genders are equal and okay," explains Katie Ziskind, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), in an email. "Puppets and music are great gender neutral toys for expressive and creative play. "

4. Inclusivity can help promote creative thinking.

Photo via Pixabay.

Piggy-backing on that idea from the first point above, when boys and girls get comfortable interacting with each other, they learn to be more accepting and sensitive to behaviors that are a bit different from their own. They also pick up new ways of relating, thinking and feeling, which can ultimately help them develop into more well-rounded people.

"Some of our most innovative thinking comes from exploring the area of overlap in thinking between two disparate minds," notes Dr. Saltz.

5. Parents can personally benefit too.

Kids certainly learn behaviors from their parents, but it goes both ways. If kids start being more accepting and positive towards the opposite sex, it may encourage their parents to be more mindful about their behavior as well.

This is also an important lesson for parents who want to show their kids why it's important to be accepting of everyone. When you show your kids what that looks like, they'll be more inclined to follow suit.

6. It helps emphasize the importance of the individual.

Photo via Pixabay.

When kids are free to play any way they want with whomever they want, it helps them feel less inhibited by stereotypes that still exist in the world around them. It also encourages them to express who they are or want to be, and embrace all their eccentricities rather than shy away from them.

Encouraging kids to try different things, even if they're the only girl or boy doing it, will ultimately help them find their way in life, and realize that there's nothing wrong with taking the road less traveled. In fact, they'll probably better off for it.

All this is not to say that boys and girls should never play separately. However, since that's more often the default, it's important to realize the benefits of a neutral play zone, too.

"Playing together as children teaches females that they can be strong, physically active, and have a career one day while being a leader in the workplace," writes Ziskind. "Men are taught that it’s okay to cry, that being emotional is a sign of deeper strength and wisdom, and to nurture themselves."

There are so many wonderful things about us that can help us be happier and more comfortable in our own skin. Knowing that, it only makes sense to inspire inclusivity in kids from the moment they start to play with others.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Gates Foundation

Once upon a time, a scientist named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published in the medical journal The Lancet that he had discovered a link between autism and vaccines.

After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything.

Keep Reading Show less
via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

Keep Reading Show less