More

A new company combines action figures with dolls, and boys love them.

A new toy company can be a game-changer for young boys.

A new company combines action figures with dolls, and boys love them.

When mom and psychotherapist Laurel Wider heard her young son say boys aren't supposed to cry, she knew she had to do something.

Laurel Wider believes we need to flip the script on how we talk to boys. Photo from Laurel, used with permission.


It's no secret that the way we use our emotions to empathize, solve problems, and relate to others is extremely important in terms of living a happy and successful life.

Our daughters have received that message for generations, but what about our sons? How can we teach boys to empathize, solve problems, and relate to others in a healthy way while they're young?

Wider thought we should start with the things they spend the most time with: toys. She wondered why toys that encourage friendship and empathy are usually marketed to girls.

"The lack of dolls for boys sends the message to our sons that this kind of play isn't for them," Wider said.

So Wider created a company to smash stereotypes about boys and dolls. And people are loving it.

Who wouldn't love to have a dinosaur explorer as a buddy? All photos are from Wonder Crew and used with permission.

Enter Wonder Crew, a new line of dolls inspired by boys. The premise is simple: Each 15-inch soft-bodied doll, known as a Crewmate, combines the adventure of an action figure with the emotional connection of a stuffed animal.

When playing with Crewmates, the goal is to have boys realize that the dolls are just like them instead of idolizing action figures for superhuman strength and other unattainable abilities. A successful Kickstarter campaign proved the idea had merit.

"Kickstarter not only funded our first production, but it's proven that there is public interest," Wider said. "We're thrilled to get the opportunity to make a difference."

Parents can purchase a Crewmate and various interchangeable packs for different adventures. The cool part? Each pack includes gear that a child can wear to be a part of the action.

"That helps form the teamwork vibe and brings kids further into the imaginative play experience," Wider said.

Transform from a superhero to a chef just like that.

This is a cool concept, and all — but will boys really want to play with dolls? Is society ready for this?

We just might be.

Recently, a Super Bowl commercial featuring grown, muscular men who violently run into other on a football field for a living, used their hands to style the hair of their young daughters.

The response to the ad was overwhelmingly positive. Why? Because people love seeing men with a sensitive side.

In order to grow into a man with a sensitive side, it helps if our boys start by embracing theirs at a young age.


Quality time between a boy and a doll may not be a bad thing.

"Boys have feelings, and it's time for their toys to catch up," Wider said. "Why wouldn't a boy want a friend or little one to take care of, nurture, adventure out with?"

Having boys who learn to embrace their emotions properly is serious business — especially since a recent study found that over 80% of men were uncomfortable sharing their emotions and problems with others. Surely it's not a coincidence that 3 out of 4 suicides are committed by men. It's hard to seek help if you're not willing to talk about it.

And if you think this is another toy company that lacks diversity, think again.

An African-American Crewmate named Theo is in production this year, and there are female Crewmates on the horizon as well. Wider and her team want to ensure every child feels represented.

Girls can join in on the fun too.

Girls dig Wonder Crew as well.

But to start, she wants to focus on boys.

"Let's give boys the option to create a play experience that resonates," Wider said. "Human connection is not gender-specific."

A group of very happy boys.

From the looks of it, Wonder Crew is delivering on that message.
True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

With many schools going virtual, many daycare facilities being closed or limited, and millions of parents working from home during the pandemic, the balance working moms have always struggled to achieve has become even more challenging in 2020. Though there are more women in the workforce than ever, women still take on the lion's share of household and childcare duties. Moms also tend to bear the mental load of keeping track of all the little details that keep family life running smoothly, from noticing when kids are outgrowing their clothing to keeping track of doctor and dentist appointments to organizing kids' extracurricular activities.

It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

That's why scientist Gretchen Goldman's refreshingly honest photo showing where and how she conducted a CNN interview is resonating with so many.

Keep Reading Show less

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less