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Funny Business by Christopher Byrne

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6Boys and Girls Play Differently

There is a brief window in childhood when girls and boys play similarly—up to about age 4, actually. Before then, their play is virtually indistinguishable. Granted, it’s not very elaborate: stacking, sorting, grabbing, pulling. Even classic toys like Fisher-Price’s Little People started out as generic pegs with faces. (Before adults got their thinking on them, but that’s another story.)

Then at age 4, children begin to gender differentiate, which is a fancy way of saying that they begin to understand that they are boys and girls, and the two are not alike. This is the age at which they start to play “doctor” and are able to understand what’s different about their bodies.

Though that’s a gross simplification, ...

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