I am the proud mom of a three year old precocious little girl.  Prior to her birth, the majority of my exposure to the toy aisle was for her big brother, who is nine.  I didn’t have a ton of commercially manufactured toys growing up.  My playground was the great outdoors and my Lego™ collection. This lack of exposure did little to prepare me for the overwhelming controlled chaos that is a retail toy store.

Having my daughter introduced me to the pink-washed rows of baby dolls and kitchen toys. Baby dolls, kitchen toys, and dress-up clothes are not bad. My daughter loves them. I worry though, that she doesn’t have the same exposure to the building, science, and action figures that her brother has.  I am not alone in this. Roobini and Trisshala Sittampalam of Velara Toys are working hard help rectify this problem.

Velara Toys was born in September 2015 when Trisshala visited the Disney Store in Oxford Street, London, to check out the new toy line for the latest Star Wars film. Looking at the action figures displayed, she could not find the “Rey” figure, Star Wars’ latest female character.  Despite Rey being the main character of the movie, she was not included.”

(We couldn’t find her either. You can find Michael Boehm’s piece titled “Where’s Rey” here.)

Velara Toys poses the question: Where are the female action heros?

The answer is, “on their way”.  Velara Toys launched a kickstarter for the Velara Warriors on August 23rd. You can find the Kickstarter campaign for the Velara Warriors here.

The spirit of this project appeals to me on many levels. The characters are strong, smart, and project healthy body images. The interchangeable parts encourage interactive play and sustained interest. My favorite part of the project so far is the book that is being produced alongside the toys. I am a sucker for books that are rich in content and have quality illustrations. This meets both of the qualifiers in spades.

Fictional characters like the Velara Warriors are important role models for both girls and boys. I want my daughter to see that there were many ways to be a woman. She gets to decide who she wants to be. I am excited that more quality and positive toys are on the way. This is most definitely a step in the right direction.

Jerusha Gray

Jerusha Gray is insatiably curious. This curiosity, coupled with a brain that never shuts up, drives her to paint and draw, read prodigiously, make music, write, and sing in grocery stores.


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