Wonder Crew dolls are something I’ve been writing about for ages. In fact, I first shared news of these toys nearly three years ago – back in March of 2015. Fast-forward a bit, and what we have is a repeat entry into my annual Holiday Wish Guide™ – a 2016 selection that’s back for 2017. Launched independently via a successful Kickstarter campaign, Wonder Crew was eventually acquired by PlayMonster, and they’ve slowly begun popping up on shelves at more and more retailers as the movement has grown. They’re dolls that were designed with boys in mind, but intended for all children… girls and boys alike.
Pictured: Finley with “Will” in November of 2017. They’re sporting gear from the “Builder” Adventure Pack!
These 15-inch soft-bodied dolls were created by a mom who noticed a lack of toys that encouraged friendship and empathy being marketed to boys – essentially the reverse of what my wife and I (along with many others) have occasionally come across as the parents of two girls. Gender roles in play has been a hotly-debated issue in recent years, but spinning it back to my own childhood, the answer has always been a simple one – to let kids be kids and play with what they’d like. Thing is, it’s mostly the grownups that are responsible for forcing a “this” and “that” mentality to kids, and even if you strip away all the debate, one thing is quite certain: up until a year or so ago, it had become very difficult to find a male doll in any toy store or department.
Pictured: Addie and “Will” from my original Wonder Crew review in 2016
Back in the 80s we had “My Buddy” and a host of Cabbage Patch Kids, but eventually that faded and it became nearly impossible to find a doll that represents a boy – and even our girls had noticed. When Wonder Crew hit the scene, a lightbulb went off and we’ve since seen other lines like American Girl add some boys into the mix.
Pictured: “Will” in his new gear from the Explorer Adventure Pack
“Will” was the first “Crewmate” to be released, a huggable, 15″ soft-bodied doll with a styled, vinyl head. His outfit represents a “Superhero Adventure” a bright red jumpsuit, cape and mask, packaged alongside a kid-sized mask and cape so they can join in the adventure. My girls have included him in so many adventures, and this year those have expanded. The folks at PlayMonster sent us a couple of their new Adventure Packs – the Explorer Pack and Builder Pack, each including some new clothes for the doll, alongside some fun accessories for the kids.
Geared toward kids ages 3+, Wonder Crew dolls are available in a variety of ethnicities and retail for a suggested price of $29.99. Additional Adventure Packs sell for about $20 each. They’re Rock Father (and daughters) approved and make great gifts!