Two boys were playing some instruments, talking about what the different things on the table.
"That's a girl thing," one boy said, indicating the streamers.
I was surprised at the comment about the streamers. I didn't say anything about it; in fact, I'm not sure they even knew I overheard their comments.
A few minutes later, I moved closer to the table and we talked about what they were doing. They wanted to change in the music currently playing on the CD. (It wasn't fast enough for them.) After a few technical comments about the player, we turned back to the other items on the table.
I watched and comments on the instruments they were using. I indicated the streamers. "You know what these are?" I asked. "These are streamers that you can move to the music."
"What?" Both boys were immediately interested.
"You can hold the ring and wave them to the music," I said. "You can wave them fast or slow. You can match the music."
Someone elsewhere in the room called my name and I stepped back from the table with the music. One boy picked up the ribbons and tested them out. Then each boy had one in each hand, waving them frantically.
They waved the streamers for a little bit and then moved back to investigating the instruments.
I don't really know what prompted the girl comment. Now, I'll admit that the rings were sparkly and some of the ribbon was shiny. But I never said anything about something being "boy" or "girl" things. In fact, I usually don't hear anything like that about materials in our room. We had tools out in the room, too, and nobody said anything about those being "boy things." (Exception: pink paper or markers - those are always commented on as girl things. Sometimes I use a pink marker to disprove the whole girl-centric comments about pink.)
We're going to use those streamers a few more times. And I'm sure - boy or girl - each child is going to have fun waving them.