At my job, I read a lot of research and articles decrying the small percentages of women in science, math, technology, & engineering (STEM) and how difficult it is to attract minorities to STEM fields when they have so few role models. This is especially troubling for me as the mom of a little black girl. Marlie shows a interest in natural science and computers. I want to encourage that, but most of the toys and games marketed to girls are dolls and princess paraphernalia. I don't mind if my daughter plays house or castle. I just want her to also have the option to play doctor and engineer too.
This holiday season I am seeing a host of girl-centric "maker" toys come onto the market and I am so geeked. There is hope! I present to you for your shopping consideration:
- Roominate (age 6-10): the original wired dollhouse building kit.
- Dazzu Lighy Craft Studio (age 8+): Spice up craft projects with interactive lights that you program right from your computer, tablet or smartphone!
- Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope and Activity Journal (age 8+): Provides hands-on science experiences that get kids comfortable and excited about science, giving them the confidence to pursue science further in school and in life.
- GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine (age 6-10): a series of interactive books + construction toys starring Goldie, a curious girl with a love of engineering. Goldie’s stories encourage girls to build, developing the spatial skills that are fundamental to engineering
- SmartMax Magnetic Discovery Basic 25 Building Set (age 1+): Designed to make building and learning with magnets more intuitive than ever!
These two aren't available yet, but you can pre-order and get a jump on next year's Christmas shopping!
- StoryWalls (age 4+): constructible play-sets for girls from Build and Imagine. Get your budding architect these beautifully illustrated magnetic construction sets invented by mompreneur Laurie Peterson. They aren't available until summer 2014, but early backers can get special pricing and reserve play-sets.
- Bo and Yana (age 5+): delightful robots that fuse play with programming for kids of all ages. Robots ship summer 2014, but you can reserve them and accessories now at special introductory price.