Two Thumbs up for GoldieBlox!
You don’t have to be a parent of girls to see the hard-set stereotypes in the toy industry. Just take a walk down the “pink” aisle in a toy store, and it is readily apparent … pink overload in the form of princesses, Barbies, dress-up clothes, fashion toys, and makeup sets. So, what’s a concerned parent to do?
As a mother of two young girls, I couldn’t have been more thrilled when I heard about GoldieBlox, a cute yet engaging toy marketed toward girls ages 6 and up that teaches basic engineering principles. Created by engineer Debra Sterling, who used Kickstarter to fund her idea, GoldieBlox is an excellent first step to offering something better for our girls. The first set, GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, is now on Toys R Us shelves, and an interactive version for the iPad will be available later this year.
My two daughters, ages 7 and 11 and self-described toy experts, tested out GoldieBlox over the weekend. GoldieBlox contains a story book, a peg board, axles, wheels, washers, a ribbon, and a crank. It also comes with five characters: Goldie’s dog, Nacho; Katinka the dolphin; Benjamin the cat; Phil the sloth; and a bear named Flavio. Kids follow along with the story book and help Goldie, an engineer wearing overalls and a tool belt, build simple structures to complete the story.
At first, being real animal lovers, my daughters oohed and aahed over the book and the cute characters. After exploring the contents of the box, they played with it for hours, followed along with the story, and, perhaps more important, designed some of their own structures on the pegboard.
I don’t need to describe it — you can tell by these photos how much the girls loved GoldieBlox! They enjoyed the characters, the colors, and the process of reading and working with their hands. They gave it two thumbs up! When asked what they would change about GoldieBlox, my 7-year-old daughter replied, “Nothing, I love it the way it is!” My older daughter, who, at 11 years old, is admittedly outside the product’s target age range, wishes for a “more complex Goldie” directed at tweens with “possibilities for building more elaborate structures” or “multiple peg boards that will connect together!”
GoldieBlox is a wonderful departure from what is currently out there for girls. The image of Goldie alone, a girl wearing overalls and a tool belt, is a powerful one that is not usually found in the toy industry. And the gears and axles are a welcome change to a household that has been bombarded with tiaras and teacups for the last 11 years!
So, how will I know if Goldie is sinking in? Well, I think it might be already. Last night, we were watching Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (Mom and Dad are silent movie fans). There is a famous scene where the Little Tramp gets wound around and around a huge gear. Both girls exclaimed, “Hey, that’s like in GoldieBlox … that’s a gear and an axle, and it spins!”
Later this week, my girls are participating in the YMCA’s Thingamajig Convention, an annual, daylong inventor’s challenge. They have been designing and building their inventions for the past week, and the excitement is growing. GoldieBlox couldn’t have come at a better time, and I can’t wait to see what thingamajigs my daughters have created. I have a hunch they will include some axles and gears!