Best toys for smart girls
These companies are knocking down “gender specific” rules regarding play; while making traditionally “boy” styles of play like construction, science, and engineering appeal to young girls.
The engineers, builders, and scientists (Bob the Builder, Jimmy Neutron, Lego Man, Sid the Science Kid, Handy Manny, and so on) are men, while the women are relegated to cooks and princesses. This is exactly what Debbie Sterling noticed before starting Goldie Blox: the ‘pink aisle’ is filled with princesses and dolls, compared to the building, chemistry, and construction kits found in the boys aisle. Sterling says that some strategies for getting girls to build are engaging them with a story and challenging them to build with a problem-solving purpose.
Because of the very design of what we consider to be a beneficial toy for this type of play – namely, open ended, free form, and active – most are by their very nature gender neutral . However, many toy manufacturers don’t agree, and the construction and engineering related sets that are released consequently tend to appeal to boys.
Thus, this week we chose to feature a few companies that are taking strides to make these types of toys more accessible to girls in an attempt to break down this barrier.
As you shop for Christmas toys for girls this year, consider the following top girls toys:
Smart Toys for Girls
By tapping into girls’ strong verbal skills, Goldie Blox story + construction set bolsters confidence in spatial skills while giving young inventors the tools they need to build and create amazing things.
“Yes, girls SHOULD feel ok about walking down the boys’ aisle to get a real science kit… [but] if a kit is not explicitly “For Girls,” then toy stores will rarely put them in the pink aisle… We are trying to overcorrect for what is being/has been offered to girls in their aisle.”
-Amy Compton, (BA in English and Classical Studies from Claremont McKenna College and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development) YellowScope
“If kits are gender neutral, they go in the boys aisle. And what’s left over for the girls’ aisle? Bath salts and beauty products with lackluster science. So. Many. Layers. Of. Wrong. There.”
According to the founders, Marcie Colledge (PhD in neuroscience from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Kelly McCollum (MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BS in Biology), the majority of girls are confident in their scientific abilities in the 4th grade, but many lose confidence in the subject before the end of middle school. Each lovingly assembled, hand-made in Portland, Oregon YellowScope kit has one goal: to fix this by helping young girls fall in love with science .
Handcrafted Honey Bee kits seek to nourish and unlock the potential inside every girl to be an inventor, chef, entrepreneur, chemist, or whatever she wants … and dream big. With no melting or complicated steps, girls as young as age 5 can mix, pour and create the kits, which integrate logic, creativity and intuition to develop critical thinking and problem solving.
“We believe that powerful things happen when you engage the analytical side of a girl’s brain while encouraging her creativity. And we believe that small successes can have an enormous effect on a girl’s confidence.”
Their mission: to build bridges between creative expression and analytical exploration through innovative, hand-on & playful adventures in skin care.
Seedling Create Your Own Designer Doll kit not only allows girls to design and make their very own customized doll, it promoted open ended play and creativity. It is a creative and collaborative craft experience in one simple, do-it-yourself kit.
It has everything needed to get started right out of the box: an 11-inch cotton doll, embroidery thread, assorted fabrics, acrylic yarn, felt, needles for sewing, and complete instructions. Step by step illustrations teach the makers the basic hand stitches, including backstitch, over-sewing stitch, and running stitch, all of which are great for dexterity and fine motor control, and other activities for hair and clothing help kids gain skills they can use in future projects.
“Encourage the natural process of thinking and doing, grow basic skills into passion for creative thinking, foster problem solving, help kids to find answers and help from adults, all while building relationships and communication skills!”
More STEM Toys for girls (but that everyone would love!):
Besides these companies listed above, which admirably focus on bringing science and engineering subjects to the forefront of girl’s attention, there are many companies that seek to make STEM less intimidating for all children, regardless of gender:
Building sets for girls
An early introduction to the physics of cogs and gears, made accessible by brightly colored pieces.
An updated version of the classic K’Nex building sets, but designed to be able to be manipulated by toddlers without being overly taxing on their fine motor skills.
Provides mechanical constructions with countless possibilities. The step by step visual activity cards allow kids to get comfortable with the flexible pins, shafts, screws, nuts, plates, and wheels before designing their own inventions.
An invention-based introduction to electronics, with thousands of online projects available. Kids can learn the basics of electronics without any soldering, wiring or programming. With over 150,000 possible circuit combinations, the Base Kit is a good place to start, or you can upgrade to the Premium or Deluxe kit.
Best engineering toys for girls
Did you know?
Female Physics ‘A’ Level entrants: 21%
Female Mathematics ‘A’ Level entrants: 40%
Information and Communications Technology: 18%
STEM jobs occupied by women: 13%
Science and Engineering Technicians: 27%
Board Directors: 17%
STEM Board Directors: 13%
STEM companies in the FTSE 100 with no women on their Board: 1 in 5
Where does it all start?
Percent of parents who want their daughters to be engineers: 1%
Parents of boys are 2x as likely as those of girls to encourage their children to choose a career in science/tech.
Just 1% of parents with daughters see them growing up to be engineers
The role of parents in influencing and inspiring their children to take up engineering-related subjects at school and college cannot be understated!