STEM Toys Designed for Girls
Every time I mention the topic STEM for girls, I can see the questioning looks I get - the looks that silently ask Why STEM for girls? In today’s world, where it is politically correct to remove the gender assignment in toy store aisles, why have STEM toys for girls? Why buy pastel colored construction sets?
At that point, I think of my daughter.
My daughter had for several years when she was growing up, what I call her pink phase. Everything she owned or associated with - her clothes, her accessories, her school supplies, her room décor - everything had to be in pink. At the time, if I had tried to get her interested in some educational toy, and if that toy was pink, there would be a much greater chance that she would have used it. So in choosing which toy to buy, for this particular daughter, the color was important. However, when she was a young girl, pastel colored construction sets did not exist. Nothing was available that would appeal to this important sense of color that she had.
For her, and probably for many other girls out there, the design and color of the toy was important, and if having a pastel colored construction toy, was one less hurdle to pass to get her to use it, then yes, I understand why there should be STEM toys in pastel colors - why there should be STEM toys that are said to be designed especially for girls. Although these did not exist for my daughter, at least today for my granddaughters they do!
Although the color and design of a toy can be influential, it is not as important to me as pointing out to my granddaughters that these toys were created by female engineers - women with vision and drive - just as I would want them to be. I want my granddaughters to grow up and see real-life examples of women who create products and run companies - and to see this as a possibility for themselves.
Why is it especially important to give STEM toys to girls?
STEM toys offer educational opportunities for both girls and boys to build a strong foundation of skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Future generations are going to depend on people with these skills to manage the technologies that are taking over our lives.
Historically, women and girls are underrepresented in STEM fields. Forbes reports that just one in seven engineers are female, and only 27% of all computer science jobs are held by women. Although young girls show equal proficiency in these subjects, as they get older, more and more females distance themselves from science, technology, engineering and math. As parents, (or as grandparents in my case), we can try to keep their interest growing in these subjects. That is where STEM toys come in.
Favorite STEM toys designed for girls
The following is a small sampling of STEM-themed toys that are designed to capture the attention and interest of girls, yet both boys and girls can enjoy and benefit from them:
GoldieBlox Construction toys feature the world's first girl engineer character, Goldie Blox! Designed for tinkering and creative exploration, GoldieBlox toys build spatial skills and confidence in problem-solving. Use this construction set to build a zipline and send Goldie Blox soaring across the room over and over again! Introduces the STEM concept of suspension.
Roominate taps into the ordinary idea of building doll houses that girls already enjoy, adding a few fascinating features that girls can build the house that they make. They can install elevators, install circuit lights and even build automatic doors. Playing with the Roominate Townhouse teaches girls how to create innovative and smart buildings.
With the Wonderhood Grand Hotel Creative Building Set a girl can create the hotel of her dreams! Wonderhood is a new line of building sets that inspire girls to build, design, and dream big! Playing with his building set teaches STEM concepts of architectural design and structural engineering, and develops spatial and fine-motor skills, and self-confidence.
There are many other STEM toys that you can purchase for girls. Anything that holds a girl's interest and helps develop her skills in STEM - science, technology, engineering and math - offers her a skill that will be useful in her future.
- Irit Sherman