New Toys Encourage Girls to be Builders

By Bonnie Miller Rubin
Chicago Tribune

When Liz Hletko goes toy shopping for her three children, finding just the right item for her son is a snap, while the same task for her two daughters is anything but child’s play.

“Everything that is marketed to my son calls for using his brain,” said the Evanston, Ill., mother, whose kids are 7, 8 and 10. “But for my daughters? It’s all about beauty or taking care of something.”

It’s a common seasonal lament as parents of girls scour the Pepto-Bismol pink aisles in search of something that isn’t frilly or sparkly. But the issue is generating new heat, thanks to a video that went viral since it was posted on YouTube last month. It touts a line of toys called GoldieBlox that is designed to spark young girls’ interest in building and inventing. Its motto? “More than just a princess.”

Parents have embraced the GoldieBlox message of inspiring girls to enter the science, technology, engineering and math fields or STEM, in academic parlance turning its $30 Spinning Machine toy into a hot seller on Amazon.
GoldieBlox joins other new construction-related products aimed at girls such as LEGO Friends and Roominate, a dollhouse with circuit boards even as researchers try to figure out why girls are opting out of math and science careers.

While a female engineering professional crashed through the ultimate glass ceiling this week by being appointed to lead General Motors, women make up just 11 percent of working engineers, according to the National Science Foundation.

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