“Every girl you know is so much more than a princess.”
I heard that line from Debbie Sterling, the inventor and CEO of Goldie Blox, a new construction toy designed to get girls interested in engineering. And when Debbie said the bit about being more than a princess, I was sold. I completely and utterly bought in to her product and her premise of designing toys for girls that recognizes the differences in how girls play, but still creates a toy that helps defy stereotypes and further growth.
Personally, I have a lot of experience with a little girl who is more than a princess. My daughter loves much of the girly toys that you expect 4-year-old girls to love, like Barbies and baby dolls. She is also obsessed with superheroes. She just started getting in to LEGO Friends, much to my chagrin. She’s always been interested in building, sorting, and problem-solving. I have long complained that princess toys aren’t the problem, the lack of alternatives are. I have to admit that it kind of feels like Debbie Sterling and I were on the same wave length.
Sterling’s personal story is one that many moms are going to respect and understand. Growing up, she was immersed in princess culture and “girly toys.” Her parents thought that their little girl would grow up to be an actress . Instead, she went to Stanford and studied engineering. Then after being frustrated at the lack of female representation in her field, she decided to use her talents creating the toy that she wished she had as a child.
That’s how we got Goldie Blox. The premise is a simple one: it’s a book about the adventures of Goldie and her friends who solve problems and go on adventures. Then, there’s a tool kit so that kids can build a simple machine right along with Goldie’s story. By combining the character-based story and the spatial play, Goldie Blox hope to appeal to a wider range of young girls. And the decision to bring these two play aspects together wasn’t a hunch, it was the result of plenty of research.
There are so many nuances to GoldieBlox that make it appealing to girls. The stories relate to girls’ lives and the contraptions that Goldie builds always have a purpose: to help her friends. This taps into girls’ innate play pattern of making sure everybody is happy in the end. The building pieces themselves are designed to mimic common household objects, which girls are more inclined to engage with because of familiarity. The set has lots of soft textures and curved edges, which girls prefer.
This product really was designed with girls in mind. It’s more than just slapping a different color on a traditional boys’ toy. It’s more than changing the scene from a pirate ship to a hair salon. (Cough, LEGO, Cough.) It is a girls’ engineering toy.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m excited about this little start-up. I will completely admit that I’ve already made a purchase on Goldie Blox’s Kickstarter, which you can do as well! I feel like moms have been hoping for more options for their daughters for quite a while now. And amazing people like Debbie Sterling, as well as Limor Fried, another engineer who designed her own LEGO set for girls minus the jacuzzi and ice cream shop, are answering that call for diversity.
Check out the video for Goldie Blox. Then go ahead and place an order for all the little girls you know who love princesses, but want a little something more. I’m asking that you do this for purely selfish reasons. I really want Goldie Blox to hit their goal and go into production soon. My daughter’s birthday is in February.