Finding feminist Christmas presents in the toy aisle at Target can be like navigating a minefield, and that's even before other parents start throwing punches to make sure they can grab that last Frozen princess costume before you do. For every Lego female scientist kit success, you find ten Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer utter failures. If you're exhausted by the search, sit back and let your mouse do the shopping. Be sure to check out all of the awesomeness at A Mighty Girl, for one thing; but here are ten more ideas you should be able to find for the awesome young ladies you're shopping for this year.
These cute, colorful construction toys are meant to get girls interested in engineering and building. Even better, they send the message that liking things that are pink or sparkly absolutely does not mean you can't love science and technology. Browsing the GoldieBlox website for this article makes me want to buy nine thousand kits for my daughter, and she's not even old enough to do anything more than jam the pieces into her mouth and/or eye.
2. Hearts For Hearts dolls
This series of Playmates dolls represent girls from marginalized regions of nine different countries - from Laos to Ethiopia to the USA. If you've been having trouble finding a doll that looks like your daughter, check out these ten options, and enjoy their stereotype-eschewing, go-get-'em-girl stories. The only negative is that they seem to be incredibly hard to find, since I'm pretty sure 97% of the doll aisle these days is comprised of Elsa and Anna.
3. American Girl books
Remember how once upon a time, the American Girl brand was owned by the Pleasant Company and not by Mattel? Back in the day, the original American Girl books weren't just rose-colored-glasses views into the past with the sole intention of flogging a catalog of overpriced merchandise. (There was also that intention, of course, it just wasn't the only one.) I recently dug out my childhood Samantha and Kirsten books, and each sixty-page volume gets into some heavy stuff: women's suffrage, class issues, the problems with manifest destiny. My only issue is that they've changed the cover art since I was a kid, so if I complete my collection now they won't match. In other news, GET OFF MY LAWN.
4. Rosie the Riveter onesies and t-shirts
Do I need another argument for this beyond "CUUUUUUTE"? Because that's all I've got.
5. Toy workbench
Skip the toy kitchen and get her a toy workbench - or why not both? Take that, gender roles!
6. Raspberry Pi
If you've got a budding computer programmer on your hands, skip the Barbie computer engineer book and get her one of these instead. A Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer that can help a curious kidlet learn to code, and it can be plugged into computer monitors and keyboards. You can plug USB-compatible gadgets into a Raspberry Pi, too, which lets you turn it into a portable anything-you-want-it-to-be. From the company's website:
What’s more, the Raspberry Pi has the ability to interact with the outside world, and has been used in a wide array of digital maker projects, from music machines and parent detectors to weather stations and tweeting birdhouses with infra-red cameras.
Okay, you know what? Forget gift shopping, I want one of these myself, now.
Why rearrange the chairs in Barbie's dream house when you can make your own dream house from the ground up? Roominate is a modular building toy that lets kids design furniture, rooms, houses, and other structures, down to wiring miniature windmills and ceiling fans. Bonus points from me right off the bat for having a pun in the toy's name, too.
8. Sno-Art kit
Your little girl may not be able to pee her name in the snow like her brothers, but being able to paint it in bright marker color instead should go a long way to making up the discrepancy.
If you don't love this story about an adorable little girl overcoming villains literally using the power of her mind, well, really, what is the point of you? Book or movie, take your pick, but I have to point out that Mara Wilson, who played young Matilda on screen, has grown up to be an awesome lady who writes about being a child star for Cracked andmakes fun of E.L. James and Fifty Shades of Grey on her Twitter.
10. Wonder Woman swag
Wonder Woman believes in truth, justice, and righteously kicking your ass. Costumes, comic books, action figures, Justice League DVDs, and t-shirts ... you can't go wrong with the original Action Girl.