Marina Koestler Ruben

Blog Posts: August 2012

Finally, an Intelligently Designed Building Toy for Girls

A couple of months ago, a friend brought Roominate to my attention.  It's a building toy designed for girls, intended to inspire females to enter the male-dominated fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.  There are no excessive frills, glitter, or princesses.  Instead, girls (or boys) snap together basic wooden pieces to build rooms and furniture, then use circuitry to illuminate and otherwise electrify their creations.

According to this article from GOOD, the project has exceeded its requested funds on Kickstarter, sold out its initial 1,300 units, and has a waiting list for its next batch.  Parents, consider:

The women say they were all given the tools at a young age to eschew gender stereotypes. Brooks got a saw when she asked for a Barbie. Kessler loved to solve math riddles. Chen grew up building Lego creations with her brother, never being told that the toy was intended for boys.

I have had the pleasure of knowing several brilliant female engineers, and this strikes me as exactly the kind of toy that they (and I) would have liked as children.

Speaking of building opportunities, check out Brightworks, a project-based, private, nonprofit K-12 school in San Francisco, and Tinkering School, which aims to "explore the notion that kids can build anything, and, through building, learn anything" and runs summer programs in Austin, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, LA, and Northern California. Read Full Post.