Yesterday, my daughter and I cleaned out her closet, and I came to two conclusions. First, bins don’t always solve organizational issues (what?) and second, each Disney princess is fully represented in our stash of toys (again, what?).
When I think about our toy buying habits, I think of these words: minimal purchases and educational focus. I don’t think of pink plastic pieces, several sizes of the same fuzzy cat, and a myriad of purses.
While I imagine our family’s toys balanced with a variety of playthings, hand-me-downs from friends, outgrown dress-up materials from neighbors, and the more-than-occasional girly Halloween costume has left us heavy on toys that focus on being instead of creating, discovering, and building.
This is a code red.
Silently, I commit to stock-up on cardboard boxes, ban relatives from all pink purchases, invest in magnets and books on fossils.
If only toy manufacturers could create toys that would celebrate girls and encourage adventure, independence, and creative thinking. I stroll the toy aisle of a big box store and see nothing of interest, but one stop at a local toy store leaves me both hopeful and excited.
There are toys which empower girls, they just aren’t always found on an endcap of a chain store. A little extra digging may be required.
6 Toys That Empower Girls
1. Geek and Company Science by Thames and Kosmos. Make glow sticks, create a crystal nightlight, or grow a friend with green grass for hair. The mission of Thames and Kosmos is improving informal science education by creating high-quality science and technology related educational products, and they have nailed it. Ages 8 and up.
2. Action Figures by IAmElemental. In 2013, IAmElemental was founded, by two moms who were frustrated by what they saw in the toy market for girls. In 2014, the company’s Kickstarter campaign was funded in just two days. People from every state and six continents were happy to be a part of a company designing healthy female action figures. Ages 4 and up.
3. Architetrix Construction Set by Hape. Seventy-five bamboo rods plus twenty-two, seven point rubber connectors equal endless building opportunities for both kids and adults. Ages 4 and up.
4. Spooner Boards. In 2007 the first Spooner Board was accidentally cut out of a dog igloo at Old Town Surf Shop in San Diego. The Spooner Board looks like a large skateboard minus the wheels plus an easier learning curve. Ages 2 and up.
5. Two Bros Bows. Watch out, Katniss! These kid-friendly bow and arrows were designed by two brothers ages 10 and 7. Handcrafted and individually made bows, arrows, and quiver bags promote adventure and independence. Ages 6 and up.
4. Goldie Blox. Meet kid inventor, Goldie. Did you know eighty-six percent of the world’s engineers are men? The people of Goldie Blox intend to do something about it: get girls building. Goldie Blox offers kits which encourage girls to design movies, parade floats, dunk tanks, spinning machines. The Goldie Blox line even includes a girl action figure who ziplines. Goldie Blox also offers FREE online resources such as links to their app, Pinterest boards focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and a music video which encourages girls to keep on building until “lightening strikes.” Ages 6-10.
5. Lottie by Arklu. Winner of over nineteen awards, Lottie stands out for a variety of reasons including her child-like body, her age-appropriate clothing and interests, and Lottie doesn’t need anyone to hold her up. She can stand on her own, thank you very much. Ages 3-9.
6. Squigz Benders by Fatbrain Toys. Push, stick, build, create. Push the squishy suction cups down on any hard surface, and let the fun begin. The sound these little guys make as you remove them from each other or hard surfaces is almost as much fun as the building. Ages 36 months to 12 years.
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Your turn: What are some of your favorite toys that empower girls?
A great big thanks to my favorite, local toy store, Dancing Bear Toys for helping me compile this list. If you are a WNC resident, you must shop Dancing Bear. The selection is fantastic and the staff is friendly and knowledgable.
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