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Finding the perfect toy for a child can be a challenge. It seems all they want these days is a iPhone, iPad or some other type of electronic gadget. While these are nice, they certainly aren’t must-haves.
As a child, I loved to explore, build things, and figure out how stuff worked. When at a friend’s house, I often found myself playing with her brother’s train set and building with his LEGO sets. I loved them so much, in fact, that I asked for a train set for Christmas one year.
But it was labeled as a “boy’s toy” and my other girl friends were hesitant to play with it.
Thankfully, toy makers across the country have recognized the fact that girls are builders, tinkerers, and thinkers too. The result? A whole new world of interactive play and imagination that allows little women to create and learn from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) toys.
Not only are these toys a great way to help develop and grow the mind, but challenge kids to step away from a lit screen and problem solve at their own pace. Here’s 7 of my favorite picks:
For The Doers & Builders: GoldieBlox
I absolutely love this kit. Included is a story book, pegboard, wheels, axles, washers, blocks, and more. Girls read Goldie’s story (a smart girl that loves engineering) and create a fun spinning machine. There are different templates as well so girls can ue imagination and logic to build new things.
GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, $29.00
For Problem Solving & Counting: Bee-Bot
The Bee-Bot is a fun toy that gives children the opportunity to program a device and watch it execute their commands. How does it work? Children first press directional arrows in a sequence. When they hit “Go,” the Bee-Bot follows the commands. It knows left, right, forward, backward, and can remember up to 40 steps. Great for teaching children directional movement, counting, estimation, and more!
To Learn About Shapes & Geometry: Magna-Tiles
If your child likes to build, they’ll love Magna-Tiles. The 32 piece set (pictured) allows children to create cubes, pyramids and other shapes. Not only is this a great toy to help develop spatial skills, but to learn about geometric shapes.
To Learn About Coding: Puzzlets
Puzzlets teaches children the foundation and concepts of how video games are created. How does it work? Kids instruct their characters to move through a video game by placing puzzle-action pieces (like run, jump, go back, etc) onto the Puzzlets board. Once connected to a tablet or computer, the characters act out what the child has planned out on the board.
For Future Architects: Roominate
Founded by two Stanford students, Roominate encourages girls to design and construct with modular building pieces, motors, lights and so much more! Order a kit and let your child construct things from within their imagination.
Roominate, $14.00 and up
To Learn Cause And Effect: Tot Tube Playset
The review about this toy on Modern Parents Messy Kids raves about this toy.
This is a great toy to get kids hypothesizing about, “what will happen when I… (put something heaver in, tilt it higher, put more than one thing in it, etc…). What I like about this, though, is that it’s a lot more durable than a cardboard tube, it’s wider shape accommodates bigger sized cars and balls, it can break apart for easy storage or you can attach more than one for a super long tunnel, and the kids can see through it- making it so much more engaging.
Tot Tube Playset, $19.00
To Learn About Robotics: Wonder Workshop Toys
Wonder Workshop wants kids to think and learn for themselves, to be, “be empowered to question, think, and create.” So meet Dash and Dot, two cute little robots that make learning robotics and coding meaningful, fun and easy for kids.
Dash responds to your voice. It can navigate objects, dance and even sing. Dot is described as the “brains” of a robot. Simply connect to their app and create hundreds of games.
Dot and Dash Robot Wonder Pack, $279.99