Diana Kapp in WSJ: Girls’ Building Toys Might Improve STEM Skills

When I was a kid, Legos were the coolest toy ever. I don’t remember anyone telling me they weren’t for girls, but even if they had, I probably wouldn’t have listened.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal featured an article by Diana Kapp, “Can New Building Toys for Girls Improve Math and Science Skills?” [Article has been subsequently locked. Check out the video tab instead.]

The article references several products on the market aimed at girls 4-10, from GoldieBlox to Lego’s own Lego Friends line. While the ultimate goal for some of these companies is to, of course, turn a profit, there is significant interest in getting little girls to love tech and learn a bit about basic engineering.

Important notes:

– while spatial differences exist between boys and girls at younger ages, these differences can be overcome by practicing and using spatial skills which are improved by building toys

– research cited in the article shows that preschoolers who can arrange blocks into sophisticated towers will grow into teenagers likely to perform better on standardized tests

– despite the large amount of pastels, the goal isn’t to just “shrink and pink” boys toys

Be sure to check out the accompanying video.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: One day after this was posted, Tim Ferriss posted an article that included a more in-depth exploration of the GoldieBlox product. See here: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2013/04/24/how-to-online-business/