Small Talk Tag: STEM

Roominate Illuminates STEM Skills

Roominate Dollhouse

As Stanford Engineering graduate students, friends Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen saw firsthand the lack of women interested in STEM fields. With only 11% of engineers being women, they knew something had to be done to get girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math at a young age. They realized that the toys they played with as girls were instrumental in developing the basic skills that built their interest in engineering as adults.  After consulting with professors, middle school teachers, and parents, the idea for a new toy was born: Roominate.

Roominate is a colorful building kit, similar to Erector Sets, Legos, or TinkerToys, that includes electrical circuitry, motors, and decorative elements like craft paper and pipe cleaners. The toy appeals to girls age 8 to 12 by combining construction elements with classic dollhouse play, allowing them to creatively build, while developing problem solving and spatial skills. Brooks and Chen developed a prototype and posted the project on the crowd funding website Kickstarter.com.  After just a month, the project earned over $85,000, more than three times their goal of $25,000. Roominate is now being sold in stores nationwide… furthering the company’s mission of “empowering the next generation of STEM women by changing the way girls play.” You go, girls!

You Can Do Anything Good

Goldie Blox

Toys have communicated gender roles for generations: baby dolls and tea sets taught little girls how to be good mothers and hostesses, while building sets and trains prepared little boys for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). A Stanford engineer set out to create a toy that helped little girls do what they already know: they can do anything good.

The result? GoldieBlox, a toy that lights little girls inventive spark and gives them the opportunity to explore all the possibilities for what they can be when they grow up. A set of interactive books and games, GoldieBlox is taking the pink toy aisles by storm. While we haven’t played with GoldieBlox yet, we love the mission behind it: a girl is more than just a princess, they can be anything they want to be!