Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine is an engineering toy that most definitely targets young girls. With a the overwhelming majority of engineering toys targeting boys it is a welcome addition to the toy world.
The toy comes with a book establishing a backstory and walking kids through their first Spinning Machine project. Goldie herself is positioned as a wonderful role model for girls, a plucky young woman with lots of curiosity and an adventurous spirit. She is just nerdy enough to be highly intelligent but also stylish and appealing. She is a doer, not a passive princess waiting to be rescued. She is a slightly grown up Dora with an entourage of adorable pets that accompany on her hijinks. She clearly runs the show and solves the tough problems with her brain power.
Building with the toy is fairly simple and the results are satisfying. The connections and mechanism don’t feel quite a well thought-out as LEGO‘s but they do introduce some interesting engineering concepts around gears and motion (spinning!). My daughter (6 years old) enjoyed building the first project and wanted to attempt them all.
The book has an illustration that almost looks like a diagram that turned out to be impossible to build due to parts that were not long enough. This led to some frustration and fussiness from my daughter. Eventually she moved on to building her own creations, which in my mind is the ultimate goal of tech education – to break free from the pre-defined and move into the space of inventor and maker. We do need better role models for girls in tech so I applaud the brand for making strides in that direction.
Buy the Spinning Machine and other Goldie Blox products at www.goldieblox.com
Watch the commercial which hilariously repurposes the Beastie Boys’ classic “Girls”: