I was introduced to a new toy company called GoldieBlox this weekend via this rather fun and clever advert which I also ran past my two daughters:
I applaud the company for making such toys and taking such a positive stance for girls – I know how horrible it is to wake up to a house full of pink and purple plastic bits that just ‘look pretty’ and feel that this is a huge step forward in redressing that balance.
But (there is always a but….) I also felt that maybe, just maybe we could go one step further and ditch a few more things.
The gender stereotyping of toys (any toys) is an issue for me. I remember having a conversation with my children when they were younger about Lego. Apparently girls didn’t have Lego and my daughter was told by another child that she should be playing with something more appropriate. She didn’t take the advice on board. I was glad.
But that exchange did open my eyes to how deeply ingrained the ‘this is for girls, that is for boys’ had become.
I can’t remember it being so overt in my day (1970’s) I had heaps of Lego………
And that brings me to my next point, that in my opinion kids get too many ‘boxed’ activities these days.
Everything comes with step-by-step instructions, rules and pictures of how ‘it should look’. I don’t know about the kids but I find all of that rather intimidating and the opposite of fun. Who wants to read instructions and who needs performance anxiety when they are just trying to glue a bloody felt penguin together or decorate a money-box anyway????
Boxed activities can be mass-produced, boxed and marketed. They give parents a level of security in what they are buying ‘here, this is the result’, maybe even allow the kids to do it themselves (unsupervised fun means fun times for mum) and allows a dollar and time value to be ascribed more accurately. It is hard if not impossible to do that for freestyle activities.
Thinking further, I’d go so far as to say that kit vs freestyle require totally different skill sets which makes me question which skill sets we are trying to develop here?
Do we want neat, compliant instruction followers?
Do we want creative problem solvers?
The Goldiblox advert implies the latter while seemingly delivering the former.
But maybe I am wrong.
I haven’t seen this toy in the flesh yet, I do hope to and maybe just maybe it does encourage kids to get creative and maybe even work together – how about that for a concept……
Life. It doesn’t have to be complicated.