With the rise of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathermatics) and coding initiatives for kids, parents want toys that have entertainment and educational value. And it looks like Barbie has finally taken the cue with her very own STEM kit.
We’ve seen some big changes with Mattel’s Barbie recently as she tries to keep up with our ever-progressing society. Challenging gender stereotypes, a Barbie commercial released November last year included a mo-hawked little boy playing with the dolls alongside two girls. January this year, in an effort to inject diversity into their toys, the Barbie Fashionistas line was released featuring the original Barbie with Curvy Barbie, Tall Barbie and Petite Barbie flaunting different skin tones.
Now, she’s encouraging STEM learning in little girls (and boys) through a Barbie-themed science kit from Thames and Kosmos, maker of science kits for kids and adults in the UK, in partnership with Mattel.
With a storybook and manual all-in-one guide, Barbie hopes to save the day (specifically the Annual Animal Shelter Gala) with her friend Nikki by building several different science projects.
The kit includes everything Barbie will need for the projects. Your child will be able to build a washing machine, a spinning closet, and a shoe rack among other things using 100 pieces that include toy versions of actual mechanical pieces like gears, sprockets, axles, rods and pins. Okay, we think they can improve on what the kids can build aside from appliances and fashion and home accessories, but we believe in baby steps.
The final products are to scale with Barbie, too, meaning they go with other Barbie Dreamhouse models and accessories. Your child will be able to hang Barbie’s clothes on the spinning closet, and place Barbie’s shoes on the shoe rack.
The kit and manual can also be used to conduct several experiments and even delves a little bit into botany (by building a greenhouse), chromatography (by designing Barbie a dress) and art.
One of the best things about this kit is that it embraces how girls play and integrates it with science. It wouldn’t be difficult for an already Barbie-loving child to get excited for this kit. And then it introduces her to basic physics and mechanical engineering concepts.
The spinning closet, for example, also lets the child experiment with small gears and large gears, with the small ones increasing torque and the larger ones allowing the closet to spin faster. The washing machine model unveils the engineering magic of an appliance that the child is already familiar with.
Writer for Quartz, Jenn Choi also gives a good example, “the rotating shoe rack aptly demonstrated the mechanics of a gear chain, which a child can relate to other things in her life including her bicycle.” It’s a great way to entice kids to the world of science. “Without a doubt, this kit can offer any child a very unique and rich, solid STEM learning experience,” Jenn adds.
So, if your child’s birthday is coming up soon, you know what to ask Ninong and Ninang for. The Barbie STEM kit is suggested for kids ages 4 to 7 years old, and we hope it comes to Philippine shores. Thames and Kosmos science kits, however, are available at Hobbes and Landes stores.