Yesterday, my girls were late for school.
And they were late for cheer practice last evening.
And they were late for school again today.
It wasn’t because they were sleeping in or taking too long to pick out their clothes.
It wasn’t because they were poking around or moving slowly.
They were building. They were reading; they were creating.
My smart girls were busy tinkering with their GoldieBlox sets, and this mama was fine with it.
Sure, we need to teach our kids to be punctual and to make it to school on time. But we have the rest of the week to work on that, don’t we?
We are totally impressed with GoldieBlox.
And I’m thrilled to have a GoldieBlox gift set to give away to one lucky teachmama.com reader. Just in time for the holidays. Woo-hoooo.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- GoldieBlox for Smart Girls–Read, Create, and Learn:
GoldieBlox is one of those products that you’re happy to buy because it packs a crazy powerful punch. Your money goes far because our girls are reading, thinking, and creating.
And along the way, they’re learning spacial skills, engineering skills, and confidence in problem-solving.
They’re learning about wheels and axles, hinges and levers, pulleys, gears, animation and more.
GoldieBlox gets girls building through the context of a narrative. That is, each set comes with a book that girls read, and the pieces that they build somehow hinge on what happens in the text.
Their research has shown that girls in particular connect with a story.
I wanted to know why GoldieBlox was only for girls. What made GoldieBlox special?
Straight from the FAQ page:
Our founder, Debbie, spent a year researching gender differences to develop a construction toy that went deeper than just “making it pink” to appeal to girls. She read countless articles on the female brain, cognitive development and children’s play patterns. She interviewed parents, educators, neuroscientists and STEM experts. Most importantly, she played with hundreds of kids. Her big “aha”? Girls have strong verbal skills. They love stories and characters. They aren’t as interested in building for the sake of building; they want to know why. GoldieBlox stories replace the 1-2-3 instruction manual and provide narrative-based building, centered around a role model character who solves problems by building machines. Goldie’s stories relate to girls’ lives, have a sense of humor and make engineering fun.
And though the sets are geared more for girls, I’m here to attest to the fact that boys dig ’em, too.
I got one. And he was wow’ed by Maddy and Cora’s creations. Big time.
We tried two of the newer GoldieBlox sets:
- GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine: (ages 6+)
- GoldieBlox and the Builder’s Survival Kit: (ages 7 – 12)
GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine: Teaches kids how to make movies. Not even kidding. When I first saw it, I was totally skeptical. But I read the book alongside Cora, and together we read about the bad news: The film festival was going to be cancelled because the projector was broken.
Goldie, the mechanical engineer of the group, calls her friends for some help. Valentina (the electrical engineer), Li (the token guy and environmental scientist), Ruby (the coding expert), Nacho (the dog), and Benjamin Cranklin (the cat), all work together to build a zoetrope.
Right. You don’t know what a zoetrope is, do you?
It’s all good. I didn’t, either.
A ‘zoetrope’ (pronounced just how it looks: zoey-trope), is the world’s first moving picture machine, friends. You’ll learn all of this when you get the set, but in 1834 the zoetrope was born. It’s basically a cylinder on a spinning platform. The cylinder has slits cut into it, and it has long strips of paper on its inside. When the cylinder moves, it looks like the objects on the papers are moving due to the Persistence of Vision principle.
Sounds crazy but you’ll get it.
And when the zoetrope is built and after your child tries each of the movies (she can even make one of her own!), she can check out the GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine app (free from the iTunes store).
Cora and I haven’t even had a chance to scratch the surface of the app, but essentially, you can create short, animaged GIFs over there using their digital creation tools. You can save them and upload them to Bloxtown for others to see (coming soon!), or you can print them and put them into your brand, new zoetrope. So fun. So totally cool.
Check it out:
GoldieBlox and the Builder’s Survival Kit: Maddy dove right into this set, which is bigger and geared more toward a slightly older age group. Maddy loved this because of the freedom it afforded her.
She could basically flip through Goldie’s Diary of Inventions and build anything she wanted. The Diary seems just like a diary–scribbles, doodles, pictures, you name it. And information on her friends and family–just like a personal journal.
Who doesn’t like to have permission to read someone’s diary?
Instructions for building a Derby Racer, a drum set, a dog house, an ice-cream truck, and a tea cup ride (for real!) are followed by a few drawings of other inventions to create.
Maddy was quick to give me her official feedback which was:
- the many choices to build;
- the diary to read;
- that it was a really good pastime.
- that there was a little more detail in the pieces;
- there was a little more detail in instructions.
However, it is worth noting that when Maddy stepped back, laid out all of the necessary pieces for the item she wanted to build, and took the time necessary to read and understand the given instructions, she was successful.
She had a tough time building the ice-cream truck at first, but when she started fresh with the tea cup ride, following all instructions and making sure to identify all of the necessary pieces before she began building, she met with success.
As a parent, overall, I really liked:
- the combination of reading and creating–I totally see why girls especially would love this;
- the quality of materials--the parts are sturdy, the book is solid, and you can just tell that these are high-quality pieces;
- that there are little action figures with the sets–not like big, fighting guys–but little sweet animals that can fit in the creations;
- the design and layout–I love the concept, I love the design, and I love the look of everything;
- the music videos, the cartoons, and the graphics on the app;
- the extensions: the Bloxtown site, the Movie Machine app, the games, and fun for kids;
- the message--that girls are ‘more than just another princess’ and that it’s cool to use their brains;
- that Goldie has a melting pot of pals--really, her pals look a lot like my girls’ groups of friends, and I love it.
I do wish that:
- some of the teeny, cardboard, interlocking tabs were a little easier for my girls to manage;
- ‘GoldieBlox’ was spelled correctly–because I have a hard time with ‘x’ instead of ‘cks’ or ‘ks’.
And that’s it. Really, truly my new favorite go-to for birthday gifts and something I do look forward to exploring as the line evolves and grows over the next few years. Six sets now, but growing, growing!
And just for kicks–check out the coolest video ever. Show your kids. They’ll be totally hooked:
GIVEAWAY: One GoldieBlox gift pack–valued at $100.
Do you want to win your own GoldieBlox gift pack just in time for the holidays??! Yes, yes you do.
Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to throw your name in the hat:
By entering this giveaway, you are demonstrating your understanding of and compliance with the Official Sweepstakes Rules.
This giveaway ends Friday, November 7, 2014 at midnight ET and is open to folks here in the US only. Winner will be chosen by ‘Rafflecopter’ and will be notified on or around 11/07/14. Winner must respond within three (3) days of notification or forfeit the prize, in which case an alternate winner will be selected. All Official Sweepstakes Rules apply.
fyi: This post is written as part of a paid partnership with GoldieBlox; however, as always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my personal experience as a parent and educator–and, of course, my three little classroom engineers. Affiliate links are used above.