Friday, March 15, 2013

Goldie Blox - Engineering Toy

I was introduced to GoldieBlox via their Kickstarter campaign back in September. A friend had messaged me the link via Facebook since I'm very pro-science/engineering and also a Stanford alum. It turned out the inventor of GoldBlox graduated Stanford at the time I was entering grad school. Her back story also involves a lot of volunteer service and a desire to get young girls interested in engineering. Based on my desires to spread the love of science to the younger generation, I thought I'd support the cause just for that reason alone, even if I didn't have a young girl, let alone a kid in the targeted age group (6+).

J (almost 4) loves to read and is very excited when it comes to activities that involve science, so though it is geared towards girls (pink, light blue, main character is a girl), I figured J would still enjoy it. He has yet to distinguish between boys' and girls' toys (something I hope lasts as long as possible). I also wanted to show J what an engineer can do, especially since I am one.

I waited with anticipation for the box to arrive (he had no idea that I had purchased this toy). It arrived on our doorstep this Wednesday, the day after they shipped it out (a benefit of being in the same area as the company). It was so quick that I didn't even receive a shipment notice!

Our neighbors joined us for this toy debut in our household. We all had fun. I ended up reading the story aloud and supervising the kids as they followed directions. I noticed the peg board has a star design, so I used that star to assist for the overall 5 point star pattern. It kept their attention for about 45 minutes while we read through the story and tried the star design and two alternate designs (also included in the book). There were lots of "oooh's" and "aaaah's" and giggling coming from our household. It was a hit, for sure!

Minor room for improvements: The story is short, which is probably good for more of a toy than literature. Katinka (the pink dolphin) almost came off as cantankerous. As a mom, my first reaction is, "Who wants to give a grouchy character what they demand?" The crank (well, everything) falls off too easily from the wheels, and the grooves to connect everything should be a little deeper to omit frustration. The pegboard is very soft and already has scratches from the little playing we've done. I liked the star pattern, but I also wish the star pattern was drawn on the instruction pegboard in the book, so J could visualize what it looked like with the star as a reference.

Today, I stayed home with sick J, and he requested to do GoldieBlox. I asked if he wanted to read the book and try the star design again or work on the alternate designs it came with. He chose the alternate designs. He loved playing with the designs and learning how to do it himself while getting a grasp on the terminology. He also learned, "When things are a little bit hard, I can ask for help." This is a great engineering lesson since teamwork is a great engineering skill to have. He also told me, "This is science. It needs to go with the science stuff [and not in his game closet]." Success! Anything that is related to science is considered cool in our house.

J made the GoldieBlox G

Again, he has no idea this is a toy designed for girls, but he does know that it's fun. I know there is a disparity of female engineers (I was one of the two girls in my mechanical engineering graduating class of 20+ in undergrad). I think GoldieBlox should be marketed towards everyone since as a nation, we are falling behind in all areas of science, math, and engineering technology. My boy loved it. I'd hate for someone to tell him that it's just a girl's toy.

All-in-all, I am looking forward to future versions of GoldieBlox and seeing how the company grows and develops.

3/15/13 - Edit: Addition 6:30p - When John got home from work, J requested he played GoldieBlox. J set up his own design and called it a butterfly. He wound up Nacho's wheel and guided the ribbon around Katinka and the posts. He then attached the velcro'ed ribbon end to a wheel with the crank, and then he wound up the next wheel to use. I'm pretty impressed.

Now my husband got all excited that he can create things of his own with the toy too. He basically made a carnival ride:

However, he did note that the holes in the wheels are a different distance than the holes in the pegboard which actually limits some sideways building capabilities. However, I'm now excited to see what else we can come up with using this new family toy.

Disclosure: I purchased this toy with my own personal funds. All opinions are my own.

P.S. J has a sudden new interest in his blocks. I wonder if it's because of GoldieBlox.


  1. What an intriguing toy! I'll add it to my "potential birthday gift" list.

  2. My daughter's just coming up on 3 years old, so she's a bit young for this, but I love the concept. I'd love a more gender neutral version. I love the idea of a story supporting the science. Good for girls AND boys.

    1. I'm all for learning toys, especially fun learning toys! If I remember the back story, the inventor of this toy is the granddaughter of the illustrator of Mr. Magoo. The illustrations are nice. I have an almost 4 yr old who loves stories, especially complex ones, so we were left wanting a little more from the book. My boy doesn't care that the toy is pink or the main character is a girl. I haven't told him that they are marketing girls or that not many girls go into engineering (I did!). All in all, it's a fun toy that can bring the family together for learning.