I’m so glad that GoldieBlox was invented. A couple of years ago I attended my niece’s graduation ceremony. She had just completed an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. I sat in the balcony and looked down at the hundreds of students waiting to get their diplomas. My niece was one of a handful of women in the line up. Where were the rest? It appears that mechanics is still the realm of men, as was evident during my niece’s graduation ceremony, and at the places she later found work.

GoldieBlox Chapters Indigo building games aims to change that perception by introducing the world of mechanics to young girls, and inviting them to build.

Debbie Sterling is the inventor of GoldieBlox. She is also a mechanical engineer and a product developer. Like my niece, she also graduated from an engineering program where women were conspicuously absent. This bothered her and sparked the idea for GoldieBlox. She says she wanted to “disrupt the pink aisle” in toy stores.

The GoldieBlox building toys are for girls between five and nine years of age. Each toy includes a storybook that tells the engineering adventures of Goldie Blox and her animal friends, and construction materials. Sterling says, “It all came down to one simple thing: boys like building and girls like reading. So I thought, what if I put those two things together, spatial plus verbal, book series plus building set.”

In developing the prototype she was given advice from the founders of the games Pictionary and Cranium, as well as the head of toy design at Ideo. Sterling has incorporated soft textures, curved edges and a colour palette of pink, yellow and blue, all qualities Sterling says are “innately appealing to girls”.

In GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, Goldie is faced with the challenge of building a spinning wheel. The construction set has a pegboard, wheels, axles, blocks, a ribbon, a crank, and washers. This is a basic engineering principle of a wheel spinning on an axle. Sterling’s product line has expanded to include GoldiBlox and the Parade Float, as well as Blox + Bits Expansion Pack, and some fun clothing.

Not every little girl is going to become an engineer after playing GoldieBlox games, but they will have fun and definitely gain confidence in their building abilities.