When I was a little girl, playing LEGOs with my little brother was far from appealing. Not only did I have no interest in hanging out with him anyway, but I much preferred settling myself in my bedroom loft, cutting my Barbie’s hair off and allowing her to scandalously peck my Swan Princess Prince Derek Barbie doll on the cheek. Barbie got lucky with him. He was a hunk.
Next week, though, Mattel will be combining a LEGO-like atmosphere with Barbie in their new construction set, Mega Bloks Barbie Build ‘n Style. This new toy, featuring a mini-Barbie that can attach to each construction site, comes in various scenes like “a fashion boutique, a mansion and an ice cream cart,” where the children can rearrange and build the play set themselves.
It’s not just cool that more little girls may be exposed to a traditionally boys-only type of play; we all know the way that toy companies and toy catalogs divide up toys into “this is for boys” and “this is for girls” is horrible. There could be neurological benefits to Barbie’s building blocks, as well. The New York Times noted that research has shown that “playing with blocks, puzzles and construction toys helps children with spatial development … [along with] other skills such as verbal and numerical.” With more girls being exposed to play things that advance their spatial development, they are more likely to eventually go into fields such as mathematics, engineering, science and technology. Women hold less than 25 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs in the United States. Could the lack of toys like Mattel’s new construction play set for girls be eventually holding women back from pursuing these types of careers?
Mattel’s Mega Bloks Barbie Build n’ Style is the most recent of the construction play sets for girls, but LEGO’s Friends line was introduced back in January. It has had some criticism for being sexist, like the Beauty Shop in LEGO Friends line. I’m heartened that the new construction sets emerging for girls are small but influential seeds that will eventually help little girls blossom within the STEM world, while allowing them to cut their dolls’ hair off, too.
Contact the author of this post at Daley@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.