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The line includes hot
pink and pastel-colored pieces that can be snapped together to form little
scenes and structures. The thought is that girls who never played with
boy-oriented construction toys before will now be drawn to the idea of building
a luxury mansion, pet shop, fashion boutique and other cool items.
The toy titans behind
Mega Bloks Barbie are banking on very smart parents to push sales to another
level—moms and dads who today have a better
understanding of toys that help little girls (and boys, for that matter) build
Does it matter what the toys look like if they give girls the opportunity to explore something that before now seemed unappealing, uninteresting and unattractive?
In fact, the New York Times reported that experts at the University of Chicago, the National Science
Foundation’s Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center, and other institutions
say that ability to think spatially is an important factor in choosing
fields such as math, engineering, technology and science.
And while many parents
might be tempted to nix these blocks because they can't stand the so-called
"girly-girl" color, I say, give it a chance. After all, does it
matter what the toys look like if they give girls the opportunity to explore
something that before now seemed unappealing,
uninteresting and unattractive?
Awesome toys for boys have been around for decades, however many girls have not found them intriguing. (Think electric
train sets, Transformers and Matchbox cars.) The
new toys, including Mega Bloks Barbie, are engineered
with girls in mind—particularly those who might
only reach for blocks in certain colors.
Personally, I’ve never
been a huge fan of commercial toys or random presents, so
a toy’s color never made a difference around here. My daughters, now
grown, used to amuse themselves by playing with pots and pans, scarves, boxes,
plastic cups and stuffed animals.
For special occasions I
bought LEGOs. I loved to watch my girls dump hundreds of colorful blocks on the
floor and entertain themselves for hours. They created small and large
buildings using pieces that came in black, white, gray, red, blue and yellow.
My daughters didn’t
need pinks and pastels to love building. They were OK with the basics. But many
of their friends wouldn’t even give blocks a second thought if they didn’t come in pretty colors. Meanwhile, my daughters—and even a few of their
friends who just liked building—became confident problem solvers who possess strong spatial skills and a good understanding
of math and science.
So parents, besides the
fact that there's nothing wrong with having a few pastels in the house, if pink
helps your little girl make the most of her own abilities, I say go for it. My older daughter, by the way, became a landscape designer;
the other became an anthropologist/art historian. Both have plenty of color in
their lives today.