After all yesterday’s Lollibop excitement Sunday started somewhat slower. Mr C and I were actually woken by our alarm rather than a screaming child and it was 8.30 before either of them got out of bed. Lollibop really must have exhausted them more than I’d realised.
Our Sunday morning was mainly spent at home with me trying to catch up on the housework whilst Little Miss C caught up with Frozen (again!) and Master C happily played with his toy cars. We then dashed to town quickly to pick up some school trousers that we’d ordered and to shoot into the supermarket to stock up on a couple of things. Then it was back home for a quick lunch before LMC and I headed to London for today’s main event – an opportunity to play with GoldieBlox.
LMC was super excited about the idea of a trip to London. Despite it only being a 20 minute train journey we really don’t go there that often with the kids (something we really ought to change!) and she loves a train journey. The fact that we then took a bus from St Pancras to Oxford Street pretty much blew her mind.
But on to the reason for our trip. Now about a year or so ago this video popped up in my Facebook timeline and as an engineer myself I was hooked.
GoldieBox is designed to inspire the next generation of female engineers and as soon as I saw the range I just knew I wanted to play with it. The range was originally launched in the US by female engineer Debbie Sterling, who saw that someone really needed to change how we encouraged girls to get interested in engineering at a young age. Now they’re coming to the UK, and I was delighted to be invited along to be one of the first people here to get to play with them.
The way GoldieBlox works is that each set contains a book and a construction set. In the book a girl called Goldie sets about to solve a problem by making something, and children are then encouraged to join in and make the same thing using their construction set. With a target age range of 4 – 9 years, LMC is at the lower end, but she soon got stuck in when presented with the GoldieBlox and the spinning machine set.
There are three GoldieBlox sets available (The Spinning Machine, The Parade Float and The Dunk Tank) and each contains different elements to make the specific thing in the included story. The book also contains suggestions of other things that the children can make, and of course they can also use their imaginations to invest anything else they fancy.
At today’s event there was a wide spread of children’s ages and it was fantastic to see them all getting stuck in – first making what was set out in the stories, and then coming up with their own wild and wacky creations. LMC struggled sometimes pushing together some of the components, but the older children seemed to get on without any problems. On some of the constructions it seemed tricky to get things square, but I’m not sure if that was just children not pushing things in far enough with the corner connectors, or if it’s because they don’t have a limit to haw far you can push the bars through them. It was also interesting to see one of the boys there raiding everyone else’s kits to come up with a huge creation of his own. In terms of getting children hands on with engineering GoldieBlox was certainly hitting the spot.
LMC seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself and as soon as we got in the car when Mr C picked us up at St Albans station she was excitedly telling him about GoldieBlox and what she’s built with it. Back at home she sat down with her Dad after tea and built the Dunk Tank and thought that it was simply brilliant. It was hard to drag her away at bed time and even then I had to promise to leave it set up on the kitchen table so she can play with it again in the morning.
I love what GoldieBlox stands for and completely love the fact that it has my daughter at just four years old talking enthusiastically about wanting to be an engineer. All the sets so far are very mechanical engineering focussed, so, as an electronics engineer, I’d personally love to see them do something electronics based next and make that fit in with the existing sets too. It’s also the case that some of the stories are a little American (as you’d expect it being an American product), meaning that LMC simply didn’t understand some of what they were talking about. Maybe this is simply because we tend to always watch CBeebies rather then some of the US children’s channels.
I’ve only had an afternoon so far to play with GoldieBlox, but I’m excited to think about what else you could do with it and I’m keen to try and come up with my own designs for things that you can build. That’s if I can ever steal it from LMC for long enough!
Disclaimer: We were invited along to the GoldieBox event and took home a lovely goodie bag filled with GoldieBlox sets and other toys from Interplay. This post contains affiliate links.