In the wake of the European Commission’s fail-tastic attempt to inspire girls to be interested in science comes a new toy with a similar goal in mind—minus the whole glorifying gender stereotypes in an obnoxiously superficial and degrading way kind of thing. Far outnumbered by men in their pursuit of engineering, math, and science degrees, the toy’s developers, Alice, Bettina, and Jennifer decided something’s gotta give. Thus, Roominate was born.
An innovative switch-up on the classic dollhouse, Roominate is a kit of simple wooden building pieces and circuit components designed to be intuitive for young girls to be creative with. Targeted towards girls ages 6 to 10, the interactive dollhouse kit allows the next potential great artists, engineers, architects and visionaries to build, decorate, and wire color-coded circuits to make fans, lights, and more—no previous exposure necessary!
According to the toy’s Kickstarter campaign page, while we already know that girls are great at solving, deducing, and experimenting, only 15 percent of female first-year college students intend to major within science, technology, engineering, and math (referred to as STEM) and less than 11 percent of engineers are women. The masterminds behind the new innovative toy drew a connection between these sad statistics and the fact that toys for young girls are, lets face it, predominantly dolls and princesses. They hope to inspire change in the way girls look at STEM, not by showing a bunch of skinny-minnies prancing around in pink while arbitrarily wearing lab goggles, but by making it fun and relatable.
The three developers weren’t exactly strangers to STEM when they were young: Alice grew up playing in a robotics lab and remembers being given a saw when she asked for a Barbie, Bettina spent hours building hundreds of Lego creations with her older brother, and Jennifer says one of her earliest childhood memories is of her grandfather teaching her how to do long division in her head. They believe these experiences facilitated excitement, familiarity, and confidence for them at a young age when it came to STEM, and aim to bring out potential in the next generation of young girls in a similar way.
After much success from working with 200 girls within the targeted age range testing out just rudimentary prototypes, Roominate’s Kickstarter campaign has officially ended and the finalized toy is now available for purchase through Roominate’s website. Watch out, Barbie!
Images courtesy of Roominate’s Kickstarter Campaign and RoominateToy.com