My 2-almost-3-year-old daughter is really into growing up lately.
“When I get older, I will turn the light off.”
“When I get older, I will be SEVEN*.”
“When I get older, my arm will be big.”
*on her next birthday, she’ll be three
And I’ve been thinking about her growing up, too, since it’s not something I can stop. She’s brilliant, adorable, and articulates her opinion like a CEO. She can do and be anything she wants to be. I had a mom that ingrained that in me, and I will ingrain it in her.
And while we watch Sesame Street and learn soooooo many awesome things about diversity and inclusion, I wonder: what can I do to encourage her in ways I’m not familiar with? Like STEM subjects?
There is a huge fault line between boys and girls in STEM subjects – and as both pursue their education, girls drop out of STEM fields.
I’m not qualified to answer that question but I know one thing for certain: it’s cultural, not genetic. Boys don’t have a predisposition to science, technology, engineering and math – they are encouraged more, there are less barriers, and they have more role models that look like them.
That’s why I LOVE what these companies are doing to introduce and encourage young girls to STEM at an early age with toys and books that star girls.
And these toys and books are not just for little girls: little boys need the same message that girls can do everything that they can do.
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Play pretend with an astronaut
Way to go, American Girl Doll, for making Luciana the Girl of the Year for 2018. All of the accessories and toys emphasize Luciana’s work – and while expensive – at least little girls will be asking for a maker station to pretend to invent things, rather than a vanity to pretend to put on makeup.
Curious scientist: Can you figure out the mysterious smell?
My son loves this quirky story, which follows curious Ada as she tries to uncover an unpleasant smell’s source. My son figured it out… I totally missed it!
My son asked, “are these stories all about women?” And I said, “yes, but they are still inspiring to you because they all did cool things.” And his reply – and I am not making this up nor did I provide him a script, “That’s ok. I like women, because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t like you. And mommies are women. And girls are just young women.” This book features 100 women who broke the norms to pursue their dreams – from historical figures like Amelia Earhart to more current rebel girls like motocross racer Asley Fiolek.
Women in the Stars
Of course, there are plenty of STEM related toys to encourage kids, too. What are your favorites?