Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine

GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine

Spring 2013 Toys
Ages: 6 & Up
Manufacturer: GoldieBlox
Price: $29.99

Hurrah for GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine! The GoldieBlox company has successfully created a toy for young elementary girls that encourages engineering design and problem solving, while teaching science in a way that both girls and their parents will find appealing and not pandering. The set introduces Goldie, a girl who likes designing and constructing engineering projects to accomplish fun tasks. In this case, she wants to build something to allow her pets and toys to spin around on wheels, all controlled by a single, long ribbon. The story book is told in slightly tongue-in-cheek rhyme and describes increasingly complex layouts. The set includes wheels, washers, axles, blocks, the very long ribbon, a pegboard, and all five of Goldie's friends. Once the designs of the story are complete, there are pages of other designs, followed by many blank worksheets to encourage the budding engineers to take the designs even further.

My seven-year-old laughed through the story and proudly presented her completed layout, unwinding and rewinding the ribbon to twirl the toys repeatedly. She then enthusiastically dived into her own creations, most impressively generating a functional conveyer belt by mounting the pegboard vertically. I was relieved that a company has finally realized that, while girls appreciate a story to connect them to their toys, the toys do not need to extol glamour and unrealistic body images (Goldie in the story wears overalls and a tool belt!), nor do they need to be heavily doused in shades of pink and purple (the set used a wide range of colors, including a small amount of pink and purple, but primarily featuring blue and gold). We eagerly await more toys featuring GoldieBlox and her friends.

Emily Crawford   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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