Breaking the gender bias – why girls should play with LEGO and other construction toys, as much as boys do
At The Curiosity Club we teach science concepts to children using LEGO and other construction toys. From building with Duplo, children move on to LEGO, and then on to robotics, enhancing their building skills with programming. After describing this to parents, I have often heard responses such as “So it’s for boys! Do you have anything for girls?” It upset me, but it also got me thinking about how LEGO and other building blocks are perceived, and the need to break this stereotype. The Curiosity Club believes that we should not differentiate between games for boys and those for girls. In today’s world, both in school and in the workplace, girls and boys both compete at the same level and we need to treat and prepare both equally.
In a previous blog we talked about how children learn can learn science concepts through LEGO-play. The most important skill that STEM helps develop is problem-solving. It is designed to develop lateral thinking abilities and help understand how to approach a problem, rather than just measure memory power. Developing these skills at a young age creates a strong foundation for the way children will learn in the future, when the stakes are higher. That’s one of the things that makes STEM so unique and wonderful. These basic concepts and skills are universal and gender-neutral. They are relevant for everyone – children and adults, girls and boys.
Why should we deprive girls from such an important life skill? A kindergarten teacher in Washington state, USA refuses to let the boys play with LEGO in the classroom, but encourages the girls to, worried that girls will be left behind in the long term. Playing with LEGO doesn’t imply that we want them to become engineers; we are only giving them the platform to become well rounded critical thinkers. Don’t stop giving the girls dolls and kitchen sets, but also encourage them to play with construction toys. All activities involve development of different skills, each of which is important for the overall development of the child.
Do share your thoughts here on how the gender bias in children’s toys is harming childhood development.
During my research for this blog, I came across a few articles …
Are Gendered toys harming childhood development
UK campaign against gender stereotypes in toys