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Toys & Tips To Feed A Girl's Love Of Building, Math & Science by Eden Godsoe

by Eden Godsoe, posted to Gifts

As a girl I was very into math, science and building. I played with my brother's LEGO way more than he did. I didn't really care for playing with dolls except if we were going to line them up by height or organize them in some other way. I loved puzzles and problem solving and constructing forts.... More »

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Tip: Talk Frequently with Girls about Math | Jezebel

It turns out there's a perfectly reasonable explanation behind the...more

This is an interesting read including a study that showed parents talk with their sons more than their daughters about math-related concepts. Remember to include math (even things like "here are 5 raisins" when feeding your toddler) in your interactions with your daughters.

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Tip: Share your Interests and Strengths

If you were a girl who excelled at math or loved to build, make sure your daughter knows this and share your interests with her. If you weren't great at maths and sciences, try not to focus on what you couldn't do ("I was never a math person...") and find something you can share with her (e.g. cooking, puzzles, games) that has a math component.

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Tip: Provide Exposure to Role Models

Kim K and Lindsay Lohan are in the news all the time but are definitely not the kind of role models I want for my daughter. Instead share with her female leaders in maths and sciences. I plan to make a list of these soon but in the meantime here is a link to the "Top 10 Greatest Female Scientists."

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Tip: Count it at the Counter

Suggested by oneword

Turn everyday activities into a learning opportunity. A good math tip is to let your daughter buy something with her own money and don't let them leave the counter until they can count their change correctly.

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This special set contains 650 colorful LEGO bricks you can use to...more

No need to buy LEGO Friends, the new pink & purple & girly line designed especially for girls. Buy regular LEGO sets & get down on the floor building with your daughter.

Scarlet: Have you tried the new "Legos for Girls?

Eden Godsoe: I go back & forth on LEGO for girls. I'm thinking regular LEGO will do just fine. In fact I have a LEGO playdate with my daughter tonight - no pink & purple LEGO...just her older brother's stuff. That being said, if the LEGO Friends line gets a girl interested who otherwise wasn't, I think that is a good thing.

rkfellows: All LEGOs are wonderful, including Friends.

Becky Margetts: I don't think it's constructive to have a separate lego product for girls - surely that's conditioning them that they need a different, prettier, safer product? My father made a point of buying me boys toys, clothes, books and sweets as a child so that I didn't hold myself back or feel less able. I desperately wanted lego technic... Why has the world gone pink-crazy over the last few years anyway? I'm sure girls used to only have pink in moderation!

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Toy: Train Sets

This expansion track throws some additional curves into the train...more

We bought my son crazy amounts of Thomas the Train railway sets. He has since outgrown them but I am excited to introduce train sets to my daughter.

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Toy: Marble Run

A marble run delights young and old, an ever popular toy. Youngsters...more

We don't yet own any Marble Runs but this toy comes highly recommended from fellow moms of girls including Tracy W.

natasha: My daughter is 8 and she LOVES marble runs. We have the Quadrilla sets which I purchased from Fat Brain Toys. I love constructing runs with her. It's all physics and engineering.

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Toy: Jigsaw Puzzles

Enjoy passing the time as you piece together this 14" x 19" colorful,...more

I was surprised when my daughter wanted to help me with my jigsaw puzzles (yes...I'm a nerd.) She was really good even with my 1000+ piece puzzles so I have since bought her some 100+ piece puzzles to do on her own.

Marinka: my daughter loved puzzles!

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Toy: Citiblocs

These blocks are amazing - as a next step from little kids blocks. These have been fantastic for ages 7, 8 and even 9. They are all the same exact size and they can build the coolest stuff with them. You can build cantilevered structures, domes, etc. They never get tiring. Even I like to build with them. We started with 200 but ended up getting another set of 200 because they were so great.

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Toy: Magformers

Explore and experiment with these two geometric shapes, the square and...more

Thank you to my cousin Stacey for this suggestion. I hadn't heard of Magformers but love the idea of combining building and magnets into one learning toy for girls.

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Toy: Snap Circuits

Curious young minds can learn the basics of electronics as they build...more

This sounds amazing and came highly recommended from a mother of 3. A fun way to teach your daughter about electronics.

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Toy: The Young Scientists Club

For children between the ages of 5 and 12 to develop a love for...more

Suggested by FavePages Team

How fun for your daughter to receive a monthly kit that focuses on different science topics such as recycling, magnets, electricity or water. Kits are less than $20 (including shipping.)

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Toy: Magna-Tiles

Magnatiles Clear 100 pieces. Free Shipping and Free Gift Wrap. Save at...more

These are a hit with boys and girls from 3 on up. They never tire of seeing what amazing new things they can can construct.

rkfellows: I LOVE these. My local Children's Museum has some and I always have to spend some time playing with them.

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Toy: Ello Building Kits

Combines craft, construction and design activities in one box,...more

Suggested by jacquiewhitt

My daughter was indifferent to the snap-together building toys that many children play with. She was drawn to the pastel blue color of the Ello pieces as well as the curves. Here is a photo of a shadow box where she used the Ello pieces to create space creatures.

Eden Godsoe: I hadn't heard of these building kits so thank you for suggesting. Good news is that I did a search on Amazon and found they sold a number of Ello kits including this one called "Ello Aquaria People Places & Things Set" for under $60 -

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Toy: Meccano

Let your imagination run wild. This set includes 260+ parts, tools and...more

Suggested by Becky Margetts

I loved my meccano set - it teaches vital engineering design concepts and basic practical skills. When I started work with an aerospace company I was amazed to see a consultant trying out designs on a 50's meccano set in his office!

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Toy: Gears! Gears! Gears!

Gear up for hours of colorful action with this 150-piece set that...more

Suggested by Michelle Hutchison

My daughter loved playing with these and they can be made is so many different combinations.

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Activity: Cooking

If cooking is something you enjoy doing, you can weave math and science into that activity. Something as simple as baking chocolate chip cookies can teach a girl about measurement, ratios, time, etc.

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Activity: Chess

Suggested by Jackie

I used to play chess a lot with my dad when I was younger. I really enjoyed it! It's a great game for logical thinking, problem solving, and strategizing. Not to mention, I loved science and was good at math in school. I still enjoy both :)

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Activity: Fort Building

This is a great way to engage your children in imaginative play,...more

I consider myself a master fort builder. It is so fun getting really into building a fort with your kids and also gets them thinking about how to construct and balance things.

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Activity: Girl Scouts

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who...more

When I was little, I was a Brownie (what we call young Girl Scouts in Canada) and loved it. Such a great way for girls to feel empowered and explore their interests including science, math and the outdoors.

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Project Lead The Way provides world-class curriculum to middle &...more

Suggested by jcahill

PLTW is America's premier provider of Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) curriculum. PLTW programs can be found in 4,200 schools in all 50 states and D.C. Students who take PLTW courses receive a strong foundation in the STEM areas and a proven path to college and career success. Visit to find/start a program in your district.

Eden Godsoe: I had not heard of PLTW so thank you for sharing!

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Activity: Zoo Programs

Suggested by Ellen Vossekuil

Zoo education departments offer a host of programs relating to animals, habitats, and the environment. They talk about animal adaptions, biomes, climate change; the list is extensive. These classes are more interactive than simply watching nature shows on TV, since kids often get to see the animals in person at the zoo.

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Activity: Board & Card Games

I love playing board and card games with my family but it can be tough...more

Most board games and all card games have elements of pre-math or real math in them. They are fun to play as a family and your daughter will be learning along the way. Not to mention that my 4 YO daughter already beats me at many of these games (for real!)

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Activity: STEM Workshops & Expos

Jr.Tech’s mission is to engage 5–12 grade students in Science,...more

Suggested by brm90

The Junior Tech Organization hosts a great expo for girls as well as various workshops that foster an interest in STEM. This particular group is East Coast (Upper Cape Code area) but there are similar organizations across the country.

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GWIZ - The Gulf Coast Wonder & Imagination Zone in Sarasota,...more

Suggested by GWIZ - Sarasota

Interactive, hands-on learning is a key differentiator in the ability to grasp a math or science concept better and in motivating taking learning to the next level. Give a child a paper to work on and they watch the clock, resulting in lackluster performance. Instead, give them something to interact with, like a math game or science experiment.

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Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC just got a grant to put on girls'...more

Suggested by Logan Stewart

Discovery Place is a science museum for children and families located in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, and is one of the largest attractions in the state. If you aren't in NC, you can probably find similar places and camps near you.

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Activity: Computer Camps

Suggested by GamingAngel has launched a scholarship giveaway for one girl to attend National Computer Camp. I volunteer at Digigirlz, a program from Microsoft (click on this image to learn more.) At we encourage kids to make games with Kodu (more here - ).

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Suggested by jlavina

Brainetics teaches children both mental and real-world organizational skills; how to identify complex patterns in numbers; improves memory, concentration, and math skills; and add, subtract, multiply and divide complex problems in your head. Most of all, it increases children's confidence through the new skills they've learned.

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Resource: A Mighty Girl

A Mighty Girl is the world's largest collection of books and movies...more

This site just launched and is definitely worth checking out to find book and movie recommendations to empower girls. Love the name too!

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Resource: BrainCake

The Girls, Math & Science Partnership's mission is to engage, educate,...more

BrainCake is a website for girls, parents and teachers sponsored by the Carnegie Science Center. It has games, activities and biographies of women in maths & sciences.

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Resource: Fat Brain Toys

Fat Brain Toys - the top online destination for safe, educational toys...more

Fat Brain's online store is stock full of great learning toys. You can plug in your daughter's interest (building, science, math, etc) and age to see recommendations.

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Resource: Math Doesn't Suck

From a well-known actress and math genius—a groundbreaking guide to...more

Suggested by Larissa

A must-read for parents, this Amazon reviewer says: What will this book teach your daughter? That she can work out math problems by herself. That she can learn to love math, and even excel at it. And that she can do these things while still being every bit as girlie as she wants to be. Makeup and math? Yes, this book says, you can love them both.

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Books: Usborne Activity Books

See Inside Math (An Usborne Flap Book)

I love all of Usborne's books. They make learning fun and interactive. We have this particular book that helps children understand math, science and their origins. My son loves it and it will soon go to my daughter.

Scarlet: Agreed.

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Books: List of Books with Strong Female Leads

Although my mother is a librarian, I was never a big reader growing...more

This is a related list of books with female protagonists or strong female leads. It included books for girls from toddlers through teenagers.

Scarlet: Another great author like Judy Blume, Aesop's Fables, Eric Carle and Shel Silverstein's (poetry/books)!

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Books & Magazines: ZooBooks

Suggested by Ellen Vossekuil

Science doesn't have to just be about experiments and microscopes. WIth more kids living in urban settings, exposure to nature and the animal kingdom is a must! ZooBooks is a wealth of animal information in age-appropriate formats. I am a (female) zoo keeper and I ate up ZooBooks as a kid!

Eden Godsoe: Thank you for sharing. I added to my "official" list. So cool that you are a female zoo keeper!

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Related Article: Why Getting Women Into STEM Matters

There’s ample data to show women are just as good — if not better...more

Really good article on the importance of having more women involved in STEM. It is thoughtful and well written.

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Science and Space Poems

Suggested by Tammy Gordin

I have a blog where I have posted a lot of science & space poetry. Many comments state this is a great way to get kids interested in space & science. I am a woman with degrees in English & Aerospace engineering. I have been interested in science since I was a girl and got my friends interested in science, space & math.

Eden Godsoe: Very cool - I am going to check out your blog today. Thanks for sharing.

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