Crowdfunding Pick of the Week: Getting Girls Interested in Building Our Future with New Engineering Toy

by Linzy Novotny

Looking for a girl’s toy beyond the endless shelves of dolls that also doubles as an educational tool? Debbie Sterling of San Francisco, Cali., has taken the initiative to design a toy to fit this purpose and is asking for funding through a Kickstarter campaign.

Nvate Crowdfunding Kickstarter Project GoldieBlox by Debbie Sterling

The toy, GoldieBlox, is a construction toy that caters to girls between the ages of five and nine, according to Kickstarter. The set comes with a storybook, “GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine,” character figurines and a construction set. The storybook tells the tale of Goldie and how she “builds a belt drive to spin all of her friends.”

The construction set comes complete with one pegboard, five wheels, 10 axles, five blocks, one crank, one ribbon and five washers, according to Kickstarter. Girls build the belt drive as they follow along with Goldie in the storybook.

Having earned an engineering degree from Stanford, Sterling didn’t know about engineering as a profession until her senior year in high school, according to the project’s Kickstarter video.

“When I was a little girl, I thought the word ‘engineering’ was nerdy, intimidating and just for boys,” Sterling said via Kickstarter. “I’ve since learned I was so wrong. Engineers build all the important things we use every day. Things that make our lives better.”

“The scary truth is that only 11 percent of engineers are women and girls start losing interest in science as young as age eight,” Sterling said in the video. “This is our chance to change that statistic.”

To help change this statistic, GoldieBlox helps girls solve problems by “building simple machines and to help develop spatial skills.” Through researching how to develop a construction toy that caters to girls, Sterling found that “boys like building and girls like reading.” This is why the construction set is accompanied with a storybook.

In less than five days, the GoldieBlox project was fully funded, raising $150,000, according to the video. Because the toy is now in production, Sterling developed two more versions of the toy. One storybook and construction set helps girls to build a parade float and the other, to build an elevator.

Nvate Crowdfunding Kickstarter Project GoldieBlox by Debbie Sterling

GoldieBlox creator Debbie Sterling with two new verisons of the toy. The toy on the left helps girls build a parade float and the toy to the right is an elevator.

For pledging at least $30, contributors will get GoldieBlox, with an estimated delivery of February 2013. Other backer gifts include star-shaped sunglasses, stickers, T-shirts and hoodies.

With 23 days left in the campaign, as of Sept. 24, and $167,862 raised, the campaign is already a success. “Every girl you know is so much more than a princess,” Sterling said in the video. “It’s time to motivate our girls to help build our future.”

To contribute and get a GoldieBlox of your own visit the project’s Kickstarter page.

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