Hello all! I was really excited when Nicole asked me to join her blog. My first post topic came to me immediately: Legos. Due to my bachelors degree in Family and Child Studies, my 4 year old daughter, and being an awesome kid myself, I have spent a great deal of my time creating worlds out of those tiny colourful blocks. My dad and I would pull out boxes of them and build castles, towers, and any other creations we could imagine. I bought my daughter blocks before she could do anything but hold them, and had Legos in our house as soon as I knew she wouldn’t eat them (one lick told her that plastic is not delicious). Anyone in my previous field of preschool teaching would tell you that blocks teach kids a myriad of concepts: math, science, and language skills to start.
My parents spent a great deal of energy teaching me that girls can like math and science; took me to museums, bought me books, and sent me to special math and science seminars just for girls. Their efforts made me just as passionate about teaching this to kids in my class and, ultimately, my own daughter, who happens to love Legos. She will spend an afternoon building a house and creating stories out of the tiny blocks, uninhibited by what she “should” be doing. Occasionally I will help her build from a kit (most recently she added a Lego Green Lantern to her collection), but usually she builds from whatever she sees in her head.
This is where my rant begins. Over the last year or two, I have seen more and more Lego sets directed at “girls”. Bakeries, stores, tree houses, etc. I’m not against pink Legos, I had some myself, but I am against the message these sets are sending: “These are for you, leave the castle building to the boys.” The message these sets are sending completely counteract the effort to tell girls that they can be whatever they want. I’m not saying there aren’t differences between boys and girls, but we as a society need to be cognizant of the messages we are sending to children about their roles in society! Go ahead and release purple Lego sets (the inventor one is actually pretty cool), but why do it under a “special brand” for girls? Why not just market them like all of the other sets and let kids be the ones who decide what they want to build. Or, sell more boxes of loose blocks- kids come up with some pretty amazing designs if given the chance. My point is, give the kids some credit and the chance to something awesome in the world.