Breaking the Pink Aisle for Adventurous Play Sets and Playground Equipment
This revolution made the internet scene and earned the attention of hundreds of parents after Goldieblox released their Princess Machine viral ad. But, maybe the copyright lawsuit the Beastie Boys filed against them added to this publicity.
Pushing that aside, there’s still something troubling. Research shows there is a link to the lack of female engineers and the usual gender play stereotyping.
Females in the Engineering and Tech Field… Or lack of them
It’s a known fact, however annoying it is, that there are not a lot of women in the technology or engineering departments, even though these two are one of the most successful and fastest growing industries in the world.
Science Daily explains that this is because of gender stereotyping during play time-boys should play with the usual “toys for boys” and girls should play with “toys for girls”. They also mentioned a lot of scientific things that are too wordy and heavy for our taste. But they all basically mean that by generalizing children like this, little girls will tend to grow up with a lesser spatial skills than boys.
Science Daily gives further explanations stating that girls playing “boys’ games” can help them do better in Science and Math because those games can increase their spatial abilities. But what exactly are spatial abilities?
Johns Hopkins University defines it as a type of intelligence that deals with “the capacity to understand and remember the spatial relations among objects.” Simply speaking, it’s a skill needed in solving everyday problems like cutting vegetables, reading a map, or fixing a broken lamp. It’s also a skill needed in answering questions that make students quiver during their exams in their Math and Science classes.
Breaking the Pink Aisle and Saying Goodbye to Princesses
In the defense of dolls and anything pink that are given too often to girls, these kinds of toys still help develop verbal and language skills, and perhaps a little creativity. Unfortunately, these skills are already learned in school while spatial ability is something better learned outside of a classroom. The toys designed specifically for girls can also sometimes have negative implications.
So what would be best for little girls? Besides giving them the choice of playing with whatever toy they prefer, it would be best to give them a wide array of options. The worst thing a parent can do is to limit the toys or kinds of play sets for their children as it would also limit their development and creativity. Plus, wouldn’t it be better to have less girls dreaming of being princesses searching for their princes and more girls dreaming of being scientists, engineers, or the female versions of Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates?
Encouraging Children’s Spatial Abilities for a Brighter Futures
Spatial activity can be developed through training and simple play activities. The earliest and most common kind of activity to help foster spatial abilities in kids is through puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles, ball activity panels, and legos can help children be smarter and more creative and at the same time have fun (with their parents also having fun with them). Tic-tac-toe are also good examples of such games and puzzles and, not to mention, it helps develop children’s relationships with other people.
Simple household activities such as asking children which groceries can fit in which bags are simple spatial problems that would aid in their mental development. Everyday opportunities like these should be taken advantage for spatial thinking.
One of the best places, aside from their own home, to foster their spatial intelligence is at the playground, whether it be in a park or just their own residential playgrounds. Themed play sets are a fun choice, especially those that are built like a fossilized dinosaur, climbable boulders, or a firehouse and truck to fuel their imaginations and build their spatial intelligence. They’re also unbelievably more fun than Barbie dolls and kitchen sets.
But of course, the best way of learning this kind of intelligence is when both parents and children are involved in these activities. Encouragement coming from parents is the best support the children can have.
It shouldn’t be about the gender stereotypes and the pink aisle revolution, it should be about the kids themselves and what toys they’d enjoy playing and would help them learn.
For more information on playground equipment that can help both girls and boys with their spatial skills, get in touch with the playground gurus.