A couple of years ago I handed Big Sis a pile of Lego miniatures; when I turned back a few minutes later she’d put them all together, completely on her own. That was the moment I knew she was destined to be a world-class architect and engineer, earning enough money to keep her parents in obscene luxury for the rest of their lives. Yay.
Big Sis has always loved putting things together – from jigsaw puzzles, to building blocks – so it was a given that she’d love the K’NEX sets we were recently sent (thanks Holly!). But these weren’t just any bog-standard construction kits, these were Mighty Makers.
For decades now our girls and young women have been told in subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways that there are jobs they can’t do simply because they’re female. Despite being absolute poppycock, this everyday sexism has resulted in a massive gender disparity in the STEM fields, which you’ll already know stands for science, technology, engineering and maths (no, I didn’t know that either…).
Mighty Makers inspire and empower girls to use those STEM principals to make their own fabulous creations from houses and planes, to ferris wheels with moving parts. The new sets contain all the same components as the original versions, but come in colours and models specially designed to straddle that gender gap in a way that will appeal to girls, but not pigeon hole them. Yes, there’s pink in there but there’s also grey, blue, yellow and red.
Each set has a theme – Big Sis tried the Home Designer and the Going Green sets – and includes instructions for three completely different builds. Or kids can go ‘off plan’ and create their own invention; the only limit is their imagination. It’s a big step up from the building blocks she’s used before (the recommended age is 7+) but I loved seeing her stretch her abilities with a harder challenge, and the sense of achievement she got as she figured out each element of the build.
Not only is she learning about geometry, and physics and kinetic energy (see I did pay attention in science class) but she’s having fun too. And – perhaps most importantly – she’s gaining confidence in her own abilities, confidence that will open wider doors for her when she does eventually decide her career path.
Because, whether that be full-time mother or statistical mathematician, it should always be a choice she’s made, not one that’s been made for her.
• we were sent our Mighty Makers sets for the purpose of review
• I’ve linked up to Brilliant Blog Posts