With the holiday season swiftly approaching, it is now that time of year to scour stores and websites for the perfect gifts for the special people in your life. When I was a little girl, the toys marketed to girls like myself were very limited. In many ways, they still are.
Pink everything. Baby dolls. Toy kitchens. Toy vanities.
My sister (now in her early 30’s) recalls getting a toy vacuum as a gift one year. I remember playing with a toy broom. The societal expectations to conform to gender roles begin to influence our girls at a very young age. Even though we have quite a way to go for true equity between the sexes, toy manufacturers are evolving to inspire girls to pursue other interests and hobbies, besides the usual Barbie styling head or Princess themed vanity desk. Of course, there is nothing wrong with enjoying these things. After all, feminism is about choice—above all else.
Top Gift Picks for Budding Feminists
All of these gifts ideas for girls have been handpicked for the budding young feminists in your life. The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and the future is female. If we aim to inspire and encourage young girls to reach for the stars and chase their dreams, we will help them create a better future for the world and all of its inhabitants.
1. LEGO Women of NASA Building Kit
$24.99 | Buy It Here
When the first man set foot on the moon, he was quoted as saying “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.” How about womankind? This set features mini figurines of Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, four brave women who defied the societal norms of being a woman in space. I think it’s cool that this set involves educational materials as well, such as a stack of book elements, representing the books of listings of Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) onboard flight software source code. I also like the fact that the rocket included has three removable rocket stages and a launchpad!
2. Goldieblox Craft-Struction Box
$39.99 | Buy It Here
I love the concept of Goldieblox toys. It’s great to see how little girls are being encouraged to get involved in STEM earlier than ever before, and how toys like this can inspire a little girl to continue an interest in STEM from adolescence to adulthood, and to lead them to change the world someday. This set has 275 pieces, all compatible with other Goldieblox sets. I think it’s so cool how Goldieblox toys teach girls how to build spatial skills, as well as learning prototyping/engineering principles.
3. Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science Club Hydroponics Kit + Gardening Diary
$21.99 | Buy It Here
When I was 12 years old, my science teacher gave everybody in our class a Dixie cup of soil and seeds that we all planted together. We watched our plant grow everyday, dutifully watered it, and recorded the changes in our journal. I remember really enjoying that time during our gardening unit, and getting to observe all of the changes of the plant that was growing before my eyes. I still love flowers and plants to this day, and often take pictures of interesting flowers and plants that I observe in nature. My cell camera roll is full of flower photos!
4. Educational Insights Nancy B’s Stir-It-Up Chemistry Lab & Journal
$24.99 | Buy It Here
This set inspires girls to learn basic science and chemistry principles. It also comes with a journal for budding scientists to record their experiments and observations. Some of the experiments you can do with this kit include making your own “lava”, creating a chemical change that alters color, and extinguishing a flame by pouring an invisible gas. The kit also includes crucial tools such as beakers, test tubes, and goggles. I would have loved this kit as a kid! I would have taken it so seriously with my goggles and my journal, feeling like a real scientist with so many discoveries to make.
5. Thames & Kosmos Perfume Science Kit
$64.99 | Buy It Here
Of course I planned to include some ideas for girls who are interested in both perfume/makeup and STEM. Who says you can’t do both anyway? We certainly don’t! I really like how this kit teaches about the chemistry of scents, the biology of smell, a peek into the history of perfuming, and fun little games to “train” your nose to detect various notes in finished scents. Plus you can create your very own perfume to wear!
6. Thames & Kosmos Creative Cosmetics Lab Experiment Kit
$64.99 | Buy It Here
Another option for girls with a shared interest in cosmetics and STEM! This kit features tons of fun experiments like creating glycerin soaps, fizzing bath bombs (complete with cute shape molds!), a sea salt body scrub, bath jellies and you can package them all into jars with labels to use or gift to friends and family! I think it’s so cool how this kit also has an educational facet of teaching girls about the chemical properties of grooming items like soaps, gels, lotions and oils. It also teaches girls about acids, bases, PH levels, and chemical reactions.
7. Thames & Kosmos Scope Constructor
$59.97 | Buy It Here
This kit leaves the choice up to your girl whether she wants to build a microscope, a telescope, or a pair of binoculars. The parts are simple and reconfigurable so she can make all three! Like many other of my gift picks, there is an educational facet to this gift that also teaches how lenses bend light, and how the components of each scope function to allow for viewing. The Scope Constructor includes three prepared slides to view under the microscope, and you can prepare your own custom slides as well! The options are unlimited for close viewing, and viewing far beyond.
8. Roominate® Alice’s Mansion
$57.99 | Buy It Here
Noticing a lack of building toys for girls, creator/engineer Alice Brooks and her co-founder decided to fill the gap. Roominate toys allow girls to design and create their dream project. With the use of circuits and motors, her creation will come to life with interactive features such as a working garage door, elevator, and a rotating pool. The fun doesn’t stop there, though! Roominate has many options of different building projects such as a cafe, a townhouse, a carnival, a school bus and an ice cream cart. This is anything but your typical playhouse.
9. She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed The World by Chelsea Clinton
$14.67 | Buy It Here
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed The World is a book about the stories of 13 influential women throughout American history. Women who were the first of their kind, women who dared to pursue treacherous but ultimately righteous endeavors, women who left their mark, women will forever be remembered and revered for their effort and their grand contribution to the history of America. Great for the little reader on your gift list!
Ashley Hesse is a 20-something writer/musician and women’s rights activist. She is a former beauty/special FX makeup artist who put down the makeup brushes and raised her fist in solidarity to help fight the social injustices against women all over the world. When she’s not crusading for social justice and defeating bigotry in all its forms, she also enjoys feeding her soul with musical theatre, red lipstick and Ghirardelli brownies.