Choosing Toys to Inspire Young Girls in STEM

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Science and engineering toys have a long history of being marketed to boys. Now, toy designers – and the parents and caregivers purchasing toys – are moving for more equitable options when it comes to STEM toy offerings and the type of play that young children are encouraged to engage in.

In this webinar recording, learn about research, resources, and innovative new toys that can be used for supporting STEM play with young girls (and all young children).

The Choosing Toys to Inspire Young Girls in STEM webinar was hosted by NGCP on November 14, 2023.

Emily Coyle - Woman with short brown hair wearing glasses and green shirt with tan sweater

Dr. Emily Coyle

Associate Professor at Saint Martin’s University

Emily F. Coyle is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, WA, with affiliations in Women's, Gender, and Ethnic Studies and in Leadership Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from The Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests are in social cognitive development and its impact on aspiration and achievement, particularly in the context of informal settings (e.g., play) and for women and girls in traditionally masculine domains (e.g., STEM). Some of her current research focuses on children’s learning in community science settings and the impact of such interactions on science interest and occupational interests. 

Kristel Bell - Woman with short black hair wearing pink top

Kristel Bell

Founder and CEO of Surprise Powerz

Kristel Bell created Surprise Powerz because she believes in the power of girls. She understood that to instill confidence and encourage STEM learning from an early age, girls need dolls that look and sound like them. Like most women of today, the “girl” toys available to Kristel as a kid were for playing princess or mommy. As an adult, she was surprised to see that girls’ toys hadn’t changed much at all. Boys’ toys, in contrast, were already teaching critical skills in serious subjects: science, technology, engineering and math. It was no surprise that so many girls were losing confidence in those subjects as early as the age of nine.  

She knew she wasn’t the only one to see this imbalance, and this fueled her to create her own line of dolls to equip girls with critical skills like curiosity, creativity and problem solving. Her first products are Astro, Codie, Vera and Maria — science, tech, engineering and math-centric dolls made to break barriers, solve problems, and reflect the diversity of girls today.  

It’s her hope these toys make each girl’s world bigger, and the understanding of her own potential grows. Surprise Powerz is here to inspire girls from a young age to take on the world with confidence and give them the STEM skills they need to reach their full potential. Learn more:  

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