The winter holidays are right around the corner, so that means we'll be doing a lot of STEM toy and product reviews here at STEM Spark. And a lot of giveaways! So make sure you are following STEM Spark closely for the next month.
First review and giveaway for the holidays is Builder Barbie! Here's a reminder of the questions I use for my reviews (although I may be doing shorter answers to these questions so I can do more reviews for the month, so that I can do more giveaways for the holidays):
Will your kid(s) like it, or will you (the adult) hate it (that it don't matter if they like it)?
How long will it keep them entertained?
Was it a good value?
And (since this is a STEM blog) what are the ninja-secret STEM skills added through play?
Will your kids like it and/or will you hate it?
Jack liked the "construction worker" as he called Builder Barbie, but he really liked the brick blocks that come with the Barbie. He enjoyed following the build instructions (easy enough for a 4 year old to do) and then re-building both configurations (both tree house and beach house) multiple times. I also really liked this Barbie because building things with brick blocks (I'm being so careful not to use the trademark name here, haha) is so fun! Plus, a female construction worker as STEM role model for kids? I'm sold!
How long will it keep them entertained?
Jack did lose interest in Builder Barbie herself after a couple of hours, but he built and re-built with the brick blocks for at least a week. We did lose a piece or two under our couch, but we've used the Builder Barbie bricks in other construction builds, so those blocks have kept us entertained for a long time now. And to note, Jack also has a Spiderman figure the same size as this Barbie and only played with it for a couple of hours before tossing it aside, so he's just not actions figures or doll type of kid. However, I think if you have a child into action figures or dolls, they'll play with this Barbie for a many days in a row, not just a couple of hours. Each kid is different as they say.
Are they a good value?
Builder Barbie is under $20, so I do think this toy is a good value. You can sometimes pay that for a small brick building system alone, but with this toy, you get the builder and her materials (brick blocks) all under $20, so score!
Ninja-like STEM Skills
First, it's nice to see a female construction worker/builder. I am biased in the fact that I believe parity is possible in the STEM fields and having a toy depict a female STEM work is going to reinforce to both boys and girls that women belong in STEM fields. Secondly, the building bricks will teach any child that plays with this toy spatial reasoning and problem solving, all important for learning STEM skills. Although the instruction booklet that comes with the toy only has 2 building suggestions (tree house and beach house), kids will be able to come up with their own designs as well. In fact, that would be a fun engineering challenge with this toy-- challenge the child playing with Barbie Builder to design something on paper and then using the bricks, build that design.
So overall, I give this toy a 4 out 5. The ninja-like STEM skills are on par with any brick building system, and Builder Barbie does a good job of teaching those ninja-like STEM skills. I think do there are other STEM toys and other Barbies that will be hotter ticket items for the holidays, but Builder Barbie certainly does a good job of crossing both genres. So if you're in the market searching for a toy that crosses the Barbie and STEM genre, then Barbie Builder is the toy you're looking for.
In the comments below, tell me what you think will be the hottest STEM toy of the season is-- Lego, magnetic tiles, slime? Please let me know!
And now giveaway time! This one is open to all US residents; see the Rafflecopter below on how to enter!
(Or go directly to the Rafflecopter link if there's issues loading the app on our website, which sorry for that inconvenience: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5094d1c99/ ).
And you can always buy your own Builder Barbie at Amazon or other store!