Traditionally, tech toys seemed designed--intentionally or otherwise--to appeal strictly to boys. And while we've already told you about some great tech gifts for geeky kids, many of which should appeal to boys and girls alike, we wanted to put some emphasis on cool tech toys designed to close the culture gap. These toys are intended to inspire girls to take an interest in technology (or capitalize on the interest they already have), opening up entirely new horizons for them.
Invention Mansion is the newest toy from GoldieBlox, a company that designs products specifically to bring out the hidden engineer in every girl. Invention Mansion is the company's "answer to the classic dollhouse."
You can definitely do more than sit down for pretend tea in Invention Mansion. It features secret spots, a trap door, a zipline, balconies, bridges, levers and linkages. It comes with over 350 pieces, and a full-color booklet of starter ideas.
Invention Mansion is the winner of the 2016 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum award. It's for girls ages 6+ and is currently on sale for $48 (originally $60).
GoldieBlox, it's worth noting, is devoted to "disrupting the pink aisle" in toy stores and is the brainchild of CEO Debbie Sterling, who has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and who should know that I am like, totally single.
Rule Your Room
Rule Your Room Kit is the latest from littleBits. LittleBits are electronic modules that link together with magnets, and which you (or your kids) can build into all sorts of inventions. With the Rule Your Room Kit, the focus is on building things to protect your room. Presumably, from your annoying kid brother.
The Rule Your Room Kit comes with 7 bits and 19 accessories--enough to build 8 inventions, like 'Creepy Eyeballs,' which glows green when it hears a noise and 'Burglar Buzzer,' an alarm that catches thieves in the act.
The kit is for ages 8+ and retails for $99.
My Friend Cayla
My Friend Cayla is one very sharp doll. In fact, she's a doll version of Amazon Alexa. You talk to Cayla when her necklace is lit up, and she'll answer just about any question.
When connected to her app in online mode she literally knows millions of things. Ask her: "Where is Paris?" "How fast can dolphins swim?" "Who is Thomas Edison?" She has the answer. In offline mode, she can still answer 1,000s of questions about herself. She even tells stories and plays games.
Cayla works with Apple iPhones and tablets. She comes in two varieties: the original or play time version.
My Friend Cayla retails for $60.
Director's Cut Building Set
Mighty Makers building sets from K'Nex introduce girls to building and architecture. There are about 10 sets available.
In the Director's Cut Building Set girls get to build a film set, shoot the movie, and then transform the set into the theater where the movie will be screened.
The Director's Cut Building set includes a total of 308 parts and pieces, along with specific accessories like a film camera, sound clapper and director chairs.
Mighty Makers sets are geared for girls ages 7+. They retail from $10 to $40.
The Director's Cut Building Set retails for $35.
Roominate Village uses modular blocks, some with circuits, that interlock to build an elaborate town. Connect to the Roominate app and you can control everything from your smartphone or tablet.
Roominate Village is pretty extensive. You can build a downtown complete with street lights, spinning windmills, carousels, and a city park with a lake and boat. Needless to say, building a village takes, well, a village of pieces. Here's what you get:
16 pluggable wall/floor panels
151 furniture building pieces
1 rPower Hub
1 string of lights
2 cable converters
3 battery packs*
1 Bettina doll
1 pet bunny Hoppy
Roominate Village is for girls ages 6 and up and retails for $70.