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Category: STEM
  • The "Women of NASA" Lego Set has become one of this year's top toys -- now learn the inspiring stories of these trailblazing scientists!

    When LEGO released their Women of NASA Building Set last month, it was a sensation. Our Facebook post announcing its release quickly went viral. The set became Amazon's bestselling toy and sold out within a day, showing the strong demand for science toys with female scientists at the forefront!

    The set features four pioneering women who made major contributions to the U.S. space program: astronomer and educator Nancy Grace Roman; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; astronaut and physicist Sally Ride; and astronaut, physician, and engineer Mae Jemison. The 231-piece set, created by LEGO fan and science writer Maia Weinstock, includes minifigures of all four women and buildable models of the Hubble space telescope and a space shuttle.

    Weinstock, who first proposed the set on LEGO's crowdsourcing design platform, designed her set to increase awareness of the contributions these women made to the space program and to science as a whole. In her proposal, she wrote: “In many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated — especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)." In a later interview, Weinstock added that she believes it's "critical to have toys that girls can look at and play with and think, ‘that's me!'’ or ‘that could be me!"

    The massive popularity of this unique set — the first of its kind since the now discontinued LEGO Research Institute — has generated a sense of excitement and curiosity about the women of America's space program. But while many children and adults may recognize their names, few people know the details of these pioneering scientists' work. In this blog post, we're introducing you to these remarkable women, filling in the details about their careers and why they deserve to hold a special place in space history. We've also recommended books for all ages that let those interested explore their fascinating stories in greater depth. They've been immortalized in LEGO form; now it's time to celebrate the women themselves! Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books about women in technology and programming toys & games that introduce kids of all ages to coding!

    Computers and technology are all around us at both work and play — which means that knowing the ins and outs of programming is an ever more essential skill! While in the past kids could only start learning about programming when they were ready for text-based computer languages, today they can get started from with board games, color-coded programming languages, and much more, encouraging kids to see themselves as programmers from an early age.

    At the same time, sexism and stereotypes about computer programming can still pose obstacles to girls and women interested in getting into the technology industry. Although women were some of the first programmers in the world, today men outnumber women by a substantial margin, with only 19% of computer science degrees being awarded to female graduates in the United States. So now, more than ever, we need to show girls how programming fits into their lives — and teach them about the many contributions that women have made to the field!

    With that goal in mind, in this blog post, we're showcasing a selection of our favorite resources to encourage girls with an interest in technology — and to introduce coding to girls who may have never even considered the possibility. In the first part, we provide an array of toys and kits that teach kids the basics of programming logic and coding, and show them the amazing possibilities that come along with computer know-how. While in the second part, we share a selection of books for all ages featuring female programmers and coding pioneers. Together, we can raise a new generation of savvy Mighty Girl coders! Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of building and engineering toys for inventive Mighty Girls from toddlers to teens.

    It starts the first moment an infant or toddler realizes that one block can balance on another block. Before you know it, building a tower to the sky (and making it crash down!) has become a favorite activity. For many kids, building toys remain favorites throughout childhood, with structures becoming more complex as kids' building skills advance. And once they can incorporate moving parts, budding engineers get to really explore all the incredible things they can put together!

    If you have an amateur architect or engineer on your hands, some intriguing new building toys make a great gift idea. By expanding the materials available for building, you can help kids develop useful skills like fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, planning, and spatial perception — and, of course, let them have a great time doing it! With that in mind, we've showcased our favorite building and engineering toys for kids from toddlers to teens in this blog post, with classic building toys featured in the first part and engineering sets featured in the final section. Whether they are interested in building with blocks, bricks, rods, and connectors, or experimenting with magnets, wedges, and more, there’s something here that will intrigue every child!

    Science lovers can also find plenty of empowering options in our blog post Wrapped up in Science: Top 60 Science Toys for Mighty Girls.
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  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of space-themed toys and books for all ages!

    When LEGO's Women of NASA Building Set was released earlier this month, it sold out within a day. Clearly, there are a lot of Mighty Girls out there who are dreaming of outer space! While the set is now back in stock, there are also plenty of other options to inspire kids who are interested in space, as well as introduce them to trailblazing women of space exploration.

    To that end, in our Reach For the Stars blog post, we've showcased a selection of books, toys, and science kits to delight space-loving Mighty Girls from toddlers to teens! In the first half, we feature a range of space-oriented toys and science kits for all ages; while, in the second half, we share books for all ages (including adults) about women of the space program. From the earliest astronomers, to the mathematicians and engineers who helped NASA design and launch their rockets, to the ground-breaking female astronauts who stepped outside our atmosphere, they're sure to show your Mighty Girl that there's no limit to her dreams! Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of STEM-themed games for all ages!

    "Science is not a boy's game, it's not a girl's game. It's everyone's game." — Nichelle Nichols

    When a baby drops a block over and over, she's doing what humans do naturally: turning science into a game! Playful experimentation is the first step to a lifetime of STEM learning. As kids get older, however, they can lose that creative spirit and start seeing learning about science and math as a chore, rather than a fun and exciting way to discover the wonders of the universe.

    In recent years, game designers have realized that science and math games can be much more engaging than just getting kids to recite trivia and memorize facts and figures. Newer STEM-themed games use clever rule design and colorful components to encourage critical thinking and make learning science and math engaging and fun! Whether someone is a science nut or a reluctant learner, these games are an excellent way to teach new material, solidify understanding, and make learning science and math playful again.

    With that in mind, we've put together a collection of our favorite STEM-themed games for kids of all ages. These games explore everything from math concepts to chemical reactions to geology. With so many to choose from, we're confident there's a game here for everyone!

    For more of our favorite toys and games to encourage an interest in STEM fields, visit our Science & Math Toy Collection. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of newly released books starring girls and women who love science, engineering, and math!

    With the demand for stories about female scientists at an all-time high, there have been growing numbers of exceptional books published about girls and women who love science, engineering, and math! It can be challenging for parents and educators, however, to stay up on all of the new releases so, to help make it easier, we've featured 12 of these titles in a new blog post. From books about role models like scientist Temple Grandin, computer scientist Grace Hopper, doctor Patricia Bath, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and marine biologist Eugenie Clark to fictional stories about science-loving girls curious about the world around them, there's sure to be a new book to appeal to every budding young scientist!

    For more books for all ages about girls and women who love science, check out our blog post 50 Books to Inspire Science-Loving Mighty Girls or browse our entire Science / Technology Collection. Continue reading Continue reading

  • From an aerospace engineer to a helicopter pilot to a microbiologist, these five remarkable women will help lead the way in space exploration!

    NASA's newest class of astronaut candidates has just been announced, and it includes five inspiring women! NASA received a record-breaking number of applicants for this astronaut class — over 18,000 in all — and the class itself has twelve members, their largest since the year 2000. "These women and men deserve our enthusiastic congratulations," said retired astronaut and Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa. "Children all across the United States right now dream of being in their shoes someday. We here at NASA are excited to welcome them to the team and look forward to working with them to inspire the next generation of explorers."

    The astronaut candidates have two years of training in front of them before they're ready to break Earth's atmosphere, but in the meantime, space-loving Mighty Girls have five new role models to look up to! In this blog post, we introduce you to these five remarkably talented women. And, to inspire children who dream of their own careers in space, at the end of the post, we've showcased a variety of girl-empowering books and toys about shooting for the stars! Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of science toys and kits to encourage outdoor discovery and exploration.

    One of the best ways to spark a child's love for science is by allowing her to learn about it in the real world through outdoor play and discovery. Whether she's examining a favorite new insect, gazing at the stars, or cultivating a garden, nature is full of wonders to excite curious kids. And, with a few fun science toys, kits, and tools, kids can do a lot of learning and exploring on their own — and have a ball doing it!

    In this blog post, we've showcased two dozen of our favorite toys and kits to help kids get started on their outdoor explorations. From a set of field tools for kids to a rotating star map of the sky, these toys will let kids explore wherever their curiosity takes them. And, whether you have a budding naturalist, entomologist, astronomer, or geologist, there's something here for everyone!

    For Mighty Girl books about girls who love to explore the great outdoors, check out our blog post, 25 Mighty Girl Books About Outdoor Discovery, or browse our entire Animals & Nature book collection. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books for children about trailblazing female environmentalists of the past and present.

    With April's Earth Month comes a special opportunity to teach kids about the people all around the world doing important work to care for our environment and the life within it! In addition to the day-to-day activities that we can all do to reduce our impact on the planet, it's important to recognize the scientists and activists, both past and present, who have encouraged us to see our planet in a new way: not as a set of resources for us to extract when we please, but as a precious and delicate system that sustains all life that we must strive to protect.

    In this blog post, we're sharing books for children and teens about twenty female environmentalists who changed the way that we think and act toward the Earth. These women made groundbreaking discoveries, fought for meaningful change to laws and policies, and shared their outlook — and their joy in nature — with the world. They're sure to inspire kids to look at the world outside their front door with newfound appreciation and think about ways they can help protect the planet!

    For more Mighty Girl books about environmental issues, including many fictional stories, visit our special feature on the Top Children's Books on the Environment. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books for children and teens about real-life female scientists who changed the world!

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    "Young girls need to see role models in whatever career they may choose, just so they can picture themselves doing those jobs someday. You can't be what you can't see." — Sally Ride, First American Woman in Space

    When someone mentions scientists, chances are good that the face that pops into mind is male: perhaps a picture of Albert Einstein or Neil DeGrasse Tyson, or maybe a more generic man in a lab coat. However, even when women were largely shut out of science, there were still groundbreaking women making discoveries, conducting experiments, and publishing research! And while school curricula and popular culture are slowly expanding to include women beyond a few notable favorites such as Marie Curie and Jane Goodall, many people — young and old alike — still often find themselves struggling to name even a handful of female scientists.

    Fortunately, with the increasing availability of great biographies for children and teens, we can show our girls that women in science make contributions every day! And, of course, these titles are just as important to share with boys because all kids need to know that science is for girls! With that in mind, we've showcased our favorite biographies of female scientists for children and teens. From primatology to physics, the expanses of space to the vast floor of the ocean, these women made their mark and changed the way we see the world... just like the budding Mighty Girl scientists of today will one day! Continue reading Continue reading

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