First of all I absolutely LOVE the idea behind these GoldieBlox sets. The idea being that little girls lose interest in building type tools around the age of six and as a result only around 14% of the engineers in the world are women and as such engineering is very much a male dominated area. The founder of GoldieBlox; Debbie Sterling (who is an engineer) want's to change that and introduce the world of engineering to little girls around the world with her companies ethos "We believe there are a million girls out there who are engineers. They just might not know it yet". She has set out to create fun toys that teach engineering concepts alongside a fun story and has created the character and company GoldieBlox to help inspire little girls to don tools as well as tiara's.
As a mother of both a boy and a girl (and yes a woman and feminist) I love the whole concept and principle that Goldieblox stands for. The idea that my daughter can have exactly the same opportunities and development in life as my son and that she can have the same encouragement through play that boy's have is in my mind fantastic. Obviously if my daughter decides she wants to be a ballerina rather than an engineer that is perfectly okay too but I do agree with Debbie Sterling that girls toys do seem to be centered around pink and dolls and that there is still a definite gender split with toys.
Anyway onto the toy and apologies for the initial deviation but in case you haven't guessed it I love this idea! So why the four stars instead of five from me? Why did they not create a continuous belt drive instead of one where you have to re-wind the ribbon all of the time? This to me is simply frustrating and I am not a trained engineer with a degree (although I do have a reasonably technical job) but I do think this is just plain common sense. As another reviewer has also noticed why not just either deduct a friend and only have four friends and a wheel with the crank on or add another wheel for the crank to go on? It may seem like nitpicking but I am really surprised they didn't think of this prior to production.
My other reason why I have awarded four stars instead of five (the same reason in my review of GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank
) is that you can't build some of the suggested designs now that GoldieBlox have changed the Blox themselves. The USA reviews complained about the blox not having stoppers inside and the axles slipping through them but since then GoldieBlox have sorted this out as the blox on my toy all had stopper threads in them. Since GoldieBlox have listened to the USA criticism about the blox having no grip and the axles slipping through them they have introduced these fixed insertion depths within the blox or stopper threads as I call them. This means that the axles no longer pass all the way through the blox and are held steadily before they intercept each other in the middle to aid a solid structure to be built. Unfortunately they haven't noticed that some of their designs now either can't be built or can be built but don't work as well as they should because some of the axles cannot pass through the blox now that they have included stoppers such as Nacho's Centrifuge as this doesn't counter balance correctly now and flops over, Katinka's Whipper Snapper does work but not as well as it should as again the axles don't pass through where they should, The Ultimate Noodle Spinner just looks stupid as again the axles don't pass through and so it ends up not looking like a fork with the extra width required for the axles above the tines of the fork and Wheel-O-Bot's hips look silly and he doesn't balance as well as he should as again the axle's don't go through and to now do the design it doesn't look right and work as well as it should.
The main toy design itself is really good (other than they didn't do a continuous belt drive) and I didn't have any problems building it although I would think younger than six probably would and would need some adult assistance. It comes beautifully packaged and I have included some pictures in the customer pictures section and I think this would make a lovely present. The set comes with all of the parts you need, the story/instructions on how to build the spinning machine, the pegboard, Nacho the dog, Katinka the pink dolphin ballerina, Benjamin Cranklin the cat, a sloth named Phil and a bear that flew in from Brazil.
This set; The Spinning Wheel teaches your little ones about belt drives and each set will teach different engineering concepts such as the dunk tank set teaches about hinges. Another thing I like is that all of the parts on each set are interchangeable with each other so that your little one can build even bigger designs with their own imagination too.
The instruction book/story also advises how to build nine other models; Benjamin's Treadmill (a treadmill for the cat Benjamin), Double See-Saw (a see-saw for 4 of the characters), Phil's Climbing Wall (a climbing wall/abseiling wall for Phil the Sloth), Nacho's Centrifuge (a centrifuge spinner for Nacho the dog) which unfortunately doesn't work as well as it should, Katinka's Whipper Snapper (a type of float that spins the ballerina Katinka), The Ultimate Noodle Spinner (a sort of pot noodle spinner fork) which again doesn't look right or work as well as it should because of the blox issue, Phil's Pyramid (a pyramid design with throne type area in it for Phil the Sloth), The Champion Stand (a sort of winners podium style design for three of the friends) and finally the Wheel-O-Bot (a robot design) which again doesn't look right or work as well as it should because of the blox issue and change. I have included pictures of the designs that I have managed to do and pictures of the 'problem designs' and instruction booklet pictures for you to see in the customer pictures section so that you can see what I mean.
A pity about not being able to build all of the designs or them not working properly should I say and I think GoldieBlox will have to re-design their instruction booklet to remove these and/or re-design them somehow but other than that this is a fantastic concept and a really good toy and I shall keep my fingers crossed for the brand and that it reaches the popularity that I think it will.
EDIT 01/10/14:- I have contacted GoldieBlox to advise them of this little error re the new and improved 2.0 Blox and them not quite working with the old designs.
The other current GoldieBlox products and their links are:-GoldieBlox and the Dunk TankGoldieBlox and the Parade Float