I’d been thinking of getting the girls a marble run lately. There are many varieties on the market – from simple (and expensive) wooden ones, to fairly inexpensive and kind of complicated plastic ones.
Here’s a selection of wooden and plastic marble runs from Growing Tree Toys. I’d seen the Alex Toys one at a discount store recently and almost picked it up, but didn’t. Even discounted, it was still $40. A little too pricey for me.
But my husband had been browsing on an electronics website (don’t ask me which one), and showed me one that looked kind of neat. It was plastic (which I’m not fond of, but I can live with). And it was only $25 (though I’ve seen it for as high as $32). Since we needed something else from the place, I said go ahead and get it. It was the Tecno-Gears Marble Mania apprentice, from the Learning Journey. It has 215 pieces, gears and a motorized marble return (though you can opt to put them back yourself too).
My oldest daughter is 6. So my husband put her in charge of building it. And she did remarkably well, following the directions. She needed assistance on a few aspects of it, but she did great overall.
Here is a picture of the final marble run she built mostly herself:
I think she did a great job. This is the second thing she’s built by herself. The other one was a few lincoln log buildings like this
She followed the picture directions and did great.
Now, for parents of boys, I’m sure this isn’t all that big a deal. But really, it’s great for me to see my girls being exposed to building things and being GOOD at it. All I did growing up was mostly “girl stuff” – play with dolls and the like. I remember thinking growing up, I wish I could do more boy stuff. I would go through the catologs and drool over chemistry kits and building sets. I also remember wanting desperately to learn how to work on car engines and change the oil and wanted to learn woodworking too. Of course even nowadays, the car engines are so complex and computerized, that it’s no longer a simple task to fix your own car.
I just never got that exposure – well, I take that back, I did have shop class for 6 weeks in 6th grade which was awesome! And despite my early exposure to only girl activities, I managed to enter a predominantly male field – science. And I was good at it. But to this day, I still have trouble with visual-spatial knowledge. I know that boys are supposed to be naturals at it, but then again, if girls are given the exposure to it from an early enough age, there’s no reason why girls can’t be just as good as the boys.
But that’s just my humble opinion.
I’d really like to know if there are other mothers out there with plans on giving their girls equal exposure to boy stuff too? I can’t be the only one, can I?