Friday, August 8, 2014



My children are twins, one is a girl and one is a boy (no they are not I can't believe the number of times people ask me if they are identical twins but that is for a post on another day) which puts me in a unique position to see them playing together a lot.  One of their favorite toys is LEGOs and I've noticed that while many of the things that kids can construct could be construed gender neutral most of the playsets that we have in our house tend to include the little yellow action figures that come with them as guys.  My daughter has asked me a few times where all the gals are for the LEGOs and could we buy some more sets with girl characters in them.  The ones we've found tend to be Disney Princess themed or with characters recreating the movie Clueless under the label LEGO Friends.  While I don't mind my daughter being a little girl and enjoying things like princesses, ponies, and dolls, I also don't want her feeling limited to those things being what she feels she is supposed to be playing with.  So I was impressed when LEGO recently came out with a science themed playset that featured a cast of women as the assortment of action figures that came along with it.  I must not have been alone because the toys sold out on the LEGO website in 1 day!

As a father, I want to see my daughter be happy and successful in life at whatever path she wants to pursue whether that be a princess working at a Disney World theme park, an astronaut conducting experiments on the International Space Station, a future Justice of the United States Supreme Court, or a stay at home mother.  I don't want to see her choices limited or biased against her and unfortunately I've witnessed struggles that my wife has had working her way up the management ladder in her career that have demonstrated to me how women often have additional hurdles thrown in front of them. So maybe by confronting stereotypes at younger ages showing that girls aren't all about pink and frilly things it will positively impact both men and women who play with these toys as children when they are adults.  On a more realistic note though these are just toys and they aren't going to change the world, but if they can just subtly show girls that there shouldn't be a gender bias when it comes to professional and scientific careers than it could have a profound impact on some individuals.  Studies have shown that if parents engage in gender stereotypes it creates a lack of confidence for women to pursue an interest in science, technology, engineering and math. So as a dad who would love to see his daughter become an Astronaut, Doctor, Scientist, or did I say U.S. Supreme Court Justice, I want to thank LEGO for breaking the building block ceiling.  Now my little girl is also asking you add a few more female super hero figures to your collection to go along with her Wonder Woman (or as she calls her "Lasso Girl") little yellow action figures.

The new Research Institute playset has everything boys and girls need to explore the world below, around, and above us.  It was created by real-life geoscientist Ellen Kooijman and selected to be brought into production based upon its submission through LEGO Ideas which allows fans of the toys to have a say into future products.  This set of building blocks includes a paleontologist, astronomer, and a chemist minifigures:

Help the paleontologist study the dinosaur fossil with a magnifying glass

Map the skies with the astronomer through her telescope

Assist the chemist in carrying out experiments in her lab

Hopefully one day a toy set like this can be a mix of male and female scientists working together as equals, instead of a concerted effort to make a point about women in the workplace.  This is a nice start to getting there.  I know my son would love playing with this just as much as my daughter making a positive impression on both of them that anybody can do anything if they put their mind to it and apply themselves.

CLICK HERE to visit the product page on the LEGO website for the Research Institute playset.  While it is currently sold out, I'm sure that based on its popularity, and the fact they haven't taken the page selling it offline, that more will be available sooner or later both online and optimistically on store shelves too.  The toy retails for $19.99 which isn't a bad price as anyone who has bought LEGO building blocks knows they can have astronomical price tags.  I was thinking of getting the LEGO Death Star for my kids ... and me ... to build until I saw the $400 price tag - wow!  The Research Institute in addition to the three scientist figures has 165 pieces and is suggested for children 10 years old and older.


  1. This is SO cool...I have yet to see this set, but I love it!

  2. Good job Dad letting your kids set their own path.

  3. This is so amazing! Great job LEGO for putting these products out there!

  4. I simply love that women are being portrayed in various fields. WTG LEGO.