Zoetrope Holiday Ornament

Hey Bloxstars!

We are just counting down the days until the holidays! So… why not get started early? This craftstruction is super awesome because it is inspired by our Movie Maker App AND Movie Machine Toy! Can you say double whammy?

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Materials Needed:

  • 1 sheet of printer paper or 8 small pictures
  • 2 different colored pieces of construction paper
  • 2 brads
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • Tape or Glue
  • Any festive and decorative thing-a-majigs (ex. gold pipe cleaner, present bow, ribbons)
  • Optional: One of Goldie’s pets (I chose Cranky ole’ Benjamin) and 1 spacer

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Fold your piece of printer paper in half hamburger style. Take your scissors (Be careful they are sharp!) and cut along the fold. Now, take one of the halves and fold it in half 3 times until there are 8 little rectangles.

Step 2: Next, cut 1 cm thick strips from the long side of your construction paper – 2 strips of each color. Fold each of these strips in half.

Step 3: Take one of your brads and poke holes through the halves of the 4 colored strips. Then, if you have one of Goldie’s pets and a spacer, push the brad through the spacer and wrap the two ends around the spacer. Side note…Benjamin does NOT look like he’s in the holiday spirit!

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Step 4: Draw and cut out your mini stop motion animations or you can use 8 small photographs. Want some inspiration on how to create animations? Check out examples and tutorials in our Movie Maker App.

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Step 5: Tape or glue your 8 frames onto the strips of construction paper as shown in the picture. Make sure they are all facing the right way!

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Step 6: Now, this part is a little tricky but you are going to take the second brad and punch holes through all of the ends of the colored strips and then flatten the two bendy parts so that the ends all stay together!

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Step 7: Attach a pipe cleaner, ribbon, or string to the brad on the top of the globe and … Ta-da! You’ve got yourself a zoetrope ornament – give it a spin to see your animation!

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Now all that is left is to decorate your ornament and give it a SPIN!

Team Goldie Highlight: Laurel Ganzel

Hello Friends!

We hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving! At GoldieBlox, there are so many things to be thankful for and one of them is our blox-some employees. They are the blox to our bits, the zip to our line, the animations to our Movie Machine… basically they are super important and help turn dreams into reality. This is going to be the first of many blog posts to give you the inside scoop on #TeamGoldie.

Meet Laurel: Debbie’s right-hand woman, calendar coordinator, office organizer, logistics leader and all-around magician. Like the rest of #TeamGoldie, we wear a lot of hats and it’s fair to say Laurel’s coat rack is chock-full.

What is your GoldieBlox name? 
The Executive Acrobat, a name that seemed fitting for a position that is continually juggling projects and priorities. You have to stay limber and agile for anything that comes your way. :)

Which GoldieBlox character or pet is your favorite and why?
Love the crankster, Benjamin. I grew up with cats (and dogs) and think it represents a specific personality that this furry feline friend brings to the table.

Recall a fun moment at the office.
There have been so many with this group. From scootering between the offices to traveling to New York for the Super Bowl commercial, my (almost) year here, has been incredible.

Personally, a favorite moment came when Terry Langston, one of our Board Members and original creators of Pictionary, came to town and we got to challenge him at his own game! GoldieBlox themed cards were created, snacks were on hand and the creativity (and competitiveness) was flowing. Pictionary has long been a favorite game of mine, so this was an extra special treat!

What’s your super power?
I really gravitate towards anything creative. At work I have been known to be a craftstruction sensei, putting together a GoldieBlox scrapbook, painting a larger than life interactive calendar, prototype painter, resident calligraphist…etc. Outside of work, and when I find the time, I like to paint portraits, landscapes, and am starting to warm up to abstracts. Acrylics have been my go-to, but I am looking forward to diving into oils this coming year.

What’s an interesting fact about you that most people don’t know?
I am featured, along with my sister, Jenna and my cousin, Thea in the Awkward Family Photos book.

What are you most thankful for this holiday season?
I am thankful for my family. For their health, for the bond we share and for being close enough to visit, often. They are my heart.

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Laurel’s Recipe: Grandma Ganzel’s Swedish Snowball Cookies

My Grandma Millie would make these for the family at Christmas time. It’s become a holiday tradition to have these around during the holidays.

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Designed for Action: Bringing Goldie to life

As a Creative Director at a small company like Goldie Blox, I get to wear a lot of hats. Which is cool, because I love hats. One of my favorite hats is character designer.
As a character designer, usually I get to create a character and then somebody else — an animator or a toy company or whatever — uses my design to create a cartoon or a movie or a toy. It was really, really cool to be able to start with my design and go through the entire process myself, and I am eternally grateful to Debbie for having the trust in me to do that.
Designing a character on paper takes a long time. You want to get every detail just right, and you want to try a lot of details and see which ones fit best. When we translated all of those details to the action figure specifications, engineering came into play – I had to whip out math skills I hadn’t used in a WHILE in order to make sure that my drawings were going to be to scale for the action figure, and let me tell you, there was some trial and error.
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I made certain decisions intentionally – Goldie’s hair, for instance, is really recognizable for every little girl. Dolls have brushable hair, and I really wanted this toy to feel familiar and accessible to every girl, regardless of whether she would normally play with an action figure. Engineering is for every girl, after all, but sometimes toys are so gendered that a familiar pathway can help!
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I also really wanted Goldie’s eyes and hands to say important things about her as a person. Her eyes are big not only because they’re endearing, but because when you illustrate something, characters with bigger eyes tend to be perceived as bright and intelligent.
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Her hands, too, were an important part of the process. I wanted her to have really sturdy hands – hands that could grab things and wield a wrench and do all the cool things Goldie likes to do. So many dolls have hands that just sort of stick out with their thumbs up, and that might work for them, but Goldie needed more.
I really wanted to maintain her quirkiness, and her eyes and hands and even her big ears were definitely part of that. Goldie is a really boisterous, outgoing character, and her action figure should say that about her!
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There are some things I definitely want to improve on as we start to develop the action figures for Goldie’s friends. For instance, though her body proportions are cartoonish and exaggerated, we really tried to keep them closer to a normal kid’s body proportions than a lot of other toys aimed at girls on the market – but still, I think maybe her head’s a little too big. We’re going to try some new head sizes with Ruby, and see what happens.
And for those of you who don’t know; Goldie’s friends are  already in the works, and capturing their personalities while representing their ethinicities is on the top of my list. You can see her friends in the new products and cartoons. I am beyond excited for little Valentina Voltz being hispanic and getting to develop a hispanic figure is just a dream come true – but I’ll leave that part for another post.
I hope your girls love Goldie as much as I loved developing her.
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A message from our Rainmaker, Lindsey Shepard

Dear friends,

I’m thrilled that so many of you have seen our recent video, but it’s hard to tell the full story in 90-seconds. There’s so much more we want to say.

As parents, the toys that we offer to our children come to represent our family values, whether we like it or not.

When we give our kids crayons and paper, it tells them that creating art is a valuable way to spend their time. A new bike or a pair of cleats says that physical activity and teamwork are important. In the best scenarios, these offerings are varied, and the message is “Hey, try a bunch of stuff! You can do any or all of this. You have options.”

Play matters.

The problem, of course, is that not all girls have the benefit of these options.

Big toy companies have the corner on the market, and they spend a significant amount of money to promote the idea that their toys are best for girls. They can afford to get their products in front of your daughter. They can afford to make sure she wants to play with their toys.

They are making decisions about what is available to your daughter, and these decisions don’t always have her best interests in mind.

We assume that everything is okay, because young girls have been playing with the same toys for decades.

The same girls that think boys have brighter futures than they do.

The same girls that suffer from insecurity, and dissatisfaction with their bodies.

The same girls that receive a new fashion doll every 3 seconds.

It’s impossible to ignore these stats.

It’s impossible to pretend that they exist in a vacuum, that there’s no correlation between them and the fact that our girls are losing confidence in male-dominated fields of study as early as age 8.

At GoldieBlox, we don’t believe that any one statistic or issue is the clear winner in the finger-pointing game. This problem is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s not just the fashion doll we have a problem with; it’s the impossible standards that that doll represents. It’s not the individual princess movie, it’s the constant barrage of princess culture.

It’s the lack of options that keeps us up at night.

Sexism is sneaky; it shows up where we least expect it. Gender equality is a huge issue, and we’re focused on one small facet: your daughter.

Nothing else matters to us.

We believe your daughter deserves a positive role model that she can relate to, one who prefers high-tops to high heels. One who prides herself on engineering her way out of any problem. One who’s not afraid to get messy; she tries new things, and tries again if those things don’t work out. She likes her dog and eating waffles and hanging out with her friends.

Sounds like a kid, right? Right.

We are dedicated to helping young girls see beyond the all-encompassing, sparkly allure of the pink aisle to discover their true potential. We are committed to the idea that girls deserve to have options for play that don’t have negative side effects.

We’re committed to your daughter, no matter what she looks like, no matter what she wants to be when she grows up, no matter what her favorite color is.

We don’t care about those things; we know she’s perfect, just the way she is. We know she has something special inside of her, just waiting to change her world for the better. We want to encourage her to discover that piece of herself. And we honestly believe that Goldie can help.

Our new action figure is a small step, but it’s a step. It will get bigger.

This is just the beginning, I promise. Stick around.

And, hey, if your daughter decides to be an engineer? I’d be pretty stoked.

Girls FTW,

Lindsey

DIY of the Week: Make Your Own Cloud

No, we’re not pulling your leg. In this week’s DIY blog, we’re going to teach you how to make your own cloud in a jar! This one is easy enough to do over and over again. And trust us, you’ll want to.

Full disclosure: when we were deciding on what fun DIY to do next, we chose this one purely on the fact because “make your own cloud” sounded like the coolest title ever. I mean, haven’t you ever looked at a particularly fluffy cloud and wondered what it felt like? This cloud isn’t quite as fluffy as the big cumulus ones you see in the sky, but this is one you can actually touch and play with, and, if you’re feeling adventurous, maybe even eat! Let us know if you can figure out how to manage that.

To get started, you’ll need:

DIY Items

  • Jar with a lid
  • Hot water (you just want it hot enough to steam a little)
  • Ice
  • Matches

Step 1: Pour the hot water into the jar. You don’t need a ton of hot water for this to work. We only used enough to fill the bottom third of our jar or so.

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Step 2: Turn the lid upside down and fill it with ice. Cloud  Ice

Step 3: Have an adult light a match and put it into the jar, and put the upside-down lid full of ice back on top.

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Step 4: See the air swirling and building up? That’s your cloud! Let it build for a few seconds, and then you can take off the lid to play with it.

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See the cloud forming up near the top? It looks like it’s just smoke from the match, but trust us, it’s a cloud.

And voila! You have a cloud of your very own!

You take off the lid… And voila! You have a cloud of your very own!

So what’s happening in this experiment?  While making a cloud is super cool on its own, this DIY actually has some learning behind it, too! The steam from the hot water rises to the top of the jar and is cooled down by the ice. When the steam is cooled, it condenses to make little water droplets. The water droplets use the smoke from the lit match as a surface to form the cloud on (called cloud condensation nuclei, if you were wondering) and the droplets then form your cloud! Wondering about all that circular swirling when the cloud was forming? That’s from the warm air rising and the cold air sinking, a process called “convection,” and it’s happening all over the atmosphere, ocean, and even in your soup!

DIY of the Week: Bubble Fun

Have some fun with bubbles using items you have lying around the house! The bubbles and food coloring make this pretty messy, so you might want to try this one outside.

This project was originally supposed to be a bubble snake, but for some reason the bubbles didn’t want to stick together to make anything other than a glob. It was still a ton of fun, even if it didn’t quite go as planned. Brownie points to whoever can figure out how to make the bubbles stick!

All you need is:

DIY Items

  • An empty plastic bottle
  • Scissors
  • A sock that lost its mate (you might want to wash it first!)
  • Duct tape
  • A small bowl
  • Some dish soap
  • Some water
  • Food coloring (optional)

Step 1: Cut off the bottom of the plastic bottle with the scissors. You may need a parent to help!

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Step 2: Slide the sock over the end of the bottle and use duct tape to secure it. We used this fancy gold tape for an extra snazzy bottle!

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Step 3: Pour some dish soap and water into the small bowl. You can experiment with how much of each to use for the best bubbles, but you’ll want to use enough dish soap so the mixture will bubble up.

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Step 4: Dip the sock end of the bottle into the soapy mixture

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Step 5 (Optional): Add food coloring for colorful bubbles! We recommend putting the food coloring straight onto the sock for the most vibrant bubbles. You can even use a bunch of different colors to make a bubble rainbow!

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Step 6: Blow bubbles using the top part of the bottle! Also, please don’t breathe in unless you want a mouth full of dish soap. It sounds like it’s common sense, but sometimes you forget. Not that we know from experience.

Note: If you get all the sides of the sock wet, bubbles will come out of the sides, too. Makes for even cooler bubble shapes! Show us your cool bubble creations by posting them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tagging #GoldieBlox.

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Here is an example of a beautiful bubble glob. Proof that things don’t have to go exactly as planned to have fun!

Digging Earthworms in the Land of Barbie

Andrea Beaty with her book 'Rosie Revere, Engineer.'

Andrea Beaty with her book ‘Rosie Revere, Engineer.’

Andrea Beaty is the author of Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect, among many others. She is an advocate for STEM education and Girls in STEM visits schools in the US and internationally to share her love of literacy and STEM. She was a big reader as a kid and LOVED Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon Mysteries. Then she moved on to Agatha Christie books and then the classics.  Don’t tell anyone, but her secret ambition is to star in a Broadway musical and she is often tempted to break into song and dance at very odd moments. Mostly in the frozen food section of her grocery store.  They have very good lighting. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and at her website.

I love earthworms and I always have. As a kid, I kept a cigar box loaded with dirt and decaying vegetables for the worms we found in the garden. I plucked them from the earth and chatted to them happily as I ran to the house and introduced them to their new home with the elegant picture of Prince Albert on their paper ceiling. I was thrilled and am pretty sure they were too. They were my pets.

My earthworms were not as chipper as our parakeets, or as good at fetching as our collie. They were aloof like the cat though less likely to shed or bring me dead mice. I imagined keeping them forever. Then one day I noticed that the cigar box was the perfect length for my toothbrush. At last, all my favorite things in one spot. I was thrilled. My mother, who generally supported her children’s pet choices and hobbies was less thrilled. I vaguely remember a talk straight from the script of Born Free and a tearful goodbye in the garden where the toothbrush became an excellent climbing post in my pets’ new “playground.”

Fast forward many years and I found myself once more digging for earthworms in the garden, this time as a parent. My young daughter helped reluctantly at first, but then eagerly. Nature is magnificent place to nurture a child’s curiosity and understanding of science. We didn’t keep the worms, but we observed them, marveled at them, and let them “play” in our mud pies until it was time for them and us to go to bed.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time—or at least I would not admit it—I had a secret agenda for my daughter. Perhaps agenda is too strong a word, but in my heart of hearts, I wanted her to be just like me. A tomboy. A kid who eschewed all things “girlie” for the rough and tumble world of Tonka trucks, tree climbing, and mud.

And yet, that was not my daughter’s style. She has never been a fussy person, but she loved pink even in the days before the “pink aisle” had taken over the universe. It was not an obnoxious obsession with her, but slowly, pink crept into our home and her wardrobe and her toys.

She preferred her favorite pink and purple dress to the overalls I laid out for her. She chose her Barbie dolls and the Barbie’s pink convertible over the building toys I nudged in her direction. (Though I took it as a good sign that one of her favorite games to play with her brother was Crash Test Barbie which involved high speed drives a la Thelma and Louise off the bed. I confess that for good or bad, it was not a game that I discouraged.)

At first, the pink worried me. I remember a neighbor commenting that my daughter was “all girl.” I did not know how to react to that. Was I raising a “girlie girl?” Gasp!

And then I realized that it did not matter. Who cares if a girl likes pink or blue or green or orange? Or all of them at once? Who cares if she plays with dolls or earthworms or trucks or glittery fairy houses or whatever? It is the beauty of being a girl that there is no single definition of what that means. Nor should there be.

I realized that it didn’t matter what color my kid was wearing. It mattered what she was doing. Was she curious? Yes. Was she playful? Yes. Was she exploring the world around her and learning from it? Yes!

When I finally got over myself (which is an enormous part of being a parent), we had much more fun together. I continued introducing her to the things I loved and she introduced me to the things she loved. My daughter dug for earthworms and made mud-pies and climbed trees. We had tea parties and played dolls. We built rockets from cardboard boxes so the dolls could travel to space and have tea parties with mud-pies.

As she did these things, she did so in her princess outfit. And once in a while, she cracked out the overalls and wore those —with some ribbons for good measure. Whatever she did, she did with her own style. A style that could change on a dime.

Being a kid is a process of constant reinvention. It takes only a second to think back at my own life to realize that. I think how my mother must have cringed inwardly at my own choices as a kid. (Hey, in my defense, it was the 70s and Elton John was cool.) The important thing is introducing kids to the world, allowing them to learn what it has to offer, and helping them understand what they have to offer in return through their talents and hard work.

My daughter is now twenty and she remembers our mud-pie adventures with great fondness. She has found her own path. She rolls her eyes at her peers who freak out about spiders, earthworms, or snakes.) She is a master with power tools and builds theater sets. She dresses up with the best of them, still loves a tea party, and is up for all kinds of adventure. In short, she is herself. Awesome. Beautiful. Powerful. Bold.

My neighbor was right.

My daughter is all girl.

If your kid loves Rosie Revere, we here at GoldieBlox are about 1000% sure they’ll also love our building kits. Check out our newest, GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank!

When A Little Sister Thinks Her Big Brother Is The “Smart One”

It was crawling around in the backseat. I was driving and couldn’t help her. My daughter hates bugs, but she was on her own to either live and let live or take care of it however else she saw fit.

I tried my best to reassure her. “It’s probably not even the kind of bug you have to worry about. You know who would be able to tell us what kind of bug that was if he was here? Your brother. He knows a lot about entomology, he was into it for a bit.”

“Axel knows everything. He’s the brain,” she replied. She didn’t say it resentfully. She even sounded a little proud of him, but she said it so assuredly, like it was just a fact.

Wait. What? Hold the phones. Is that the message she’s been taking away when her brother gets noted for his contributions to our collective knowledge-base? We needed to talk about this immediately.

“You know a lot about a lot of things, too,” I reminded her. “You’re just as much of a brain as he is.”

“Yeah, but it’s not the same. Axel just knows everything. I’m smart but he’s just so far ahead of me.”

“Umm, he’s nearly five years older than you. That’s why he’s so far ahead of you. He’s accumulated a bigger quantity of knowledge, for now, because he’s been alive five years longer than you. But his ability to learn things isn’t any more enhanced than yours.” I could tell she was thinking on it. I didn’t want to press the issue, so we just changed the subject. But it worried me.

My son got a lot of the admiration and responsibility that older siblings often get, and my daughter has been by default the “baby” of the family, even though she’s a highly driven, Type-A achievement collector. I realized there may be a dynamic at play I’d never realized, that she was internalizing it, and potentially attributing it to gender.

Later that week, I was driving somewhere with her brother, and I mentioned it to him.

“So, this week in ‘Things That Are Ridiculous,’ Gigi thinks you’re smarter than she is.”

“What?” He had this look on his face like I’d just tried to tell him the Easter Bunny was real, or that climate change wasn’t.

“Seriously. Because you know more stuff right now, she’s assumed it’s because you’re just inherently the smart one.”

He shook his head. “That’s crazy. She was sitting with me yesterday, doing my algebra homework with me because she wanted to get the hang of it early. She tries so hard to keep up with where I’m at, because she thinks I’m ahead. But what she doesn’t realize is she’s actually outpacing me. There will be a point in time when I hit a learning plateau, and at her pace, she will not only catch up, but she’ll zoom right past me, probably.” He was very probably right.

“Well, you know how you sometimes do that big brother thing where you act like you just can’t believe she doesn’t know something that you take for granted people should know? Maybe that’s not a good thing to do anymore, even though you didn’t mean to be condescending. Maybe look at those teaching moments and think back to when you were her age and remember that you didn’t know a lot of those things yet, either.”

He looked genuinely regretful at how that kind of stuff probably seems in retrospect. Brothers and sisters antagonize each other with those little daily micro-aggressions. It’s a thing they will always do, even if they deeply love each other and get along great. But sometimes we don’t realize how our words or our attitudes about helping each other learn can come across to the person who’s feeling like a newb.

“Can you talk to her about it at your next opportunity? Tell her exactly what you just told me?” I already knew his answer. He thinks his sister hung the moon.

“Yes. I will take care of it.”

Between their talk and my concerted efforts to make sure that I was telling my son, in front of his sister, that he should check in with her on things she’s really strong at, her confidence was definitely bolstered. Her organization and time management skills are stronger than his. When she was asked to help him stay accountable for his due dates, she stepped up to the plate and it looked like she grew two inches instantly.

It’s crucial to realize we send little messages we aren’t even aware we’re sending every day, just by virtue of who we bestow authority on and who never gets tapped as an authority on anything within our families. By encouraging my kids to equally avail themselves of each others’ strengths, I think we avoided perpetuating stereotypes, and we certainly became much more aware of watching out for stereotypes creeping into anyone’s self-perceptions on our watch. It’s not a one-time fix. It’s an ongoing project. But we all get our turn to be the “smart one.”

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Angie Aker is a Buffy enthusiast, a virality mad scientist, a Poet Laureate, an up-and-coming author, and The World’s Okayest Mom. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter if you like ladies who push the envelope and sometimes their luck. 

 

 

How Adoption Opened My Eyes

“We’re all different, but different is good,” my son said. He’d taken a seat on the couch between my husband and me and held his arm against mine.

At 7 years old, he does that far less frequently than he used to, but occasionally, he reminds himself — out loud for extra reassurance — that differences are to be celebrated.

“The world would be boring if everyone looked the same!” my daughter chimed in from the table where she was drawing one of her unique, fantastical pictures. At 5 years old, she is extremely confident with her beautiful, dark skin and curly hair. She embraced her physical qualities at a young age and hasn’t ever wavered in her certainty that she is absolutely, positively fabulous the way she is. She’s equally confident about her intelligence and her capabilities.

My son has similar conviction in his appearance and his character. He takes pride in his generosity and care for others. He feels a need to remain strong, but not so much that he’ll sacrifice his gentle heart.

Before I became a mom, I lived a pretty comfortable existence. I assumed that my husband and I would raise our kids similar to the way my mom and dad raised me. I have great parents and aside from the minor “I’ll never do that when I’m mom” notes, I figured I had a good grasp on how to proceed.

That was before I began educating myself on race and how people of color navigate the world differently in many circumstances. I’m a sponge when it comes to information, so once I began to understand how my privilege as a white individual dictated my life experiences, I knew that I’d have to parent differently. While some of the troubling issues that students of color experience in schools may not affect my kids as severely because of the schools they attend, the important fact remains that statistically, children of color aren’t always treated the same as white children.

In addition to navigating race, my husband and I are both aware of how traditional education affects children by gender. Over time, girls tend to “shrink” in the classroom while boys are inadvertently taught that emotions and feelings aren’t to be expressed. We don’t want those really special qualities that make them who they are — my son’s kindness or my daughter’s confidence, for example — to lessen.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that we can talk all day long, and if we’re lucky our kids will retain a portion of what we say, but a lot of learning comes through our actions. So we choose our words carefully. We don’t single out descriptors for one child or the other. Both are strong, smart, funny, cute, interesting, loving, sweet, sensitive, kind, giving, serious…all of the things that people can be. Whether they’re expressing emotions and asserting themselves, they’re being who they are, not a “pushy girl” or a “sensitive boy.”

We buy books, toys and movies that features characters that reflect their appearances back to them. Hearing my son read a book and remark, “That boy has my eyes!” or my daughter happily point out, “Her hair is just like mine! I like it,” is significant.

Pink can be a boy’s favorite color and girls are just as strong as boys. Small, simple reminders go a long way. Today, my kids were playing Wii Bowling together.

“BOOM! You’re the lady!” my daughter exclaimed.

I looked up from my computer and smiled at her.

“What?” She asked. “I’m not going to say ‘you’re the man’ because ladies are just as good as men!”

After a brief, thoughtful pause, she added, “Maybe even better.”

So far, so good.

Me and my kids, Molley and Mattix.

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She’s a wife and an adoptive mom to kids who make her world go ’round. She’s an editor, writer, content curator, social media manager and sometimes blogger. She’s certain sarcasm is a language, so she’s totally bilingual. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The Wake-Up Call

My son, Kai, will be 2 in August. A few nights ago, he woke up at 2:17 a.m. yelling “Momma! Momma!”

I stumbled into his room. Snatched him out of his crib. Pulled him close. “It’s okay,” I whispered. “It’s okay.”

He gave me a pat pat pat on my face. Then I felt his little arm stretch upwards and his little face push backwards. “Whoooosh!” he said. “I’m Su-per-man! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Super Kai!

Uh huh. You couldn’t wait until it was light out to tell me that, kid?

It quickly became evident that I would not be going back to sleep. This was Super Kai, after all. We were up humming the Superman theme song, reading books, eating blackberries, pretending to fly.

That night, despite being totally exhausted, the mission of GoldieBlox was as clear as day to me.

See, the thing is, when I was a little girl, I wasn’t into sleep either. There were too many other things to do. Adventures to go on! Stories to read. Stories to write. Quests to dream up. Cleveland Indians games to watch. Baseball cards to collect (yes, girls like baseball. Some of us even know what OBP and RBI stands for. Wild!)

Oh, and I wanted to be Superman, too.

It had nothing to do with gender and everything to do with character and story. Superman? That guy is amazing and he can do amazing, wonderful things. He has incredible adventures. He has a strong moral compass. He deeply wants to help humanity. Did I mention the cape? Why wouldn’t boys AND girls want to be him? Why wouldn’t anyone?

And the real question is: Why aren’t there more girl characters that stir up imaginations so much that their fans wake up at 2:17 a.m. desperate to declare their identities?

Why aren’t there more female heroes who have their own amazing stories, powers, and motives? Why are the girls so often the sidekicks, or over-sexualized, or just plain lame? Why do girls have to live with these characters?

Why do the boys?

Why does Kai?

A friend of mine has a little boy and recently welcomed a baby girl. While reading books to her kids, she realized how few of her books have female leads. And how most of the lead characters who ARE female tend to be…animals. Huh. Are we so uncomfortable with girls at the center of the story that we have to make them puppies or ponies or pigs?

Our girls definitely deserve characters and stories where girls are the heroes. And you know what? So do our boys.

That’s where Goldie comes in.

And that’s why I’m here.

My family and I