Roominate Is A DIY Building Kit For Future Female Engineers

What comes first, the toys we put into our children’s hands or the interests and skills of our children who play with certain toys? Our children are influenced by everything around them. Music, television, books and toys shape at least part of who they become. Inspired by their childhood toys to become engineers, two women created Roominate, wired, design-it-yourself, building kits. Roominate is not only meant to feed into the curiosity of a young female engineer, but also to decrease the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. By developing and strengthening the skills needed for STEM fields, Roominate will also build the next generation of female innovators, doctors, and scientists.

Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen met and become friends at Stanford when they were both enrolled in the master’s engineering program. They knew less than 15% of women entering college would enroll in STEM fields. They also knew that most toys geared toward girls don’t provide them with the practice and skills needed to study science, technology, engineering or math once they get to college. So they put their engineering skills to work and designed Roominate, a building kit which allows kids—specifically girls—to build and wire their creations to move and light up.

Roominate kits come with parts to build rooms, furniture, stairs, cars, boats, a merry-go-round, fan, and anything else your daughter can think of. Wheels, axels, battery packs, motors, switches, and a screwdriver are also included in Roominate kits and are used to make your daughter’s creation come to life. Craft paper, which can be cut to size to decorate each creation, also comes with each set. Certain Roominate kits have a miniature Alice or Bettina doll with their pet dog and bunny doll. A few AAA batteries are the only thing you need to add.

Roominate offers Basic Roominate and Deluxe Roominate Kits, as well three different sized kits called the Roominate Studio, Chateau, and Estate. The Roominate Helicopter allows girls to create a helicopter, submarine or airplane. Sets offer various amounts of parts, depending on how much you want to spend and how big you want your child’s creation to be.

All kits offer building suggestions but are open-ended enough to allow kids to let their imaginations create anything they want. And all kits are compatible with each other. Activity guides and extra circuits and parts are available for purchase as well. Roominate is meant to be used by children six-years-old and up, though the manufacturer suggests it is appropriate for kids 6-12 years-old.

My daughter will be four soon, and I can’t wait to put a set of these into her hands. She loves to build and create with blocks and LEGOs and her imagination is limitless. I want her to keep exploring those traits with toys like Roominate, which will build her spatial awareness, problem solving abilities, and fine motor skills. She’ll even learn circuitry while she gains confidence through play and creativity.

I don’t know what my daughter will be when she grows up, but as a parent I want her to have every option and tool at her fingertips to develop the skills she will need. That includes toys that will spark or fuel her interest in STEM fields. Brooks and Chen hope Roominate will build the next generation of female innovators. I’m glad my daughter and other young engineers will benefit from the hope they have already created.

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