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We were sent a subscription box from https://www.girlsthatmake.com/ to check out. These subscription boxes are targeted at girls aged 12 and up to support a growing (and necessary) push to encourage girls to be more interested in STEM products. They also really stress that it’s not just for kids, and it’s something we discovered testing it out too.
For a little bit of background, I’m not a girl but I am a librarian that focuses on developing and teaching STEM programs to kids. I spend a lot of time working on getting girls engaged in STEM through my job so this is something I have personal investment in. Wires and LEDs? No problem.
To help alleviate my gender issue I enlisted a girl – my 10 year old daughter, to be precise. She was pretty excited, mostly because it was a subscription box and kids are on those things like glue.
We ended up getting the wearable sparkly bracelet. Cool!
Right out of the gate the two of us were pretty intimidated, not by the LEDs or circuitry, but by the fact that the project included conductive thread and a sewing needle. My 10 year old isn’t very girly and I certainly can’t sew very well which proved interesting.
So, I had her do as much work as I could, including gluing all the LEDs and circuit boards in place, then set out to sew the thing together.
I screwed it up.
Here’s the thing about STEM, Makerspace, and any of those buzzwords that equal experimenting with these types of projects: you’re going to make mistakes. There really wasn’t enough conductive thread in the kit to allow too many redos, so this could be an issue for some people. Thankfully you can buy more if you need to from places like Amazon.
The project took awhile, longer than I expected, which is a good thing if you’re paying for something like this.
The only criticism I can really give this is that it’s definitely targeted at typically feminine girls. Looking at their website, a lot of projects include sewing, so my daughter wouldn’t be very interested in subscribing. For a young lady, or even adult woman who’s interested in learning more about creating wearable technology, though, this could be a great gift.
If you subscribe you can get 12 months for a reduced rate. The website says that by the time you do all 12 projects you’ll be a pro and I can totally see how that can be. The instructions even included some advice on how to program your LEDs and expand your learning with the technology. It might be enough to spark the interest of girls in STEM, or at least show some typically “girly” girls how technology can apply to their interests too.
I will never not support subscription boxes as gifts!