Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Goldie Blox "Zipline Action Figure" Set

I first noticed the Goldie Blox toys last holiday season at our local high-end toy store (Rainbow Toys).  This line offers themed building sets that are designed to teach young girls about basic engineering principles.  The sets typically include a small storybook featuring a spunky yellow-haired heroine named Goldie Blox.  Goldie's story will relate somehow to the theme of the construction set.  For example, in the "Goldie Blox and the Movie Machine" set, Goldie's book is about how the local movie theater has to deal with a broken projector--right before a big film festival event.  Goldie and her friends engineer an innovative solution to this crisis, and the accompanying building set allows real kids to construct a cardboard zoetrope movie machine.  My boys grew up with every kind of building set we could get our hands on, and so this is exactly the type of toy I would have bought when they were younger.

Although most of the Goldie Blox sets come with a building kit and a storybook, there's one set--"Zipline Action Figure"--that comes with a building set and a 6.5-inch articulated doll.  I figured that this gave me the perfect excuse to review a Goldie Blox toy here on the blog.  Sadly, though, when I inspected the sets up close at Rainbow Toys, the dolls looked poorly constructed for their $25 price, and the building pieces seemed scant.  So I walked away empty-handed.

However, the combination of building set and doll got the attention of a few other people in my life, too.  My father-in-law emailed me his first-ever suggestion for the blog by sending a picture of the Goldie Blox zip-line set.  Perhaps he was remembering the train track/Lego/paper cutout landscapes that used to take over entire rooms at our house, or the beloved K'Nex robot friends that hung from our ceiling because we ran out of room to store them elsewhere.  This recommendation meant a lot to me, and so I immediately bought the set (which was only $15.99 online).  However, for some reason I kept putting off the review.  I think maybe I was afraid that I wouldn't like the toy as much as I like the concept.  However, just a week ago, my friend Emma (who regularly sends me some of my best review tips) emailed me about this set, too, and so I put it at the top of my to-do list.  I want to thank Emma and John for motivating me to finally review this little rascal:

The Goldie Blox Zipline Action Figure, $15.99.
I should mention right off the bat that Goldie Blox is a Kickstarter-funded project that was started in 2012 by Debbie Sterling.  Ms. Sterling's mission was to "get girls building."  This mission was in response to the startling statistics detailing the low number of women in engineering (the Goldie Blox web page cites an 86-14% male-to-female split in this field).

Personally, I have never understood why young girls can't (don't?) play with the same toys that my sons played with--Legos, K'Nex, Mega Bloks, Quadrilla, etc.  I had such a blast building things with them: pinball machines, houses, stables, towns, ferris wheels, roller coasters, name it.  It never felt particularly gender-biased to me.  But the thing is, I didn't raise daughters and I don't watch current television commercials, so I'm probably missing big parts of the issue.  And anyway, the statistics speak for themselves: girls are avoiding science and math in a way that boys are not.  Cheers to Ms. Sterling for trying to do something about that.

Goldie's zip-line set comes in a very colorful cardboard box with a plastic window.  The decorations on this box remind me of the Lottie doll boxes:

The presentation is really cute, but you can see that the number of building pieces doesn't look very impressive.  I only see about ten things displayed next to Goldie.

There's a graphic of Goldie on the front of the box, and she's holding a sign that describes the engineering concept behind this set ("suspension").  The sign also says that the set comes with 30 pieces, so I think maybe there's more in this box than meet the eye.

At first glance, the Goldie doll looks very cute and definitely resembles her cartoon self.  She has a mischievous half-smile, bright green eyes, and neon yellow hair (which reminds me of a certain giant Monster High doll I know...).  She also has at least eight points of articulation that I can see:

In the upper right hand corner of the box, there's the Goldie Blox logo, which is a silhouette of a girl's head.  Underneath the logo, there's a crazy-looking flying squirrel...who looks like he's just smashed into the front of the box:

Build.  Play.  Fly!  Splat.
The back of the box has a different picture of Goldie (that's refreshing!) and an introduction to the zip-line toy--written in Goldie's words:

Here's a close-up of the text:

There's an effort in this introduction to emphasize words like "pulley," "suspension" and "angle."  This gave me hope that Goldie's building instructions would include some neat learning moments.

Here's a closer look at the picture of Goldie using her zip-line.  I love the gap in between her two front teeth.  I had one of those, too:

There are two smaller pictures at the bottom of the box--one of a little girl playing with the Goldie doll, and another of the Goldie cartoon enjoying some waffles with her dog:

Goldie's dog is named Nacho, by the way, and it says online that he "farts and drools, but knows his tools!"  That's just like my dogs...except they don't know anything about tools.  Or rules.

Even the sides of the box are decorated--with foliage, pictures of Goldie, and the web address for where more information about this toy line can be found:

I'm not sure whether or not I should take issue with the slogan "more than just a doll."  Goldie's zip-line set includes, literally, more than a doll...but to say more than just a doll?  Really?  Dolls are awesome.

The website is informative and interesting, with a shop, a background information page and a really nice blog.  The Bloxtown website does not have a ton of content yet, though.  It has a description of all the toys and some background information about Goldie, but that's about it.  However, there is a free App available and I took a few moments to check it out.

Here's the title screen (which doesn't quite fit the screen of my iPad for some reason...):

The App is based on the Goldie Blox Movie Machine set and story that I mentioned at the beginning of the review.  

There are three different sections to the App.  There's a "Watch" section that has a video about the day when the projector broke in Goldie's hometown.  There's also an "Awards" section that's available only through Game Center (which I don't have).  These two areas were disappointing, but the last feature, the "Make" section, is fantastic.  I had so much fun with this!

This game provides simple, self-explanatory tools that kids can use to construct their own zoetrope-style animation.  I made one with a blue egg cracking open:

The animations are limited to 12 screens, and each new screen shows a shadow of what was on the screen before it so that the pictures flow nicely from one to the next.  It reminds me of iStop Motion software.  

I used my finger to draw my pictures, but a stylus would make the process a lot more accurate.

Along the right side of the screen there are six different tools that can be used to make the movie extra fun.  These include brush style and size selection, color selection, and an assortment of pre-drawn pictures that can be "stamped" onto the screen:

Including several different views of Nacho the farting dog.
There also an eraser, a tool that repeats whatever was on the previous screen, and a way of adding personal photographs to the mix.

I just used the brush stroke and color tools to make my little movie.  Once all 12 screens are complete, the App plays them all together really fast to make a movie, like this:

I'll probably go back later today and make another movie.  It's a great little activity for people of all ages.

Inside Goldie's box was a cardboard backdrop, an instruction booklet...and a bag with many extra building pieces.  Hurrah!

Goldie was attached to a plastic support with several twisty metal wires.  The assortment of building pieces was actually sealed behind the plastic:

Goldie comes holding two small sections of pink cord--the handles for the zip-line.  She also comes with a plastic wrench and a tool belt.

The instructions for this set are all contained within a trifold pamphlet that is made out of high-quality card stock:

The instructions are set against a graph paper background and include a series of simple-looking and well-illustrated steps.

The back side of the pamphlet has the last page of the instructions and a list of pieces:

I like that the individual pieces are all given their correct names--like elbow joint, axle and washer.  That's a good approach.

Here's the bag of extra pieces:

The piece count still isn't super-impressive with this set, but it's certainly better than what I expected:

I'll build the zip-line a little bit later, but first let's take a look at the star of the show--Goldie Blox:

Goldie came out of her packaging still grabbing onto the zip-line handles:

The zip-line handles are held in place simply by the gripping shape of Goldie's hands--not by six plastic ties.  For once.  

Goldie's hands can also hold her little plastic wrench accessory:

Even though Goldie seems to hang on to the zip-line ties pretty well, they're also easy to slip out of her soft vinyl grasp.  

Here's Goldie on her own:

Goldie's clothes are all molded to her body--with the exception of the tool belt, which is a separate piece.

Goldie has yellow rooted hair with platinum highlights.  The texture of the hair is similar to the texture of Gooliope Jellinton's hair.  It's not silky-smooth or shiny, but feels more like mohair...and can look a little messy.

Goldie's wonky bright green eyes remind me a little of Disney Store doll eyes--especially Merida and Rapunzel's eyes.  They are very large and have a lot of white showing around the un-rimmed irises.  The eyes have a simple olive green iris pattern and a small round reflective dot:

My doll's right eye has a red paint defect just outside the pupil (it's barely noticeable in real life):

I really like Goldie's lopsided smile, cute freckles and raised eyebrow.  She is packed with personality for such a little doll--and especially for a doll that is basically an accessory for a line of building toys.

Goldie's yellow hair doesn't feel great, and brushing does not help a lot.  I've mentioned before that this poofy hair fiber is not my favorite, but I will admit that its impressive volume adds to Goldie's zany personality:

Here's a little peek at the rooting job on the back of Goldie's head:

The hair is rooted densely along the side part, but the rows get pretty wide in back.

I decided to tie Goldie's hair back into a ponytail, and...wait, what the...

Hello, ears!!
Look at her ears!

This girl has some serious clam shell ears.  I mean, the designers did not just stick a pair of bland little shrinking violet ears on this doll.  Her ears are fully capable of keeping up with the personality of the rest of the doll...and hearing conversations from across the room.

The ears paired with the wide-'n'-wonky green eyes are hysterically endearing to me:

Goldie is wearing molded lilac overalls and a gold striped tee shirt:

The overalls have some gold painted details, including buttons, stitching, and what looks like a lowercase "l" on the front pocket:

What does that stand for, though??
The tool belt is made out of vinyl and has a painted gold buckle that is in the shape of a capital "G:"

That letter makes a lot more sense.
The tool belt does not detach, but has to be slid off over Goldie's feet:

With the belt gone, it's easier to see the painted stitch detail along the sides of Goldie's overalls:

In addition to the golden buckle, the belt has some decorative pouches and two loops of vinyl for holding tools:

The belt looks like it should come apart at the front--right behind the buckle--but this seam is actually glued firmly in place:

I assumed that Goldie's wrench would fit into the loops of vinyl...

...and it does, but it's a pretty tight fit:

There we go.

So Goldie can carry her trusty wrench with her wherever she goes:

Goldie's red sneakers are also molded to her feet.  I didn't photograph this, but Goldie has holes in the bottoms of her shoes that apparently allow her to interact with some of the the other Goldie Blox building sets.

This doll's molded clothing makes her articulation visible all of time, but let's take a quick look at what she can do.  

Her body is made out of vinyl and she has nine points of articulation.  Her head spins around but she cannot look up or down at all:

Her soft vinyl arms are articulated at the shoulders and at the elbows.  Her shoulder joints have hinged rotation and so they can lift up and away from her body...

And also spin all of the way around:

The shoulder joints are quite difficult to rotate on my doll.  The vinyl in the arms is bendable, and so even though the torso is relatively firm, the softer arms stick and don't move smoothly.  The hinged movement at this joint is fine, though.

The elbows have simple hinged movement and can bend to about a 90 degree angle:

Something that struck me when I first saw these dolls in the store was how warped and unstable the elbow joints look:

Again, because the arms are made out of bendable vinyl, the stability of the hinge seems precarious.  Goldie's arms did not fall off during my review or while I was playing with her, but at the very end of the review, I pulled the vinyl around the hinge pin apart and was able to very easily detach the lower arm.  I was also able to (somewhat less easily) put the arm back on.

This would be a definite area of concern for me if I was buying this toy for a younger child...but I do love articulated elbows.

Another issue with my doll's arms is that the pink zip-line cords stained her wrists and hands pretty badly:

Rope burn.
Goldie has very solid hinged hip joints that allow her to sit on the ground:

But she can't quite do full front-to-back splits:

She also has simple hinged movement in her knees:

Goldie's lower legs are also made out of bendable vinyl, but because these limbs are thicker than her arms, the joint does not seem quite as unstable.

Both sides of the knee joint are vinyl, but the joint pin itself is hard plastic (this is true in the arms as well).

My doll has some pale paint markings on the lower part of her leg--presumably from the lighter purple paint of the pant cuffs:

Goldie's hinged knees allow her to sit in a chair:

But her legs don't bend upwards enough at the hip for her to flex her knees while she's sitting on the ground:

She can strike (and balance in) a few simple natural walking poses, though:

Goldie is 6.5 inches tall.  To put that in some context, here she is next to a few of my other small dolls:

Left to right: Barbie Chelsea, American Girl Kit, Goldie Blox, Travel Friends India (back), LPS mini Blythe (front), Disney Store mini Elsa and Moxie Girlz Friends mini.
She pairs reasonably well with the new mini Disney Store dolls and could make a cute (though skinny) older sister for them.

I was really excited to get a closer look at the construction and engineering element of Goldie's Zipline Action Figure set.  Because this review happened to coincide with a gorgeous warm weekend here in Maine, I decided to do the building and zipping outdoors.

I spread out a white towel and spilled all of the zip-line building pieces onto a plate.  

Goldie got straight to work sorting through the pieces...although it looks more like she's getting ready for a huge picnic feast:

On top of my zip-line, all covered with t-joints....
Eventually, Goldie got everything organized and we were ready to begin!

Here's a look at all of the small plastic pieces:

There were four yellow wheels:

Two super-strong suction cups:

Four each of the elbow connectors and t-joints:

And a bunch of washers and purple axels:

All pieces accounted for.
Here's the first page of the directions:

This step involves building the main part of the zip-line chassis. Chassis is a good word to introduce (this is analogous to a human skeleton, and is defined as the internal framework of a manmade structure).  However, Goldie's additional commentary only says that at first she didn't make the chassis strong enough to hold her weight.  That's not a super-interesting fact.

Anyway, I quickly built the first step and found the pieces very sturdy and easy to put together:

It's neat that the Goldie Blox logo is stamped onto some of the tiny pieces:

The second step involved attaching the chassis crossbeams and washers.  This step pretty much had to be combined with the third step, which was to attach the wheels.

Goldie adds here that washers act to reduce the friction in this system so that the wheels can spin faster.  That's a great fact.

The part I skimmed over was that the "two pieces of the wheel ends" have to be attached.  I was wondering why there were four wheels when I only needed two.  RTFM, Emily.

And two become one.
Here's the completed structure after step 3:

The fourth step involved building the handles of the zip-line:

Goldie's commentary here is that "pulleys are basically wheels and axles.  They'll help the cable to slide smoothly."  What?  I mean, I get what she is saying, but now I'm confused about pulleys in general.  They're just wheels and axles?

I did some quick reading and here's what I came up with: a pulley is a simple machine that consists of a rope and a grooved wheel.  The rope gets pulled to move over the wheel--hence, I suppose, the name pull-ey.  However it seems that the wheel by itself can also be called a pulley, in which case the simple machine would be called a "rope and pulley system" or a "block and tackle."

A rope and pulley system.
Pulley systems are defined as simple machines because they change the direction or strength of a force and make work easier for humans.  For example, in the picture above, the pulley is being used to change the direction of the force necessary to lift the weight.  You can pull down to get the weight to lift up.

The way I understand it, Goldie's zip-line is not a pulley system because the rope doesn't move.  This toy deals more with the physics of wheels, inclined planes, and potential and kinetic energy.  Sadly, the booklet doesn't get into any of this--nor do I see how suspension (mentioned on the front of the box) is a big idea here.  What does that even mean?  Like suspended in mid air?  Or like the suspension of a car?  Sigh.  I realize that the main purpose of this toy is to "get girls to build," but throwing in a little introductory physics is never wrong.

In any case, I quickly assembled Goldie's zip-line handles.  I like the design of the cord on these handles.  One end of the cord has a plastic bead to stop Goldie's hands from slipping off, but the other end of the cord has this little plastic fitting:

This thing is magical.  It stops the end of the cord from fraying, makes it easy to string the cord through small openings (like the ones on t-joints...) and it has a flange that prevents the cord from slipping back through wherever it was strung:

This gadget made the assembly of the handles extremely simple.  All I had to do was string the cord through the t-joints...and that was it.

And those handles stay in place, too.

The last page of the directions says to attach a suction cup to one end of the long cord and then tie the other end of the cord to something at a lower height:

I ended up just tying both ends of the cord to something and not using the suction cups at all.  If I had been indoors, I probably would have used at least one of the suction cups.  They seem really strong.

Here's my crude set-up:

The wheels have rims that rest on either side of the cord to keep the chassis in place, and Goldie's hands grip the ends of the handles to keep her in place:

She doesn't look at all scared.

Here's the first run--watch closely to see that one of the wheels jumps off the cord track almost immediately...but the zip-line continues on without a glitch.  Also, Goldie manages to hang on (if only with one hand) even after she smashes into the picket fence:

I'm fine!  I'm fine!
During the second run, both wheels stayed in place on the cord, but this reduced the friction on the cord and sent Goldie plowing into the fence with extra much so that she couldn't hang on:

Impact: the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another.
Huge tangent, but I thought about our friend Kayleigh a lot during this review (and not just because she was a guest reviewer almost exactly a year ago today...).  Look at the visitors we have staying in our yard this summer:

We're babysitting this hive for a friend because apparently the other hives were attacking this group of bees and killing them off.  They're like the underdog bees.  

It's fun to have bees around, and we're learning a lot.  For example, if you move a hive, it has to be moved less than two inches or more than two miles.  More than two inches disrupts the animals' navigation memory, and less than two miles keeps them in their previous foraging territory (which was hostile territory in the case of these underdog bees).  

They're super-cute, but I don't get too close:

Anyway, I tied Goldie's zip-line in another location, trying to make the incline on the cord a little less steep so that she wouldn't have a crash landing:

She's all ready to try again--this girl is fearless!

The new set-up definitely had a better result, with Goldie slowing down until she stopped gracefully at the end of the line:

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy to build and fun to use this set was.  I had a great time outside trying Goldie's zip-line in a bunch of different locations.  I can picture kids spending an entire afternoon testing out different set-ups, or even building forts and other tall structures from which Goldie could catapult herself.

I have read some reviews online suggesting that some Goldie doll's hands do not grip the cord handles well enough to survive a zip-line ride, but I did not encounter this problem with my Goldie at all.  I will say, though, that if my Goldie hadn't gripped the handles as well as she did, it would have been really, really frustrating.

Here are a few more pictures of Goldie, back indoors after her big adventure:

The zip-line structure stayed together all through the review and seems very sturdy:

Goldie's hair is best kept up in a ponytail for her zip-line runs, but I took it down for the last few pictures:

Bottom line?  I adored the idea behind the Goldie Blox line from the very first moment I saw the toys in the store.  Building sets designed to encourage young girls to feel at home with engineering and science?  That's all good.  However, the high price, low building piece count, and dubious doll quality in this particular set made it hard for me to jump in and take a closer look.

Fortunately, a few of my initial concerns were eliminated at the very beginning of the review.  First of all, I paid only $16 for this set, so the price has come down considerably since last year.  Second, there are more building pieces in the box than you can see in the display.  This set has thirty pieces...which is admittedly small for a construction set, but larger than the ten pieces I thought it had.  My last concern was about the stability of Goldie's construction.  Her elbow joints, in particular, looked very warped and unstable in the box.  While I still have concerns about the long-term durability of this part of the doll (and her shoulder joints are really hard to move...) I actually had no trouble with the arms staying together during my review--and you saw some of the crash landings Goldie suffered on her zip-line.

In addition to my complaints about Goldie's arms, I have a few other small criticisms of this toy.  Goldie's hair is not my favorite texture.  It puffs out all of the time, feels a little rough at the ends, and tends to shed when I brush it.  On the other hand, the unkempt drama of this hair certainly adds to Goldie's unique personality.  The other issue I have with this toy is that it falls short of offering a really nice summary of some basic physics and engineering concepts.  I don't think that's an essential element--getting kids to build is the primary goal of the toy--but because there's an instruction booklet that is well-suited to delivering little educational tidbits, I wish it had been done more thoroughly and effectively.  Even if kids don't have the ability or patience to read through this kind of text, it would be a great resource for parents who want to inform themselves in order to answer their child's inevitable questions.  The last criticism I have is that you can only really build one thing with this set.  The zip-line is fun, but if the purpose of a toy is to get kids to build, the building should continue past the first afternoon that the toy comes home.

Aside from her hair texture and arm issues, the little Goldie doll is great.  Her goofy eyes, huge ears, sly grin and wild yellow hair combine to make an endearing little rascal of a character.  I can totally picture finding her on the kitchen floor some early morning with coffee maker or toaster parts strewn all around her...that wrench in her hand and that smile on her face.  And there's no way I could ever be mad.  She's original, for sure, and that's a great example for kids.  I also like her zip-line kit.  The parts are sturdy and easy to put together.  Once assembled, the zip-line structure stays together and does what it should.  The zip-line cord is long and tough and could be set up in a variety of different ways.  Everything about building and playing with this toy was easier than I anticipated.  I also want to re-iterate that the Goldie Blox movie-making App was really fun and definitely worth a visit.  My kids would have spent hours on this when they were a little younger...and I might spend a few more hours on it even at my age.

I actually think that what this toy does best is something that it doesn't advertise or mention at all.  Because the zip-line assembly is so quick and because the results vary from set-up to set-up, the whole toy invites experimentation.  How does Goldie slide differently if the rope is arranged on a steep incline?  On a shallow incline?  If the cord is flat?  How about if the cord is tied tightly versus being left a little droopy?  Investigation and curiosity are at the heart of scientific thinking, and this toy does a great job of encouraging both.  For that reason above all, I really love Goldie Blox and her zip-line building kit.  Well...that and the fact that she's the only female doll I know who comes with a wrench as her only accessory:

You go, girl!


  1. Ooh, she is so cute! ive been eyeing her on amazon for a while, trying to decide if I should get her or not, I think ill get her, I think the whole zip line idea is really cute. And im not sure if your interested or not, but there have been a couple of leaked images of the 2015 bratz dolls on youtube, and they seem to be more 'cutesy' versions of the older, more edgy dolls. I'm kind of on the fence about them, but I think you may probably like them, heres a link to the video

    1. Oooh, I don't know about those Bratz dolls! The face proportions look odd to me, but it's so hard to tell from the few pictures that are out. I love Cloe's pink hair. :) I don't like the box art, though. Looks like a store jumped the gun a little with their release?? Uh, oh! Thank you so much for sharing the video! I have been so curious about these!!

      Goldie is really fun! Makes me want a full-sized zip-line. :) If you decide to buy her, I hope you get a doll with a nice strong hand grip!

    2. I'd love to see a review of the Jade doll with the flocked hairstyle, she looks super interesting!

  2. Oh, she's cute, and what a great concept! Pretty much everything about this doll made my inner child happy, but mostly because she's pretty much a human version of my favorite female engineer growing up, Gadget Hackwrench! It's great to see girls being encouraged to think and build once more!

    1. That's so cool! I love the idea of Gadget Hackwrench! She reminds me of both Goldie Blox and of the new Monster High Mouscedes doll! ;D

  3. What a fun concept! It would definitely encourage kids to try her zip line setup outdoors!

    1. I totally agree. I think the zip line is extra fun outdoors! I wanted to have Goldie zipping over streams and other obstacles, but ran out of time. So many possibilities!

  4. I would have loved this toy as a kid. I love everything with moving wheels. Some of my favourite toys were a mechanical crocodile, a doll pram and a building block that made 2 planes and 3 cars. I enjoyed your videos very much, including the chick animation. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, BlackKitty! Wait--you had a mechanical crocodile as a kid? I hope you still have it because that sounds amazing. I had a mechanical chicken. Perhaps like you feel about wheels the way I feel about articulation? Something about movement really fuels the imagination and helps toys come alive! :)

  5. I saw this set in Meijer, but nowhere else. (And it's the only set I've seen.) I thought the doll was very cute, in that goofy way that I have always liked, and the idea of a zip line seemed like fun. I would have jumped on this set when my kids were little, although I'm sure their favourite dolls would have tied Goldie up and stuffed her in a closet so they could use the zip line themselves! I have 2 girls and a boy, and they all loved Duplos and Legos. Emma also had K'nex that she and Fuzzy played with. They somehow got forgotten about when Ivy was little. I always encouraged the building toys because not only did they love them, but it also helps with all sorts of areas of learning. My dad did hate to see Emma arrive with that bucket of Duplos though. He could just see himself picking them up over and over ...

    1. Hah! Poor Goldie! That image made me snort my coffee. There are a few dolls around here who want to try out that zip line, too, so I know exactly what you mean! ;)

      I agree about the building toys 100%. I don't even think I appreciated their learning benefits when I was a young parent, but I knew it was something we could all enjoy together--even when the kids were pretty little. Your dad has a point, though...the clean-up was never the best part!!

  6. I really enjoyed your review especially your reaction to her ears :-) I like the expression on her face and those parabolic antenna ears! I think this is a very fun toy.and a step in the right direction toward making science fun and interesting for girls. Thanks for the vidoes. They really enhanced the review.

    1. Parabolic antennae ears! Yes! I literally said, "HELLO!" and started giggling when I pulled her hair back for the first time. Never saw those coming.

      I wish I understood the problems and obstacles surrounding girls in science these days a little better, but it is nice to see parents and toy makers out there trying to make a difference...and hopefully teachers, too. I'll add that I never noticed any such gender bias in my biology students. I've had outstanding young scientists of both genders over the years!

  7. Look at that snarky, sassy girl. i love this idea of inspiring little girls to build and create. Great idea to incorporate a zip line as I think kids would love to watch her zoom. It would be great if parents of little boys also got this to teach early on that there doesn't have to be a gender when it comes to building fun things. :)

    1. Yes, indeed, Farrah! Excellent point. This sassy little gal would be a wonderful companion for any young boy, too!

  8. Wow, those ears are really something unexpected!

    I haven't come across this line before, so this was interesting to see - I was tempted to grumble about how once upon a time lego and contrux and K'nex were equally marketed at boys and girls, but as I read on, I think it's actually a charming set. And as Farrah Lily said, it would be great if parents picked this up for their sons as well as their daughters!

    1. Absolutely. I am all in favor of toys being gender neutral...and totally agree that this toy falls into that category! Extra props to the Goldie Blox company for making a toy geared towards girls that does not exclude boys. I hope people read your and Farrah's comments because I think this is a really excellent and important point!

  9. This is such a great idea! Thanks for reviewing this line. :) Goldie is adorable, and I love the idea of introducing basic engineering and physics concepts through play. I might have had more interest in Physics in high school if there had been a doll involved. ;)

    My middle daughter just asked her grandpa to help her make a pulley a week ago, so this would be right up her alley. :)

    Great review, as usual! :D

    1. I hear you, beastsbelle! I might not have almost failed physics in college if there had been dolls (or horses) involved...

      That sounds like a very fun pulley project with grandpa! That kind of project trumps any toy, if you ask me! And you know how much I love toys. :)

  10. I've had my own Goldie doll for close to a year now, and she's adorable- I totally agree with you that her spunky personality really comes though, especially for a relatively small doll. Unfortunately, my zip line didn't work at all- Goldie would hang onto the handles, but the pulley system wouldn't grip or stay on the zipline at all, and the suction cups refused to stick to any surface! Maybe they've improved upon that now, or I just got a faulty set. Honestly, though, I thought Goldie herself made up for the lack of zip-lining.

    1. Oh, no! Maybe the suction cups are bad--I actually didn't use mine at all because it seemed easier to just tie the cord to trees, etc. I can imagine that it would be really discouraging for anyone to build this set and then not be able to do any zipping! But Goldie really is a cutie, isn't she? Too bad she can't come to life and use her engineering skills to fix that zip line!

      Thank you for sharing this different experience, Rose!

  11. Having been a girl myself, and having two sisters, two daughters, two sisters-in-law, and three nieces, I can say that my personal experiences line up with the idea that girls are just very often different from boys, and building is not always their thing. Very unPC to say, but there it is. Speaking to my daughters especially, Daddy had thousands of pieces of LEGO lying around the entire time they were growing up. We even had the eldest listen to the tumbling of LEGO blocks in utero. :) They received their own sets, from Primo to Duplo to LEGO, as girls. But the building that they did was always spending time with Daddy. Neither of them were inspired to do it on their own. Youngest daughter built a scale model of the Arc De Triomphe out of LEGO for seventh grade math class, but hasn't done any building since, although she's really taken to playing in the male-dominated world of tabletop roleplaying games, and has grown to hold her own nicely.

    Daddy also has a garage full of woodworking equipment and tools, but no interest there either.

    We are encouraging the youngest to look into a STEM career, since she's been outstanding in her high school Honors math and science courses, and also tested advanced in state testing. But right now she has a love for dance that outweighs any *love* she has for math and science.

    What I'm trying to say with this blog-long comment, is that there will be some girls who will be encouraged to start building things when they receive this doll. I'd caution against the idea that giving girls the "right" toys will necessarily lead to an explosion of females in STEM fields.

    1. Hi Barb! Yeah--talk about male-dominated activities!! Engineering can't hold a candle to roleplaying games. ;) Good for your daughter that she doesn't feel intimidated by that fun community. That's awesome!

      I totally hear what you're saying about the presence of building toys not necessarily creating passionate young engineers. I think we've chatted about this before and I, too, have a child who grew up surrounded by Lego yet never developed any kind of independent interest in building (just the stories that went with the completed structures). However--and I'm really just thinking of this in the moment--even though the Legos in your house didn't make your girls avid builders, could that activity with Daddy have contributed to their success in STEM at school? Changed the way they think about some things? Helped their spatial reasoning? Built different neuron connections? I don't know. It's really interesting to think about. To me, the empowerment and confidence that come with understanding STEM subjects the way your daughter does should be a big part of the goal--not simply putting more women in engineering.

      Another part of the puzzle is that although women might be outnumbered by men in engineering and computer science, the opposite is often true in the life sciences (biology, ecology, medicine, etc.). That seems ok to me, but then again...I'm a biologist. ;)

    2. LEGO may very well have helped with some parts of their development, it's true. We have so many talents in different parts of our joined families, that my daughters were able to get science stuff, as well as reading and art and music. I think all kids should get a well-rounded exposure to different things, and this toy definitely fits in. I think maybe I just don't like seeing toys as anything more than... toys. Once it's in a child's hands, it will get shaped towards each child's temperament anyway.

      I'm glad you see just understanding STEM subjects itself as a good thing. Youngest daughter certainly has enjoyed the times this past year when she's been the only one in her class to be able to solve an algebra problem. :)

      Humans are indeed complicated creatures, aren't we?

    3. Barb, you touched every so slightly on a concern I have, about giving girls the "right" toys being the way to encourage STEM interests. I'm concerned that we've reached a point in society when girls liking stereotypical girly things are discouraged in favor of STEM-specific products. Girls who like pretty dresses are discouraged because oh, that's superficial and shallow. Better steer them toward Goldie Blox! Yet fashion involves a hell of a lot more math than non-designers realize. How to figure out the circumference of a circle when you only have the radius, how to figure out what shape you even need in what sizes to get the 3D shape in the size you need, etc. My 5-year-old can tell you the difference between a rhombus and a trapezoid because she sews with me (I'm a fashion designer who took a leave of absence from my business to go into the tech industry for a while). We can really better help girls learn to love STEM by relating it to the things that already interest them instead of tossing the makeup and telling them to play with these certain toys.

      One of my daughter's favorite toys is one of those handheld cheese graters without the spinning part. The big part without the grater has been so many different things. Kids really will learn through their normal play. Not everything should need to be directed learning. So much of it happens through normal play. I remember playing with those huge wooden cable spools for hours! It was everything from a table to something to balance on while spinning (back when getting bumps and bruises was a normal part of childhood instead of something to call CPS over), and I learned a TON. My daughter learns tons through her normal, undirected play.

      By the way, actual engineers aren't on board with these dolls since real-world kids just plain aren't getting much out of them, and the kits don't work together, which really limits what can even be done with them. Just google "engineer concerns about goldie box." This is pretty good article summing up concerns:

  12. Darn it! Now I'm going to have to go out and get one of these little darlings! ;)

  13. Thank you for introducing this toy line to me. I like the idea of building something your doll can interact with and zip lines are great ;) I was always drawn to Legos as a child (the new Elves sets look interesting) but any toy that incourages creativity is great in my book. Thanks again for another wonderful review.

    1. Pretty much every toy encourages creativity. :)

  14. I can see Goldie and her zip line becoming a feature of many imaginative play sessions, she's got such a good gimmick! Be it dolls going to an adventurous survival camp, or a super hero zipping in to save the day. I like how effort is put in to show that Goldie makes mistakes and learns from them. I imagine that is a crucial part of the many trials associated with testing mechanics. It is quite likely that many kids will set it up wrong the first few times, and it's really good that that is bring normalised.

  15. She is adorable! I love your review! This is a great idea! I have to admit when I was little I wanted Legos and my parents wouldn't get them for me, but I did have Lincoln Logs. Plus my friends and I would play Legos if they or their brothers had them. Sadly, they were much more generic back in the day and while many think we have been trying to defuse gender stereotypes we've added to them by segregating sets.

    So I am thrilled to see Goldie Blox and here what she is up to. She's cute and inquisitive and mechanically inclined! LOVE it!

  16. Well, it's Kayleigh again. I've been busy lately, and I actually helped cut some bees out of a cabin on the 4th. It was exhausting, but we ended up with a lot of honey. And I just real that I should pick up writing for my blog again. But great review as always!

  17. What a charmer . Yet another one to add to my shopping list :P . I was wondering if you have seen the new "projectMC2" dolls . At first glance I thought the lib girls where making a come back like some other lines this summer .

  18. Even tho she has molded on clothes it would have been nice if you tried on some dresses anyways.

  19. Cute toy! I'm surprised LEGO is often said to be a "boy's toy". Me, some of my fondest childhood memories are playing LEGOs with my sister and engineer father. We didn't have the sets complex dragon/castle/whatever sets they have out now, but we did have his old assorted sets from the 70s(?), and in my humble opinion, they were even better because there was no one telling us what to build. Admittedly, I was a horse-obsessed (still am) little girl, so most of my creations were stables or arenas, but I still built.