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LEGO Friends vs. LEGO Education: What’s the lesson here?


“Those aren’t real LEGO minifigs!” my son said, as he watched a commercial for the new LEGO Friends line. “What do you mean?” I asked. “They aren’t real minifigures. That’s not what LEGOs look like!” His brother shook his head in literal disbelief as he watched. “I know a lot of girls who [...]


Peggy Orenstein’s book CINDERELLA ATE MY DAUGHTER wasn’t the book I hoped it would be – it was better.

I was hoping she’d knock the marketing giant flat on its exploitative keister and that her book would make a strong and irrefutable case against Disney’s shameless and relentless marketing to young girls – opening parents’ [...]

Liv Girls and Moxie Girlz…move over Bratz

Yesterday I wrote about the new Moxie Girlz…today it is yet another way-too-cool doll line, Liv Girls. Liv Girls includes an online world that you can enter for only $19.99 (plus $9.99 for shipping and handling). These “four fun-loving teens who love to hang out together” (but, alas, are sold separately) come with a [...]

KEVA planks – creating fun for everyone!

I am a big fan of KEVA blocks. They are simple wooden planks – and their potential is limitless. Basically, KEVA planks are maple construction blocks, each precisely made to the same dimension. Construction toys are great in general, because they are never the same toy twice, but KEVA planks are the ultimate (in my [...]

What makes you happy?

Earlier this week on American Public Media’s Marketplace, I heard an excellent interview with James Gustave Speth, Dean of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. The ideas presented in the interview, Taking Stock: Rethinking Consumerism, support many of the concepts I have been writing about in Empowered by Play. Speth talks about over-consumption [...]

NY Times article, "Bringing Girls into the Game"

This was a great article in today’s NY Times about programs designed to switch up some of the deep gender divides on the playground and in sports. I felt that some of the posted comments missed the boat, so of course I had to add my two cents:

“After reading these responses, I am [...]

Gender-neutral toys: Good for your wallet and good for your kids

Visit the toy aisles today and you will see dazzling purple and pink displays dappled with sparkles – and decidedly darker aisles dappled with weapons. The difference between “boy” toys and “girl” toys seems never to have been more obvious – or more ludicrous. There is the “Red Giant Slash” action figure from the Fisher-Price [...]