I am constantly prowling Kickstarter for new products that I think might be good for my students. Lately, two STEM-related toys aimed particularly at girls have been on my radar.
The first, “iBesties,” only has 3 days left in its campaign as of today. They are very close to reaching their fundraising goal of $50,000. iBesties are dolls accompanied by books. The purpose of iBesties is to raise awareness of careers that currently employ very few women – especially those related to science and technology. Not every child likes to play with dolls, but iBesties look like a great alternative to Barbie for those who do. If you back iBesties on Kickstarter for $40, you will receive a doll and a book around April of 2016. Check out their Kickstarter site for more info here – but do it soon!
The second Kickstarter product that recently caught my attention is “Jewelbots.” Jewelbots are basically friendship bracelets, but they are wearables (short for wearable technology). The bracelets can be programmed using an app to do such things as light up when another person wearing the Jewelbot nears you, send Morse code messages to each other, or notify you when you receive a text message.
One characteristic of Jewelbots that intrigues me is the potential to program the jewelry using Arduino IDE. This opens up many more possibilities for the use of these deceptively simple bracelets – and might be an attractive way to motivate tweens and middle schoolers to learn more about programming.
With over $100,000 raised already, Jewelbots don’t need our backing to reach their $30,000 goal. However, you might want to pledge $59 just because you know someone who would be excited to receive one in March of 2016. The funding deadline is 8/7/15, but don’t wait too long!