What Are Little Girls Made Of?


FIrst Lego League

and blocks:

Building a Library

and Micro-Machines:

Rue and Her Micro-Machines

That’s what little girls are made of.

Lupe was invited to participate in an all-girls First Lego League team last fall. Nacho Man and I had never heard of it, but when we learned that it had to do with Legos, robots, computer programming, and biomedical engineering (the theme for last year’s challenge), we jumped on the opportunity.

The girls met two, sometimes three, nights a week to work on the challenge. Late nights, tricky computer programming, intense mathematical computations, and failed attempts to complete the tasks often led to a lot of frustration. But the girls stuck with it, which is an important science and life skill, and their feelings were transformed to complete euphoria when their little robot rolled across the board and executed a task flawlessly.

If you’ve never seen a First Lego League competition, check out some videos on YouTube. The competition is intense, with teams trying to make last-minute changes, robots that suddenly do or don’t cooperate, large crowds of spectators, a referee, a timer, and live, play-by-play announcers. It’s more dramatic than a sporting event. We’re grateful that Lupe was introduced to this at an early age. Our school district has teams at the high school level and those kids create some jaw-dropping robots. We hope she’ll choose to stick with it.

For Rue, blocks and Micro-Machines are right up there with Fancy Nancy and Polly Pockets. They have names and personalities. They need accessories and have great adventures. It’s so much fun to play with her. Whether a child is giving cars human qualities and life stories or constructing (and often reconstructing) buildings, she’s using her imagination. She’s also being innovative and thinking of new or better uses for everyday objects. It’s highly scientific and creative, whether dolls or cars are involved.

We bought a huge set of CitiBlocs after Rue found our Jenga game. It’s no longer a complete game and that’s alright. We currently have 350 Citiblocs and we often use the entire set in a building session.

City Under Construction

What makes Rue’s love of Micro-Machines even sweeter? They’re the same cars that Nacho Man played with as a boy. Thanks, Grandma, for holding onto these for all those years.

Do we hope that Lupe and Rue will grow up to become doctors, scientists, or engineers? Sure, if they’d like. But what would really make us happy is if they realize that they can become those professions. And if they decide to become artists or writers, the same set of skills–observation, question-asking, risk-taking, creativity, innovation, and collaboration–apply.

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