STEM and STEAM activities are designed to teach kids by enabling them to utilize creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking. These critical competencies are believed to help foster a natural love of learning and problem-solving. It’s also believed STEM and STEAM learning will help prepare kids for a future where many jobs will utilize these skill sets. The Boolean Box is here to help introduce STEM to girls at an early age.
Boolean Girl is a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage girls to code, build, invent and animate. Boolean has offered special camps and programs geared toward developing young female minds, but now girls can experience all of this at home with the Boolean Box. The Boolean Box is a computer girls can build themselves. Through play, they can learn how to code, animate and build.
Everything needed to get started comes in the sturdy box that serves as storage when not in use. The box has everything from a keyboard and mouse to wires that help your child connect and engineer the hardware. The only thing parents need to do is set up an account at Boolean Girl.
The contents seemed complicated to me as a non-coding, non-engineering parent. I wanted to wait until I could sit down with my daughter and go over directions together. As it turns out, my help was unnecessary. My eight-year-old daughter, with help from her 12-year-old brother, had the keyboard and mouse connected to our computer monitor in no time. Once the hardware was connected, she began creating pictures and animating them on her own.
The Boolean Box is designed for children eight and older. While it’s targeted to girls — the keyboard and mouse are pink and white, as is the packaging — it’s also great for boys. My 12-year-old son was just as interested in getting involved.
Both of my children have had some exposure to STEM and STEAM activities at school, so I’m sure that helped them get everything set up. But I don’t think any previous STEM or STEAM experience is a must. As a parent, I’ve had no training and the directions were very easy to follow and there was plenty of support available on the website if you found yourself stuck.
The Boolean Box will definitely grow with my daughter. I think she’s interested in some of the more basic applications now because she’s younger. But I can see how the more she plays with it the more she’ll learn and become interested in more complex functions.
It’s a great activity to do together, too. Obviously, my kids enjoyed it together, but I think it will be something I can help her learn and grow with — I may accidentally learn something about coding myself.
Overall, the Boolean Box is a great way to introduce girls (or boys) to engineering, coding and animation. In a time where many parents are concerned about kids being too attached to devices, this is a “toy” that offers the technology kids love while challenging them to think and teaching them real skills.