I first heard the story about Girltivity a few months ago. Umhlanga based mom Romona Mahadeo and her young daughter Kiara had developed a subscription box that was designed for girls between the ages of 3 and 12. They called is the subscription ‘STEAMED UP’ box and designed it specifically to make Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics more interesting to young girls. According to UNESCO women make up only 23% of those working in STEM fields. There’s various discussions about WHY this is but today I want to rather focus on the beauty that is the Girltivity box. When I first read the story of Kiara and Romona I was intrigued. I asked if I could be sent the box to take a look and I was pleasantly surprised.
It’s a beautifully illustrated box on the outside and even more delightful on the inside. It’s filled with bright colours and animations. The idea behind the box and the name “STEAMED UP” is to share fun activities around Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, Entrepreneurship, Design, Understanding and Practice (clever little acronym there, if you’re paying attention). Each box includes a 20 page Girltivity activity book which highlights a female role model and her unique story. There are then 10 to 15 hands on activities for the girls to work through. The box costs R425 once off or you can sign up for a subscription. The price is completely worth it. There is also a more cost effective digital subscription box filled with activities you can do on your computer or tablet. If you want to test out the digital subscription, Girltivity is offering a free digital download that you can try here. I’ve also done an interview with the founders, which you can read here:
I was somewhat overwhelmed by how much stuff came in the box. You get a note for parents explaining the box and then a guide on what is available. The box, on purchase, says you get four activities, but on opening the box there is SO MUCH more. Let me break down exactly what is available:
A note explaining what is in the box and a parent card.
A beautifully illustrated booklet sharing the story of Ada Lovelace and explaining how to do the various activities.
A fun sticker sheet
A photo frame/mood board type frame to add your “future me” picture to.
A certificate your parents can fill out on completing the box.
An old school wooden abacus which had me right back in grade 1. I also love that this was included.
All the necessary pieces for an Algorithm Game including the cards (that you cut out) and the board
All the print outs needed for the “build your own computer” activity.
A Tool kit bag with the bits and pieces you need
3 separately packed and labelled bags for each activity.
3 Golden tickets to gift to friends for rewards or to use as a discount voucher on your next purchase
SO. MANY. THINGS
There’s a couple of things I need to highlight: the items in the box are really well made. The illustrations are gorgeous and the quality is fantastic. This isn’t a home printed job. You can see a lot of effort and thought has gone in to each box. A big stand out for me was that you don’t even need data to enjoy the STEM box – this is a biggie. You won’t need to go online, connect to any devices or utilise anything other than what you get in the box. That means you can gift this to a young girl who doesn’t have access to a computer and they can still learn and enjoy all the activities. Again, I cannot stress this enough, too often we link STEM with devices and the internet. This box allows a way to grow a love for maths, science and computing without cutting out a host of young girls who might not be in a privileged position to access the material.
I love the feminine touch to the activities, like the Binary code bracelet. The ideas are clever and fresh. While they focus on STEM subjects they also encourage creativity, fine motor skills and crafting. There are various boxes available. This one had a coding theme but there is also the Fearless Teacher box featuring Malala Yousafzai, the Helpful Environmentalist profiling Wangari Maathai and the Space Adventure Box which teaches girls a bit more about Valentina Tereshkova and Mae Jemison. The women featured are trailblazers, diverse and speak to all young girls.
This box was brilliant. I wish something like this existed when I was younger. I cannot sing its praises enough. The amount of thought, detail and love that has gone in to it is so impressive. I also think it really is value for money. It will keep your little ones busy for hours. During lock down this is an ideal educational “toy”.
You can order the box online and, like I mentioned before, if you have internet access and money is a bit tight – there are online activity box subscriptions available too.
DISCLOSURE: I was sent a Girltivity box to review.
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