From Hollywood movies to a plethora of apps, the appeal of STEM skills in the mainstream has never been greater. And when it comes to mainstream, few toys could ever top the semi-controversial Barbie doll—first introduced in 1959. While some argue that the blonde, plastic doll conveyed an unrealistic body image to girls, the latest model from toymaker Mattel eschews a pink convertible in favor of a laptop and a robotics lab.
Introduced this week through a collaboration with Tynker, a coding platform for kids, the Barbie® Robotics Engineer Doll presents a fundamental shift in how toymakers are speaking to 21st-century kids.
Instead of the typical high heels, purses, and other accessories that typically come with a Barbie doll, the Robotics Engineer includes “a purple laptop that shows a screenshot of her robotics project,” a robot, and a lab outfit complete with “a trendy graphic t-shirt and denim jacket, accessorized with protective goggles.”
And rather than playing house with the Ken doll, the Robotics Engineer doll encourages kids to code—with six free coding experiences from the Tynker platform included.
“Our mission is to empower youth to become the makers of tomorrow through coding, and the Barbie brand is an ideal partner to help us introduce programming to a large number of kids in a fun, engaging way,” says Tynker CEO Krishna Vedati. “It’s critical that all young learners have an opportunity to explore the possibilities available in STEM fields, and Tynker’s Barbie programming experience is a valuable tool to introduce kids of all ages to these concepts while building their coding skills.”
Starting at just $13.99, find the new Robotics Engineer Barbie for the future engineer in your life over at Mattel.