Children are like twigs

When I was in middle school, the motto adorning our school crest read, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” It’s an adage that dates back to the 18th century, and serves to remind us that an individual’s early life experiences shape who he or she goes on to become as an adult.

My middle school wasn’t on to anything new: developmental psychologists and sports coaches have been emphasizing the importance of early childhood experiences for decades. But what is surprising is which experiences affect kids, and how seriously they impact a kid’s development.

Take the recent article by National Geographic, “How Today’s Toys May Be Harming Your Daughter.” It explores how toys are marketed along gender lines, with boy children more likely to play with toys like Legos, K’nex and puzzles. Playing with these toys is thought to help children develop a sense of spatial intelligence, a key component of math, science, and tech. Aside from missing out on the fun of building toy cities, girls are also losing out on the chance to develop the skills that are crucial for a career in STEM.

That’s why we created Linkitz, to give girls hands on experience with a toy that allows them to experiment, build, and put something together. Little girls deserve just as much STEM-spiration as little boys, and we think it starts in their toybox.

--Caroline Neel