Where Bright Toys Began

I found myself in an engineering course and was the only woman of 30 students. Three weeks in, after I failed my first exam, my self-confidence was gone. I couldn’t keep up with my classmates. I no longer believed in my academic abilities. And after my first year, I wanted to quit. I didn’t belong.

I worked tirelessly to improve my logical thinking and spatial awareness skills – skills that seemed second nature to the men on my course. They seemed to ‘just get it.’ But what did they have that I didn’t? They learned logical thinking, problem-solving and spatial awareness through play as young boys.

Each birthday and Christmas, I opened Barbie doll after Barbie doll. While these were great for teaching me social skills, where were the toys to help me develop hands-on problem solving? Meanwhile, my brothers gleefully built roller coaster kits and played the newest video games. As a child, I saw those as boys’ toys and off limits to well-behaved girls. And there was the problem, a gender gap.

I spent the next four years of university in self-doubt, struggling to understand. I was ill-equipped and not ready for university. But I knew with an engineering degree, I could do anything, so I pushed through.

It was during my time in my engineering course that I became determined to ensure girls are prepared to pursue any career they choose. Girls shouldn’t be hindered because their toys lag in the development of hands-on problem-solving skills, spatial awareness, and logical thinking.

So now, I’m using Bright Toys to solve this problem that plagued me during my time at university. We’re helping girls gain confidence in their problem-solving skills from a young age, so that they’ll have more options later in life, while at the same time being a kids and having fun. And to show you, I mean serious business about having fun, here's a silly photo from the Make Believe - Imagining the Techonolgy of the Future event by Playful Leeds.