Out of the Notebook and into the blog: Hows Toys Ruined our Career Choices

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hows Toys Ruined our Career Choices

When I was a little girl I would spend countless hours playing barbies and polly pockets, I would design little outfits out of leaves and twigs that I found in the woods and make huts for them out of branches and moss.  These were some of my first toys and my most memorable play experiences, and to this day I question if a better college path for me would have been to go to SCAD in Savannah Georgia for Fashion Design.

Research shows that the toys children grow up playing with influence the career path they choose.  Often Engineers will remember playing with legos or tinker toys when they were little, and fashion designers will have played with dolls and barbies.  Isn't that interesting?  How influential the toys we played with affect the rest of our lives, our careers?!

The toys that children play with when they are little, are shown to limit the career paths that they eventually choose between when they reach college.  Like I said earlier I played with polly pockets and barbies, and yes, I definitely considered going into fashion design.  The thought of being an Engineer never crossed my mind, what if I would have tinkered with legos and played with the GoldiBlox zipline girl instead of barbie dolls?  Might I have become a master at small engine repair like my brother is or an Engineer? 

I don't think it's bad for a girl to go into a women dominated field, such as fashion design, what I do this is bad is when girl haven't been exposed to the idea of being anything else.  All the choices need to be there.  Being an engineer or programmer should be a reasonable choice that she can consider.  

I feel that when we are little, we play play play.  Play with barbies, play with legos, play with tinker toys, and then we start school.  We don't play or explore, we do what we are told to do and play the sports that the school offers us.

And then we hit graduation.  Time to decide on our majors.  What are our interests?  What do we like to do?  The last time we really had our "own" interests was when we were playing with our toys as little girls and boys.  This directly reflects the career path we choose.

What if girls had engineer type toys like these GoldiBlox toys to play with when they are little and boys had design kits?  

What if kids continued being exposed to play and choices and unique experiences throughout their high school years?

What if high school graduates weren't expected to decide their life path the second they graduate from high school and could take a year to play and explore and discover themselves?

Would there be more female engineers in a world that is changing in this direction?  Would more guys feel like they can choose a design path?  This could be the beginning to the end of gender inequality.  

What toys did you play with when you are little?  Do they reflect your college major or career path?


  1. I think creative play is extremely important, I didn't grow up watching tv, or playing video games, I played outside until dark, I explored in the woods, I colored, drew pictures, played barbies and had good old fashioned fun. I definitely think that what children do can influence their future. Some kids are naturally drawn to specific areas, others need a creative environment to find where they 'fit'. Maybe having such a playful childhood is why I did daycare, so I could keep on playing!

  2. I'm not sure how or if the toys I played with as a child has influenced my career choice. I played with anything from Barbies, to softball, to DIY kits, to toys from my parents/grandparents' childhood. Maybe not being set on one specific type of toy made me open and a free thinker. Making me good for Social Work...

  3. I played with Legos, Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys, but I also had Barbies and made clothes for them. I wanted to be a forensic scientist when I went to college but ended up with an accounting degree. I still knit and crochet and make crafts as a hobby. I think toys do play a role in our futures.

  4. I think our social groups and media influenced me much more than my toys did. I love what Goldiblocks stands for and have them on my wishlist for my daughter. That being said I think toys are more of a symptom of the problem than the cause of it.

    1. That's an interesting point. I wonder if the dynamic will shift greatly for the current generation, considering almost every kid has an iPod or iPad these days? Do you think this is beneficial or no?


Hi Pretties - leave a comment and you'll forever have a place in my heart <3