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Family Matters

Gift Guide for the Modern Girl

November 1st, 2015

By Jennifer Lavallee

As the gift-giving season looms nearer, we are all starting to feel that pressure—you know the kind, it’s that little voice in the back of your mind getting louder and louder, telling you (in a slightly panicked voice), “okay, you really need to get on this, you better start shopping soon!”  It’s usually followed up with a, “OMG, I have no idea what to get them this year!”

There are so many options out there when it comes to buying a gift for your kids. It can be overwhelming to find something they actually want, that’s not too expensive, and that’s still in stock.

Beyond the pink

So, you want to find that perfect gift (and quickly) but just stop for a moment and consider this: if you chose mindfully, the gift you buy for your child, especially your girls, can reflect a really important message, one that will help empower her to think beyond the pink.

Girls today—modern girls—don’t have to be limited to traditional “girl toys”. Of course, if the girl in your life loves these types of toys there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with a modern girl who can rock a Barbie and Star Wars’ Hans Solo. Even though she might love princesses, she is just as excited about ninjas as well. Girls should feel empowered to do and be anything they want and, as supporters of our modern girls, we can make an impact by our choices as gift-givers during the holiday season.

Gift ideas for the modern girl

Engineering Toy

Goldie Blox

Goldie Blox is awesome because she is a doll that puts a twist on the most famous “girl toy” out there, the Barbie doll. Goldie actually looks like a kid. She is dressed in clothing that you would see a kid wear and, most importantly, she is valued for her brains more so than what she looks like.

Depending on which kit you buy, Goldie comes with materials that will help your girl to start thinking like an engineer: wheels, axels, hinges, levers, pulleys, and gears. The modern girl will love this because she is encouraged to use logic to build some really cool contraptions. Goldie is great because she is a positive role model that girls can identify with and she gives them the opportunity to play engineer, which will boost confidence as they practice their problem solving skills.

In the Edmonton region, you can buy Goldie Blox at stores such as: Mastermind Toys, Chapters, Toys R Us, or on-line.

Imagination Play

Mapelea Girls or American Girl Dolls

Both the Mapelea Girls and American Girl dolls play off the same idea: they are 18-inch dolls that help educate girls on different periods of history and/or regions of Canada and the US (respectively). Both brands of doll have realistic, girl-like features and are available in a wide selection that reflect diverse cultures.

Helping to encourage healthy lifestyles, being active, creativity, and leadership, Mapelea Girls and American Girl dolls offer a lot of fun accessories that are great for imagination play; additionally they also have chapter books and movies starring the characters of their featured dolls.  Like Goldie Blox, most Mapelea Girls and American Girl dolls have elaborate back stories that portray girls as  the role models (versus adults); this is meant to teach kids about real life situations they may face and how someone their own age has overcome challenges.

You can buy Mapelea Girls and American Girl dolls online only.

Logic Toy


LEGO has been around for over 80 years and for good reason. It’s awe-inspiring to watch how kids can come up with complex things out of these simple little blocks. It’s not surprising studies have shown that playing with LEGO is one way to help girls foster a love for math and science.

Although there is a specific brand of LEGO that is marketed towards girls, called LEGO Friends, there are so many Lego sets out there for a modern girl—you don’t have to be limited to picking the pink LEGO. Don’t be scared to opt for a themed set such as: Minecraft (kids are crazy for anything Minecraft), star wars, super hero, or any other kind the girl in your life doesn’t already have (let her build ships, houses, rockets, you name it)—you honestly can’t go wrong with some cool LEGO.

In the Edmonton region, you can buy LEGO at stores such as: the Lego Store, Walmart, Superstore, Toys R Us, Education Station, Mastermind Toys, and Laugh n’ Learn.

Being Active

Skateboards or Scooters

In the era of iPads and 24HR-a-day cartoon channels, getting kids a gift that will encourage them to go outside and be active is really important and an all-around good idea. Girls who skateboard and ride scooters are one of the fastest growing demographics in action sports today. With groups like skateboarding leagues popping up all over, this sport can teach girls a lesson in confidence and be a fun way to get them out and moving while learning agility.

I know what you’re thinking…in Edmonton, with our cold winters and mountains of snow, a gift that is meant to be used outside is not always top of mind during the holidays. But remember, even though kids may not be able to use their new skateboard or scooter right now, come first melt, this gift will no doubt be a huge hit.  Also keep in mind, there are indoor skate parks available for those who don’t want to wait for warmer days.

In the Edmonton region, you can buy skateboards and scooters at stores such as: Toys R Us, Wheelz, Easy Rider, Canadian Tire, and United Cycle.

Science Toys

Science Experiment Kits

There are tons of cool science kits out there. What better way to help your modern girl explore her love of science (or discover it!) than with a kit that is knock-her-socks-off cool.  These experiments are also a great way to keep her occupied for an afternoon or two…perfect for those cold winter days over the holiday break.

Traditionally, science toys have not been marketed towards girls, which is why experts believe there is a much smaller proportion of women in industries based on science, math, and technology.  Help your modern girl become science-minded, with experiment kits that will teach her how to grow a crystal, wire a light show, build a robot, cast a dinosaur skeleton, or build an earth lab.  These kits will be sure to get her mind racing with possibilities, while having fun at the same time.

In the Edmonton region, you can buy science experiment kits at stores such as: Scholar’s Choice, Laugh n’ Learn, Education Station, Toys R’ Us, Walmart, and Mastermind Toys.

Jennifer is a freelance writer living in a small town just outside of Edmonton with her three kids, husband, and a wiener dog named Bruce. She is a regular contributor to the Morinville FreePress newspaper and writes different types of articles (such as general features, historical pieces, business spotlights, etc.) for magazines throughout the Edmonton region. You can find Jennifer on twitter at @unlockingideas.

Tags: advice, gift, girls, Toys, yeg

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