There is one gift Zoe has been asking for since Christmas that I didn’t feel she was quite ready for, actually a toy that most little girls want; a dollhouse. I had my first one at her age, enjoying the imaginary play and role-play pretending my dolls were in the kitchen cooking, taking a bath, going to the store and cleaning the messes. Dollhouses provide children hours of play in the many rooms they cater. But what if girls could build a room, design it any way their heart desires and wire up a working motor? Now they can with Roominate. Roominate is a DIY wired dollhouse building kit that allow girls to use their imaginations using Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Designed by Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen — two engineers out of Caltech, MIT, and Stanford who wish they saw more women in their upper level math and science classes. They believe that early exposure through toys will motivate the next generation of female technology innovators. So they started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their idea and it was successful, with funding almost $61,000 over their goal of $25,000. Naturally, I was intrigued by this dollhouse kit and was sent one to check out. Arriving was the original Roominate Kit, which arrives with everything to customize a room.
-Two different sized panels for floor and walls
-Motor with switch and battery case
- Paper in numerous colors
Zoe was more than excited to build a room. After showing her the helpful instructions she built her room. Very easy by adding the wall connectors to the wall boards.
Kids can then leave the walls blank or add pieces of paper to make the walls colored. Our paper was wider than the walls, however Zoe wasn’t enthusiastic about cutting them down to fit, so we taped them up, trying to get them behind the connectors.
Daddy helped her with the motor. I was hoping there would be more electronics than just this motor but you can build numerous things including a fan, Zoe made a spinning table and on the Roominate website there are many ideas including a washing machine, rotating fireplace and a moving elevator. Click here to find more Roominate ideas. Zoe loved making the furniture.
Zoe wanted absolutely no help so off to work she went. I let her be, snapping photos and asked her what type of room she was making. My cupcake shop she said. She asked me to help her spell some words out to tape to the walls, and got creative pulling out her Play Doh to make sweet treats for her shop. It didn’t end there though, as she grabbed her mini dolls to play inside. She told me this room is a lot of fun.
So I asked her a few questions; keep in mind she is only 5.
Mom: Zoe what do you think about this kit?
Zoe: It’s neat mommy. I can make tables and chairs and a bed for my babies
Mom: Was it easy?
Zoe: Yes mommy, there’s a piece of paper to show me how
Mom: How does the motor work?
Zoe: I don’t know, Daddy put in the batteries for me (2 AAA not included) and connected the cords. The fan I built doesn’t work so good though. The blade keeps flying off Note: The fan blade is made by cutting out a piece of paper.
Mom: Well, maybe we can make it smaller
Zoe: I like it as a table. My cupcakes spin around, or I can make a pretend merry-go-round so my Lala’s can have fun
Mom: So how much do you like this set?
Zoe: A lot mom! I can do anything I want and building is so much fun. I like that I can tape up new colors on the walls, and add pictures, or windows or the stickers they give with it. That’s why I play with it after school.
So there you have it. Zoe loves Roominate. As a parent, I appreciate that children can customize a room over-and-over using their creativity. Kids can color on the walls, add stickers which by the way include dogs, sweets, fish, butterflies and other fun ideas to add to the rooms. The kits are geared for girls age 6-10, which is why you won’t find stickers for boys, however Gavyn (10) has enjoyed playing with his sister. He helped her build a pet shop, complete with two pet bed tables to be seen by Dr. Kai-lan and again her imagination to make dog food bowls, bones and treats came from her Moon Dough puppies set.
More sets can be purchased, so the rooms can stack or sit side-by-side to create an entire dollhouse. The problem though with this is the price. The original Roominate, the one I am reviewing here is $59. A steep price if you wanted to add more, however Roominate sell their Chateau de Roominate which include 4 original Roominate kits to create even more rooms. Again, the price is steep; $225! It just seems expensive in my honest opinion. I love the concept and appreciate the educational components added to a classic toy girls love, to make the kit engaging and the creators are trying to get girls interested in STEM subjects. Just because I’m not fond of the price, doesn’t mean I don’t love it. It is entertaining, providing Zoe with hours and hours of fun allowing her to alter rooms daily. Although, Zoe uses her imagination, I’m encouraging her to use it more when building her rooms by using objects in the house. She gets better at it daily. The inspiration on the website is amazing. To learn more about Roominate visit www.roominatetoy.com
Product received for review purposes, however all opinions 100% my own