Tinker Bell the Mechanical Engineer

Anyone other parents as thrilled as I am over the Tinker Bell movies?  I mean sure, her skirt is a little too short, and some of her friends are a little stereotypicaly ditsy but dang, that girl (woman?) is an ENGINEER!  Yep.  Tinker Bell is an engineer, a mechanical engineer non the less.  (woot!)

I had actually resisted watching the Tinker Bell movies at first.  Rose had started to watch them on Steve’s phone (Netflix) and while I was getting certain dialog memorized, I hadn’t been able to get myself to watch what I was sure was another silly movie with silly characters.  Finally she asked to watch it on the tv and I was pleasantly (and happily) surprised by how intelligent her character is and to see all of the cool things she creates.

Long lost sister can’t visit because she’s a winter fairy and can’t get warm?  No problem, she designs a snow machine.

Tinker Bell Snow Machine

Everything is messed up and spring may not come because the other fairies can’t gather all the spilled acorns in time?  No problem, she designs a industrial size vacuum out of a glove and a harmonica.

Tinker Bell Glove Vacuum

Need a boat to take fairy dust to remote outposts?  She’s your girl.

Tinker Bell Boat

Sure she messes up sometimes in her eagerness to build things but it’s ok.  She just goes back to the drawing board and tries again.  Seriously great example of a “don’t give up when things don’t go your way” attitude.

Armed with a new appreciation for the awesome engineering powers of this little fairy, I scoured the toy aisle on Rose’s birthday to find something that would play off her new obsession and encourage her own “tinkering”.  Nothing.  Nada.  Nilch.  Lots off jewelry, tea party sets, and makeup.  Lots of clothing too.  Some of which depict Tinker Bell as down right sexy.  Anything at all that had anything to do with her engineering?  Nope. 

Seriously Disney?  You have five (soon to be six) movies that actively encourage girls to use their minds to create and build and you don’t have anything for them to implement that desire.  Instead all you give them is things to make them “pretty”.

Multiple studies have shown that the earlier girls are introduced to and encouraged to explore engineering concepts, the more likely they are to pursue engineering or some other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)  fields as a career choice.  Thing is, you can’t force these things on kids.  I know, I’ve tried.  Last week I took Rose to Target to choose a new toy with her Christmas money.  As we wandered the aisles she immediately turned around when she got to the section that wasn’t full of pink.  “Mommy, lets go back to the girl toys”.  Nothing I could say would convince her that she couldn’t choose something in the “boy toy” section.  Those girl toys?  They were all dolls and dress up.  Luckily she found a Brave bow and arrow set (in purple of course) that turned out to be a pretty fun hands on toy.


So here’s my idea.  Disney has already teamed up with Lego for a number of other movies and just released a “princess” set.  Lego is actively trying to capture the girl market with their “girl legos” but they don’t go on adventures, just to the store/salon/restaurant.  What about Tinker Bell legos?*  You could build her cart or the boat or any of her many inventions.  I know that Rose and thousands of other little girls would jump at the chance to “tinker” on their own.

Better yet, team up with Goldie Blox!  Their whole business model is based around encouraging the next generation of female engineers by creating toys that tickle the creative mind while appealing to the seemingly ingrained “girl toy” desire.  It’s almost tailor made for Tinker Bell.

So Disney, if you happen to come across this blog post and want to take this and run with it, I hereby wave any and all rights for this idea.  I would be more then happy to just have toys like this on the market that encourage our young girls to use their brilliant minds to design and build.  Pretty please?

*Update: I came up with a solution to the lack of Tinker Bell Lego sets.  Create your own!

*Updated #2: As of May 2015, there is a live action Tinker Bell movie in the works.  Fingers crossed she is an engineer!!


Filed under Engineering, Fun, Toys

7 Responses to Tinker Bell the Mechanical Engineer

  1. Wendy

    This is such a great idea! I think Disney could sell a million Tinker Bell lego sets. I know my daughter would want one.

  2. First up, great to meet a fellow Mom-ngineer ( Embedded/Software/Electrical). I have always been disappointed myself with the toys stereotyping.

    I have a 5 year old girl and 1 year old boy. In an effort to get my older one exposed to engineering, I am have signed her up for Robotics class here in Sugarland, Texas. It starts soon. It is designing and implementing Lego toys. She is already crazy about Legos. We watch a lot of videos on youtube together. She asks me a lot of questions..It s a fun thing.

    • valcro101

      I should look and see if there are any Robotics classes around here. We play with legos when we can but it can be hard to do it with toddlerzilla (The 19 month old) around. She seems to think we are building tiny towns for her to destroy. lol!

  3. Genevieve Thompson

    Hello. We love the Tinkerbell movies and would rather watch that the a princess movie. I too felt frustrated with the toy options with Tinker Bell. We bought my daughter (4) a Goldiblox set this Christmas and she loves it. These are engineering toys made for young girls. It was designed by a woman engineered who wanted to encourage more girls to get excited about engineering.

  4. Natalia H

    Just like you, I am thrilled with what Disney made out of Tinkerbell, and profoundly grateful.
    They wrote her off me, especially her/my experiences choosing a profession (it’s exactly how it happened to me in real life), and her/my experience parenting (that fun snippet with her trying to teach a baby bird to fly).

  5. Robert Shaw

    Great article! I especially like your idea to redefine what a good toy for a girl is. My daughter is a college student majoring in a STEM field. When she was young, there weren’t a lot of “girl toys” that allowed her to have fun building something. Regardless of how corporations respond to your suggestion, it’s good to see parents as engaged as you are with your daughter’s development and education. Keep up the good work.

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