After struggling with self-image for many, many years, I feel that relaying the importance of confidence to a younger generation of girls is of the utmost importance. Young girls see and hear older women discussing hatred toward their bodies and the latest on fad diets; it’s such an unhealthy message to send. In a world where most “girl” action figures and dolls are stick-thin, and every famous tween girl looks ill-fed, a break in this trend is always quite refreshing. Go! Go! Sports Girl products offer girls products with a positive image to encourage healthy minds and bodies. The line was created after Jodi Norgaard had a disappointing shopping experience with her 9-year-old daughter, unable to find anything “stylish” that didn’t bare a stomach or involve high heels. Norgaard’s company, Dream Big Toy Co., aims to empower young girls with its motto “Dream Big and Go for It.” It seems that similar specialty toy companies have started to take notice, creating lines with a related approach.
Dream Big Toy Co. created Go! Go! Sports Girls as a fun and educational way to promote self-appreciation and the benefits of daily exercise, healthy eating and sleeping habits, self-esteem, and overall healthy life skills among girls ages 3 to 12, regardless of race and socioeconomic class. The Sports Girls are age and size appropriate, and most importantly, they do not encourage an older or overly mature image. The image is innocent with a strong message to girls about appreciating and being true to yourself.
Beginning in the spring, six of the Go! Go! Sports Girls will come in a “Read & Play” set, with a 32-page book about each doll. Kara Douglass Thom wrote the books, and said, “I have never been more proud to have a byline.” She has been a fan of the dolls ever since she blogged about them four years ago, saying: “Fitness is a family value in our house and when I can find toys that support that value I’m one happy parent.” The books feature young female athletes, starring in a range of sports including Brooke in golf, Ella in running, M.C. in dance, Suzi in swimming, Grace in tennis, and more. The line will soon welcome girls in soccer, basketball, volleyball, triathlon, and cheerleading. Each book ends with a list of things that the Sports Girl learned, as well as a list of healthy tips.
The Go! Go! Girl blog features articles that tackle topics such as What is Feminism? and Brave Girls Want Change. The website also features information on healthy eating, tips on physical fitness, and help for parents working toward encouraging a healthy lifestyle for kids. Brooke de Lench, a youth sports parenting expert and founder of momsteam.com, provides tips for parents on how to get girls involved in sports. The tips she provides are extremely helpful, but more importantly, they are manageable. The entire platform for this is getting girls health-minded and active at an early age, so that they are grounded in that mindset when the world starts throwing diets, supermodels, and Barbies at them.
A portion of the Dream Big Toy Co.’s profit is donated to organizations that encourage girls to participate in physical activity and develop healthy lifestyles. More information about those charitable donations, click here. I can’t think of a more important cause than helping girls appreciate and take care of their bodies—it’s the only one they’ll get!
For more commentary from Kara, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!