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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hack Along with GoldieBlox is a web series created by the GoldieBox toy company, which is known for creating construction-themed toys aimed at introducing girls to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills. Hack Along is their first live-action scripted series, hosted by the fictional "Goldie" character, who presents different DIY projects and walks viewers through the steps of making them. Though the series encourages kids to get their hands dirty, it also instructs them on when to get an adult to help out with more dangerous parts, like using sharp knives. Some projects require tools like power drills, and the show is careful to advise kids to wear safety glasses.
What's the story?
GoldieBlox is the curly-haired blond mascot of the eponymous toy company, and HACK ALONG WITH GOLDIEBLOX is her new DIY web series. Episodes run about 10 minutes or less, and feature Goldie making a variety of fun projects. Some are super simple projects that require basic craft tools like acrylic paint and a glue gun. Other projects show Goldie stripping phone charger wires and using power drills. The gadgets Goldie comes up with are colorful, trendy, and fun -- but also teach kids basic engineering concepts and encourage good safety habits. Kids can learn to make a solar-powered oven for baking s'mores, a portable air conditioner, and homemade "mermaid" ice cream, and the series even shows the science behind "girly" projects like scented bath bombs.
Is it any good?
You'd think a series produced by a toy company would be heavy on the product placement, but thankfully that isn't the case here. Hack Along with GoldieBlox isn't just a triumph of a tie-in series -- it's an enjoyable show on its own merit. The host is truly charming, with a playful sense of humor, and the backdrop is a treat to look at with its colorful art, craft, and building materials. The workspace she creates her projects on is cute, but also a little messy with glue remnants and such, which is a nicely realistic touch. The simple act of showing a young girl confidently using power tools with no hesitation is a big leap forward, representation-wise, and the projects she makes are just plain fun. (Her power drill is fun too: It's decorated with yarn and nicknamed "Felicia.")
What kid wouldn't want to learn to make their own poppy seed-speckled watermelon soap, a gelatinous "raindrop cake," or a glow-in-the-dark pen to use at sleepovers? The projects vary in skill level, and Goldie doesn't shy away from admitting when things just don't turn out right -- like when only 3 of her 5 jars of rock candy come out correctly. This makes the act of creation seem less intimidating and more attainable for kids, unlike a lot of picture-perfect internet before-and-afters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about which projects on Hack Along with GoldieBlox were their favorites, and which ones they'd like to try making first. How will you put your own spin on it?
How do the projects Goldie makes help illustrate scientific concepts? Does she do a good job of explaining why and how the things she makes work?
Have you ever tried using a power tool? Does seeing a kid like Goldie using them make you more likely to give it a try? Why or why not?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.