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Teaching toys, invented by kids

We asked our kid toy testers to imagine a new learning toy. Here's what they came up with.

By Leslie Crawford

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Math Barbie

Toy Inventor: Zenobia, age 7
What it teaches: math, fashion, and the fact that fashion and math can go hand in hand

Old-school Barbie garnered notoriety for her bass-ackwards attitude toward numerical learning. This toy aims at redeeming the 11-inch fashion icon by embedding a calculator right into her stomach. "You could press the numbers you want to figure out on her stomach and she would say the answer," explains Zenobia, adding a note about the target audience: "This would be good for girly-girls from 3 to 6 years old."

Might Math Barbie look, well, nerdy — with a lab coat and glasses, say? No, insists the inventor: This Barbie must be available in an array of hair and skin colors as well as clothing styles so that she appeals to all types of girls. "There could even be some for boys," she adds. There would also be an extra modest version with numbers worked into the design of her dress "so you could poke her without taking the dress off."


is a senior editor at GreatSchools.