LED Bricks Light Up Girls' Creativity
LAS VEGAS — Amid rows of computer screens and other high-tech paraphernalia at a CES show for journalists here Wednesday (Jan. 9), a twinkling display of construction sets drew crowds. Cra-Z-Art unveiled its new LED-lit building sets for girls. Transformer-type monsters or soaring skyscrapers are nowhere in sight; instead, Lite Brix "Sunset Island" for girls includes a candy shop, a beauty salon, a fashion runway and a stylish beach house.
While the girly-themed construction kits may rub feminists the wrong way, a spokeswoman for the company said that they're exactly what girls asked for.
"Girls wrote to Lite Brix and said they wanted their own light-up bricks instead of using the city-themed sets designed for boys," Genna Rosenberg said.
Lego was the pioneer of girl-themed blocks, which were introduced near the end of 2011. Despite accusations of gender stereotyping from organizations such as SPARK, which stands for Sexualization Protest, Action, Resistance, Knowledge, Lego reported that sales to girls tripled in the first few months of availability. It seemed that girls weren't averse to construction toys — they just wanted their blocks to come in prettier colors and be able to make structures with girlish appeal.
Lite Brix can be used with similar building bricks, such as Legos, which means parents can add to their kids' collections rather than replacing them. Each set comes with instructions to build two different versions of a structure. The LED light-up bricks cycle through four colors. Additional translucent pieces, a battery pack and connector pieces that attach the bricks to each other so the models can be built on different angles, are also included. Each set runs on three AA batteries.
Prices range from $20 to $100. Sunset Island sets will be available this summer at most major retailers, as well as online at Amazon.