It’s no secret, we are massive Barbie fans, and for good reason… We are raising 3 girls that should know that they are allowed to DREAM BIG and that they CAN BE ANYTHING just like Barbie! It’s not about being better than men, it’s not about being the same. It’s simply about ensuring equal rights and treatment for our girls and our boys. So, when we were asked to review the new Barbie Dream Big Board Game, we said YES PLEASE!!!!!
What is the Barbie Dream Big Board Game?
A new, proudly South African-made board game based around the iconic Barbie brand and its empowering messaging to girls of every age. Developed by mom-of-three, Janine Van Schalkwyk, in an effort to help bridge the gap between career possibilities and probabilities in South Africa, by equipping young girls with some basic knowledge around career options, as well as helping them develop practical skills and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Called The Barbie Dream Big Career Based Board Game, the board game is a natural extension of the Barbie brand, helping young girls envision themselves in a future career or career path by providing them with real-life insight, and encouraging them to engage with big topics, such as individual identity and talent, school subject choice, university study options, and even business ethics while embracing the brand’s core message that ‘You Can Be Anything’.
“Since its inception over 60 years ago, the Barbie brand has encouraged girls to use their imaginations to Dream Big,” says Wilmari Wessels, Business Manager Hardlines and Publishing at Blue Horizon Licensing.
Barbie may have started her career as a fashion model, but she has been shattering “plastic ceilings” in the work world for over six decades, going to the moon before Neil Armstrong, standing for American President, six times – and winning – before Hilary Clinton dreamt it possible.
To date, Barbie has over 200 careers on her resume, and she shows no signs of slowing down. She’s been everything from an aerobics instructor to a CEO; a ballerina, fashion designer and Olympic athlete, as well as a vet, firefighter, an airline pilot, and a rock star.
How do we play the Barbie Dream Big Board Game?
The game is aimed primarily at girls between the ages of 8 and 12years but with some adult “help” younger girls will also enjoy playing along.
You will need 2-8 players.
Each player starts by choosing a figurine and taking turns to spin the arrow on the flower in the center of the board. The flower symbolizes a seedling which has blossomed into its full potential. (Don’t you just love that?)
Whoever lands on the pink 1st will start the game. Thereafter players take turns clockwise.
Player one, having landed on pink would pick up a pink card and start playing. The next player would pick up a card based on the colour the arrow lands on. If the arrow lands between 2 colours, the player can choose whichever they prefer. And so it continues.
The game explores four specific career paths through the different coloured cards:
- Business (Teal), which aims to provide age-appropriate insight into how to build a brand and a business.
- Help and Service (Yellow), which focuses on community building careers such as nursing, teaching, and tourism, and inspires girls to give back to their communities.
- STEM careers (Purple) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics which expose the girls to a variety of female role models in these often under-represented career paths.
- And Creative (Pink), which discusses opportunities in the world of arts and design, including performance arts, fashion, and interior design and even cooking and baking.
Each group of cards include three types of play:
- Question cards, which aims to educate.
- Action cards, which allow the girls to act out specific scenarios, such as conducting an interview, or writing a speeding ticket for another player. These are interactive so keep a paper and pencil handy. You’ll also have to complete this task before the sand-timer runs out (3 minutes).
- And problem cards, which encourage players to think about ethical issues encountered in real-life work situations. It exposes the players to the possible negative situations found in the workplace. No-one likes a problem card seeing as it will also always have you moving backwards BUT you’ll learn a positive lesson.
The first player to reach the end on the board wins!
What did we think of the game?
Even though the game is aimed primarily at the 6+ crowd, Lia(5) also enjoyed playing along, Mr. Perfect or I just needed to play along too. She actually blows us away with her understanding of the cards as well as her creative answers.
Eliana is 7 and not able to read in English so this has become a family board game. And between “us girls” dad actually enjoys it the most learning a thing or two himself.
We each have a favourite set of cards which probably reflects our interests. Eliana loves landing on purple, Lia just wants to do pink action cards, I enjoy the yellow question cards the most and dad finds the problem cards the most interesting.
From the positive messaging to the engaging and sometimes quite challenging cards formulated and the representation of different ethnic groups and careers in the figures players choose. The Barbie Dream Big Board Game truly is a thoughtful board game that our girls will play for many years to come.
I agree with the creator Janine Van Schalkwyk;
“It’s never too early to start a conversation around the future.”
Girls need to see themselves reflected in the world. This happens through powerful female role models in every field of interest. Just like our boys, our girls need to see female leaders, businesswomen, astronauts, scientists, bus drivers, teachers, athletes…
We need to change the dialogue we have with our girls, not restricting our vocabulary and topics to traditional stereotypes. Why shouldn’t a father want his daughter to take over the family business? Ivanka Trump seems to be ruling the boardroom quite effectively… Why are sons usually seen as the only option for carrying on a legacy? And why are successful women in business judged for being less feminine or family orientated? We were designed with so many dimensions and therefore we don’t need to be “just one thing”.
Girls must know that they can grow up to be anything they are brave enough to imagine. We don’t need to rule the world, we simply need a fair chance to take part in it whichever way our hearts desire and playing games like the Barbie Dream Big Board Game helps us take the first steps to positive change.
Things that could be better…
The figurines would be so much cooler and stable if they were solid cast miniature Barbie dolls. At the frequency, our girls are playing, the cardboard ones won’t last forever, which is a pity. So is the cardboard spinner. This has to be taken out and put back into place each time we play. Doing this may cause it to wear out over time.
That being said, I’m the only one with these concerns so it’s probably just my mom brain overthinking things. Neither of the girls nor Mr. Perfect had any issues with the game and give it a 10 out of 10.
Where to buy the Barbie Dream Big Board Game?
Disclaimer: Blue Horizon Licensing sent us this board game to review. We were not paid to do so, all opinions are our own.