by Inigo del Castillo in New Design on Thursday 30 January 2014

Geek dads and geek-dads-to-be, rejoice for we have found a way to educate our sons and daughters to be just like us. Computer programmer and bioinformatician Jonathan M. Gruberman decided to be really hands on in the upbringing and education of his newborn son. So together with the missus (she insisted cats are a must in the blocks), they created a set of alphabet blocks, ingrained with the iconic images of things they wanted to share with their child.

Fast forward a year later, with his son about to celebrate his first birthday, he was able to finish the 36 1.5” blocks that are absolutely geektastic!

Gruberman describes his creation on his blog: ‘There are 36 blocks — the English alphabet and ten digits — showing 134 images of people, animals, monsters, robots, vehicles, organizations, devices, tools, and objects from some of our favourite movies, TV shows, books, comics, video games, poems, and sculptures, as well as a few from the real world for good measure (and a couple not-so-favourites for comic relief/alphabetical exigency; I’m looking at you, Zardoz). The only real rule I followed in choosing subjects was trying to maintain an even gender balance’.

You can check out the rest of the blocks here and even see the full list of pop culture references here.

UPDATE: Here’s a teaser from our exclusive interview with Jonathan himself, where he talks about teaching children the importance of gender equality.

Not too many parents teach gender balance at an early age. At what point did you realize that there were too many male characters compared to females on your blocks?

I think teaching gender balance is very important right from the start, but I also think that having gender balanced blocks is actually more about not teaching gender imbalance; I want to make sure that my children know that interesting characters come in all different shapes and sizes, and that means including more than just a token representation of female characters. That said, it doesn’t mean it was easy or came automatically, because pop culture has so many more male characters than female. So, I made my initial list, thinking I was doing pretty well keeping the gender balanced, and then I counted and I was way off! So, I went back and swapped out a lot of characters. In hindsight there are all sorts of characters that I didn’t think of at the time; for example, when Jeri Ryan tweeted about the blocks, and I kicked myself for not including Seven of Nine on the block for number 7!

Via Laughing Squid