Meet our Founder
Kristel Bell created Surprise Powerz because she believes in the power of girls. She understood that to instill confidence and encourage STEM learning from an early age, girls need dolls that look and sound like them.
Like most women of today, the “girl” toys available to Kristel as a kid were for playing princess or mommy. As an adult, she was surprised to see that girls’ toys hadn’t changed much at all. Boys’ toys, in contrast, were already teaching critical skills in serious subjects: science, technology, engineering and math. It was no surprise that so many girls were losing confidence in those subjects as early as the age of nine.
She knew she wasn’t the only one to see this imbalance, and this fueled her to create her own line of dolls to equip girls with critical skills like curiosity, creativity and problem solving. Her first products are Astro, Codie, Vera and Maria — science, tech, engineering and math-centric dolls made to break barriers, solve problems, and reflect the diversity of girls today.
It’s her hope these toys make each girl’s world bigger, and the understanding of her own potential grows. Surprise Powerz is here to inspire girls from a young age to take on the world with confidence and give them the STEM skills they need to reach their full potential.
Since its inception, Surprise Powerz has donated close to 1,500 dolls to children in need. The company is a small, female and minority-owned business certified by the WBENC and NMSDC.
Surprise Powerz dolls can be purchased on the company website as well as major retailers including Target.com, Macy's, Nordstrom.com, Amazon and museums across the U.S.
Meet our Dolls
Surprise Powerz launched with four dolls, Codie the Coder, Vera the Vet, Maria the Mathemagician and Astro the Astronaut. These science, tech, engineering and math-centric dolls are designed to break barriers and encourage problem solving, while reflecting the diversity and potential of girls today, all while having fun.
Fun is the keyword as education experts agree that young children learn best through play. When children are actively engaged in activities, they learn meaningful content and also become lifelong learners. Through play, preschoolers are busy sharpening their investigative skills, problem-solving abilities and communications skills. They also learn to infer and make predictions.
Each doll offers the opportunity to engage in creative play while learning valuable STEM lessons. Here’s a closer look.
Science With Astro
Girls interested in outer space and life beyond the planets will want to blast off with Astro the Astronaut. As your child engages with Astro, she will explore the relationship between thinking, learning and taking action. Astro teaches which planet is the coldest, the largest, the gassiest and which one has rings around it. Astro will encourage your child to imagine walking on the moon and draw a space alien.
Technology with Codie
Codie the Coder provides a fun, engaging way to introduce the concepts of technology to your child. According to Codie, coders love to put things in order, identify patterns and rhythms, and also solve riddles and puzzles. Your child will learn that coding is cool because it’s a great way to stretch the imagination while improving computational thinking. According to the National Science Foundation, coding provides young children with appropriate and meaningful activities that encourage a love of science and learning across the subjects.
Veterinary Science with Vera
Vera the Vet appeals to children who love animals and fun facts. As your child engages with Vera, she will gain an understanding of basic science concepts, such as examining the similarities and differences between animals and humans. In addition to supporting STEM knowledge, your child will learn ways of keeping animals happy and healthy while developing empathy, a key indicator that a child is ready for kindergarten.
Math with Maria
Maria the Mathemagician teaches girls that numbers are everywhere and there is always something to count. By the age of three, preschoolers are fascinated with numbers. “Math is like a puzzle,” says Maria. Girls will learn that numbers can be combined to make other numbers. Expect to see your child engaged in activities with numbers, counting and sorting.
Empowering Young Girls
Kristel launched Surprise Powerz with the sole mission of encouraging young girls to love STEM. It’s critical to start inspiring girls to connect with STEM as toddlers and preschoolers. Why? Ages 2 to 5 is the key time period to start to try and close the STEM gap.
Studies show that girls as young as preschool age believe the stereotype that boys are better at math. Girls tend to have more negative attitudes toward math, including anxieties and self-doubt, which plays a critical role in math performance, math course-taking and the pursuit of math-related career paths.
Parents' beliefs and bias also plays a role. Parents often expect that their boys are more gifted in STEM than their girls, even when their achievement levels do not differ. These beliefs are passed along to their children in both conscious and unconscious ways. Parents tend to purchase more math and science-themed toys for boys rather than for girls, and STEM-related jobs are seen as being male oriented.