It is without question that the toys we give our kids, dramatically influences their thinking. Why not start with promoting acceptance and understanding of diversity and inclusion with the choice of toys you make?
In the past, many of the toys reflected the mainstream population dominated by only one culture. However, today there are many different choices from play figures to dolls to coloring pages to puppets and games.
So when thinking of the next toy that you will select for your kids, be mindful of including toys that are inclusive while reflecting your background, instead of the toy that might be on the bestsellers’ list.
What Affects Toy Selection?
Did you know that “At 85%, the child’s own wants and wishes topped the list, followed by price promotions/sales (72%)? As Field Agent’s Special Q4 Toys Report explains, many parents give their kids considerable freedom to make their own toy choices, further suggesting children have no small amount of say-so in the toy-shopping process,” according to Field Agent.
Be decisive in making your choice, make it educational as well as desirable.
When Does Racial Bias Begin?
It also is important to realize that
“The process of learning racial bias is a lot like learning a new language (e.g., a child raised bilingual vs. a child who starts learning Spanish in junior high). Biology determines a critical early learning period as well as a later window where learning is much harder.
As early as 6 months, a baby’s brain can notice race-based differences.
By ages 2 to 4, children can internalize racial bias.
By age 12, many children become set in their beliefs—giving parents a decade to mold the learning process, so that it decreases racial bias and improves cultural understanding,”
according to Ashaunta Anderson, MD, MPH, MSHS, FAAP & Jacqueline Dougé, MD, MPH, FAAP in HealthyChildren website.
ToyWhisperer has searched the web for options that will be suitable for your purposes.
1 – How to Promote Diversity: A Reflection of Ourselves
Play figures can be included in so many different activities. On their own, they stimulate young minds for invention as well as strengthening empathy.
“Emotional intelligence is such an essential skill. Having a child who can connect to their emotions, show empathy for others, and recognize emotional states in others is set up to be a loving, caring person as they grow up. They’ll also have a major leg up in navigating school, work, and personal relationships later in life.
Figures are a wonderful part of an emotional intelligence toolbox (in fact, we have many play therapists who visit our figures section at the store)”, states the experts at Dilly Dally Kids.
These workers demonstrate diversity. They will appeal to young children as the images are somewhat stylized. Pair these figures with lego structures, doll houses and vehicles to encourage dramatic play.
These figures are more realistic and will appeal to older children. Unfortunately only 4 of the figures are female.
These figures are great for family dynamics. They are depicted as a certain economic class and therefore may not reflect all families. There are other ethic family grouping as well.
These 20 community figures demonstrate a range of diverse figures, that can be used with lego sets as well as with other toys. Some of the roles are somewhat stereotyped by gender.
While this set is not made for lego kits, it could be used to supplement the official lego community people. If you have person with a different ability in your acquaintance, these figures will be very helpful in normalizing the situation.
Understandably, it is safe to state that dolls embody our humanity. To strengthen an understanding of diversity, self-image, and compassion, kids need to play with dolls. Playtime for every culture, includes dolls. With careful choices of what you provide your children, you can either reinforce the status quo or teach inclusion. That does not mean that you should ignore your own background, though.
It is appropriate to have your specific image reflected by the one or more of the dolls with which your children play.
“Dolls who look like Latina girls are more widely available than ever, and they are a great way to foster a healthy self-image in our niñas”, explains Parents website. Similarly, the look of the doll for all cultures is significant.
Now that there are dolls to reflect the world’s diversity, kids can identify or empathize with different cultural backgrounds through imaginative play.
Yes, many boys indeed like to play with action figures and boy dolls.
This doll family is the perfect size for dramatic play. Kids will resolve many family issues through taking the roles of different family members as they replay what they know.
This 12 inch doll is the perfect size to hold and love. It is important for both boys and girls to develop empathy for others. If you are expecting, you can prepare your little one for the addition to the family through play situations. Ease the pain of being the centre of attention by modelling how to care for the expected arrival.
This life-like baby will ease the tensions of a new arrival through creative play situations. And if you are not expecting, every young child will benefit from playing mommy or dad.
There are many dolls to reflect the diversity in out culture. Select one to reflect your family. Or introduce the topic of inclusion by selecting a baby doll of a different ethnic origin.
Barbie dolls are now designed to reflect the diversity in our world. Many feminists will still object to her unrealistic proportions, but moms will be convinced by their little ones to buy one for their kids because the brand is so popular. This doll would not be acceptable in some families.
To extend the play situations beyond the family, puppets and props are often used. Again, it is crucial to be as diverse in your choice of puppets as you can be. Immerse your child in the images of the real world.
Nowadays there are many puppets that reflect inclusion. This is a perfect set to explore types of occupations. Pair the puppets with members of the family for dramatic play to explain what happens in each occupation.
China: Learn all about China through this play set. It is well made and has won many awards including National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, the Creative Child Toy of the Year Award.
Add this set to the World Village for more fun scenes and exploration. If you plan a trip to China, this is a perfect introduction to the culture. Your child can learn some Mandarin vocabulary as well.
2 -How to Promote Diversity: Games
While your child thinks of games as entertainment, many do teach various concepts. Some games set up an inclusionary environment; others reflect the richness of different cultures, and some dig deep into our emotions.
Being helpful is a first step to empathy. In playing the game and reading about the feelings and needs of the characters, parents can help their children recognize feelings in others. This cooperative game cultivates emotional development, shared decision making, positive self esteem, creative problem solving and a sense of community in a non-stressful play environment.
With these 36 cards you can help your kids get in touch with their feelings while learning communication skills. The cards come with instructions with suggestions for use in 8 different ways.
Broaden your kids knowledge of different cultures through a game format. The game includes 203 country/continent cards to further your knowledge of the cultures in our world. Along with questions are some information cards for background knowledge.
Open up discussions about safety in the neighbourhood through playing a game. You will explore conversations and problem-solving scenarios about challenging issues, feelings, safety information, health and smart choices.
In this game are 48 cards that feature kids of a diverse mix of ages, ethnicities, and abilities. The cards are large enough for young children to handle easily. There are 8 ways to play the game in the instructions but you can use these cards to suit your needs. Some parents leave them out for a discussion of emotions as they arise.
3 -How to Promote Diversity: Co-operative Games
While co-operation does not necessarily guarantee inclusiveness, it certainly sets the stage for that to happen.
Your kids work together to find specific parts of Busytown to satisfy the demands of the game. The charming pictures draw your kids’ attention while making their searches. The 6 foot game board is filled with exciting discoveries. The game play is easy enough for 3 year olds, but the interest in discovery will challenge kids to 8 years old.
Throughout the game your kids work together to eliminate the guilty fox by amassing clues about the thief. This is a simplified version of clue designed for the enjoyment of younger children. Pay attention to detail if you want to be successful.
Ravine is a survival game for kids aged 10+. You and a group of your friends have survived a plane crash but now you must work together to live through the night. Your team either wins or looses the game together.
Totem is a great game to boost self-esteem and to gain confidence. During game play, you are identifying and explaining the positive qualities of others. It can be very motivating for kids who are preteens or teens to hear about their wonderful personalities. Younger ones will need some support to play.
4 – How to Promote Diversity: Puzzles
As with most toys, puzzles can reinforce negative stereotypes or reflect the diversity and inclusion of our modern-day world. The choice is yours.
This puzzle will appeal to the young child with its beautiful rendition of some traditional viewpoints of different countries or cultural backgrounds. The puzzle demonstrates the diversity found in many communities.
Open up the discussion about 16 of the world’s most accomplished women of many different cultures with this puzzle. Their achievements span many different spheres including science, politics, and the arts. Talk about their dedication to their particular field, as well as their drive to accomplish their dreams. Older children could use this as springboard for more in-depth investigation of their chosen feminist.
This set of 6 puzzles demonstrates the complexity of the structure of families. As you work on the puzzles, you can start a conversation about how the family in the puzzle is the same or different from your family.
5 -How to Promote Diversity: Media
While coloring books are used for a calming activity, they too can expand your child’s viewpoint or support their cultural identity.
Bolster your kids’ self esteem with this self affirming coloring book. You can depend on this material to contain images of inclusivity that acknowledges and respects the differences of each individual, confidence building exercises, uplifting affirmations, and an important message sent with care.
This is a storybook and also a coloring activity. Read the book first and then give this coloring book to your child for reinforcement. The story is very uplifting.
This book is devoted to the fashionable brown girls of the world. Your kids will enjoy the variety of appearances in this book. Since the hair and skin color are already filled in, I suspect that the creator is making a statement.
Learn about Modern day leaders through coloring. The level of the language is suitable for grade 4 to 6. The text is very short and summarizes the achievements of the individuals. The child figures on each pages add to the meaning of the text to make it accessible to many levels of understanding.
Each pages includes some visual images as well as inspirational declarations. This is suitable for older children who will appreciate the meaning of the sentiments. The quality of the paper makes the finished product suitable for framing or displaying. The artist is passionate about equality and giving every voiceless person a platform.
The messages in this book make pointed statements that are at the heart of an anti-racist attitude. Yet the message is simple enough for most kids to understand. The pages are also filled with intricate designs that encourage kids to spend some time with the thought highlighted on each page.
Children are drawn to stickers, whether they are used for creating images or as a token in a charting system. You can be mindful of inclusion even in the smallest ways, too.
Mix and Match the various body parts to produce thousands of different characters to demonstrate the diversity of the world around you. These 100 stickers are reusable for continuous experimentation. Stickers send a very powerful message of acceptance in many different circumstances when they represent a reward.
The images you post in your home or you see at your child’s daycare can be impactful. Make sure that the diversity and inclusiveness of our world is reflected in what your child see from a young age.
This black history poster is very attractive and includes many of the modern black men and women of importance. Below each figure is a short biography. Start an investigation of black heroes with this background information.
Not only is this a beautiful piece of artwork, but the poster gives credence to many well-known singers that demonstrates the diversity of the music business.
What an amazing array off talent that is represented in this poster! Behind each invention is a fascinating story. Your kids will be eager to find out more about the clever inventors who solved issues that became common day products today.
This poster highlights important women of science from many different cultures. It would be interesting to see how many kids can explain their importance. What a great start to an invetsigation into diversity by honoring individuals who made a difference to our modern day society.
This abstract representation of an LGBT world demonstrates that all people are welcome from every area of the world, including all forms of love.
There are many astronauts of diverse backgrounds in the space program. This is merely 1 of several posters from which you could select. This poster speaks directly to Hispanic students and sets an admirable role model in the science field.
There are many other forms of media to promote inclusion and diversity such as storybooks, videos, and novels. However, those areas deserve much more attention than a short description. See below for a blog on storybooks. Search the internet for resources of this type as well.
6 – How to Promote Diversity: The Drawing Tools
Certainly, if you are expecting coloring and drawings to demonstrate diversity, you need to provide the tools to do so.
Start today to surround your kids with
images of diversity and inclusion.
Articles of Interest
5 Powerful Strategies for Using Storybooks to Combat Racism: Young Children https://toywhisperer.blog/5-powerful-strategies-for-using-storybooks-to-combat-racism-young-children/ ToyWhisperer.blog
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