Updated: Mar 22
Prepping your playroom for teaching equity through play
Curious about what your children know? Watch how they play.
Black Lives (Dreams, Ambitions, Love, Relationships) Matter. But what do your kids think? The ideas your children get from playing with and talking to you, from books, from TV, and from experience all become visible during playtime. They take in information and process it, developing their own understanding through their independent play. It is critical that we diversify the toys that our children have access to in their playroom so that they have ever-present opportunities to reason through racial differences and human similarities, to practice empathy and to seek understanding, and to develop language around being an ally. I suggest we revise our thinking around toys and play.
It is critical that we diversify the toys that our children have access to in their playroom so that they have ever-present opportunities to reason through racial differences and human similarities.
Think of toys as a communication tool; they help children build and express their understanding. Think of Play is a method or means through which our children communicate; through play children can show us ideas that are more complex and nuanced then children are able to express through their developing language alone.
There are many many toys and materials that would add beautiful diversity to your play space. We have highlighted toys in four of our eight play categories. At grOH!, we have identified 8 different types of play to make available to your children in their play environments. Read more about them in our post here.
Here is a list of a few of our favorites.
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For Imaginative or Dramatic Play
Large dolls are great for imaginative, dramatic play. During this type of play, your child is the star of the show. This play has unlimited potential. For example, children can take on the role of:
Parent and care of their doll’s daily needs
Doctor/ Dentist and care for the doll’s health
Chef and serve their doll restaurant patron
Teacher and instruct their doll pupils
You get the idea!
Beautiful handmade dolls. I recommend these friends for older children as they are handmade and therefore more delicate. They are designed for light imaginative play - eg. no hair styling.
Shop for these your prefect new friend by skin tone. These beautiful dolls are available in medium, dark and light brown skin tones and various hair textures and styles.
Available as soft body or as anatomically correct dolls. We love the anatomically correct dolls because they are great for bath and water play to practice bathing self care.
Small World and Storytelling Play
Small dolls and puppets are perfect for small world and storytelling play, where your child is the director of the show. They create, write, and direct a world with the small doll toys as the stars. This play has unlimited potential. For example, small dolls and puppets can be played with in these ways:
Doll House and dolls can be a family.
Community Helper’s Office and dolls can be firefighters, veterinarians, zoo keepers etc.
Using Books to retell stories. Dolls and puppets can reenact the stories you read!
Using Blocks to create vehicles, structures, or worlds. Dolls can live in, ride in, or climb on any structure you create.
Using Art to make homemade scenery. Dolls can act in front of a forest, farm, or neighborhood scene that your child has painted.
You get the idea!
These soft, pocket sized dolls are the perfect size for a doll house. Their bodies are moveable and their hair can be styled, somewhat making them reminiscent of larger dolls.
Hand painted wooden peg dolls for your Montessori or Waldorf inspired play space. I’ve linked a community helpers collection, however, the Rainbow Pegs shop has a variety of doll types for you to choose from!
Bendable, wooden dolls perfect for small world play.
Use puppets to make up your own stories or to retell the stories you read.
Duplo set with a person of color to add to your building collection.
Just like books, puzzles are a way to continually expose children to pictures and artwork featuring People of Color.
Little Likes Kids: (BIPOC Toy Maker)
Adding skin-tone colors to your art supplies makes it easier to represent our diverse world in your child’s artwork. Browns can be difficult for budding artists to accurately mix, so adding a variety of browns ready to use can alleviate frustration for your kiddo and make the process of representing others faster and more positive.
Crayola 10 Pack Multicultural Markers
We hope you found this post helpful! If you have questions or want to chat, join the conversation on Instagram!
Anne + Jodi
Read more about Black Lives Matter and raising anti-racist kids:
Read our feature post:
Notice something missing? BOOKS!
Oh, don't worry. We just had too much to say about them. You can find Our Favorite Diverse Books List here.