Are you intent on raising anti-racists too? Here are ways to diversify your child’s playroom with diversity toys, multiracial dolls and ethnically inclusive books to help raise race-conscious kids
By now most people are clued up on the importance of educating our children about race, to ensure inclusion and anti-racism, especially in a culturally diverse place like Singapore. If you think your toddler is too young to understand race, here’s why that’s not the case. But how do you bring this message to your young kids in an everyday way? The most common dolls at the toy store are caucasian and you may have to actively hunt out books that feature diverse races. So we round up some great toys –from action figures to games to multiracial, anatomically correct dolls, that will help diversify your child’s playroom and make inclusion the norm. Looking to educate yourself first? Check out our anti-racism resources for parents!
We still have a lot of work to do before stories of racism are no longer the norm. When your child grows up with discussions about racism, has a racially diverse circle of friends, plays with diversity toys and reads books that also represent all ethnic groups, they are one step closer to becoming a new generation of kind and accepting anti-racists.
1. Anatomically correct multicultural dolls
Preschoolers are inquisitive about bodies, so what better way to support your child’s learning than with anatomically correct baby boy and girl dolls? Educational Insights has a range of boy and girl dolls on Amazon.sg from different ethnic backgrounds.
2. Barbies & American Girl dolls in different skin tones
The Barbie Fashionistas Dolls are a line of 12 dolls that includes six different body types, nine skin tones, six eye colors, and a variety of different hair colors and hairstyles to represent a diverse section of people. Great for 3 to 8 year olds+.
American Girl offers a number of racially diverse dolls. In addition to historic characters Addy, Josefina, Kaya, Nanea and Melody, the American Girl WellieWishers Kendall Doll has brown eyes and curly brown hair, while the American Girl WellieWishers Emerson Doll has more Asian features. If you are after a doll with a specific skin tone and eye colour you can actually create your own on the American Girl website.
3. My Family Builders Friends Edition Diversity Building Blocks
The interactive set ‘My Family Builders Friends Edition Diversity Building Blocks‘ lets children explore various family dynamics by constructing multiracial little people who resemble the community around them. There are 16-piece wooden magnetic blocks that create endless possibilities for family representations and make great conversation starters for talking to your kids about diversity and gender roles.
4. Avengers Marvel Black Panther
Superhero fans, this one is for you! Inspired by the Black Panther movie, part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the 12-inch Avengers Marvel Black Panther figurine or smaller 6-inch Killmonger figurine make a great addition to your child’s superhero collection.
5. Crayola Multicultural Washable Markers
Crayola does a pack of “multicultural” washable markers, crayons and colored pencils in 8 different skin tones so your kids can get creative in a more realistic way. Faber-Castell also does a pack of 6 different skin color pencils within their 27 ‘World Colors’ Ecopencils pack for kids.
6. Soft body multiracial dolls
If you are looking for a Soft Body Baby Doll without the shipping charges from abroad, check out the multiracial dolls available at local shop Nuts & Bolts Singapore. There are four dolls of different ethnic backgrounds available from this brand set up by a Singaporean mum of two. We love that the bodies are soft and huggable to encourage nurturing play and lots of hugs.
7. Marvel Education Friends with Diverse Abilities Figure Set
The Marvel Education Friends with Diverse Abilities Figure Set is not what you’d normally find at a toy store. This set of 6 hard vinyl figurines include a girl with a patch on her eye, a boy in a wheelchair, and other figures that are meant to encourage open-mindedness and inclusivity through play.
8. Basket of Babies Creative Minds Plush Dolls
Looking for a set of toys that are small and portable and represent different ethnic backgrounds? The Basket of Babies Creative Minds Plush Dolls is a set of six plushies in a variety of skin tones. These plushies get rave reviews on Amazon and are made with super-soft material to be extra tactile and promote nurturing role play.
9. Wooden open-ended dolls
Wooden toys are a staple in many playrooms and these wooden peg dolls by in a rainbow of colours are just too cute. Developed with open-ended play in mind, the set includes 12 peg dolls in mixed skin tones for fun storytelling play. Also on our wooden toy lust list, CLiCQUES handmade peg people in a range of colours and skin tones.
Read more: Top 10 Toys for Open-Ended Play
10 Inclusive & diverse children’s books
Children’s books that celebrate diversity are super important in helping us raise race-conscious children. Children need books that represent their own backgrounds and diverse stories especially if they are from minority groups. A good range of books with local, Asian and inclusive themes includes:
- The Amazing Sarong by Quek Hong Shin
- Brown Like Dosas, Samosas & Sticky Chikki by Rebecca Manari and Heetal Dattani
- Everyday Ninja by Leila Boukarim
- There Was a Peranakan Woman Who Lived in a Shoe by Gwen Lee
- Saturday’s Surprisingly Super Duper Lesson by Jolene Tan
- The Rubiah from Semarang series by Atiqah Halim and Zafriah Idris
- The A Place for Us series by Lianne Ong
- Open: A Boy’s Wayang Adventure by Eva Wong Nava
- If you are looking for an interactive book about Singapore for preschoolers, where Singaporean culture is talked about with lots of diverse characters represented, check out Singapore Culture Play Book, A to Z of Singapore by Indigrow.
Check out the blog Here Wee Read for an even more expansive list of diverse children’s literature, and read here for more resources for adults and children on talking to kids about race and racism.