Tips for Discussing Differences and Promoting Inclusion
At Fisher-Price®, we know that play is the way kids learn best. When you open up the world to your child through play, conversations about big things like kindness, inclusion and acceptance can become a little easier. Our Play Lab experts are here to help, with a variety of play tips and talking points using Little People® figures and playsets (or dolls and figures you have at home).
TRY: Creating stories with all different Little People® figures.
WHY: All the different skin tones, types of hair, occupations and abilities represented in the figures provide lots of fun and age-appropriate opportunities for you and your little one to explore differences and begin to see how their little world fits into the big world!
TRY: Pointing out similarities and differences between the figures and people you know.
- Point out different hairstyles
“This figure has beautiful curly hair like you!” “This one has braids!” “Here’s one with straight hair like your doctor. Isn’t it cool that hair can be different?”
- Point out differences in skin tone
“‘This figure has peach skin like you! Who else do we know with peach skin?” “This figure has brown skin. Who else has brown skin?’”
- Point out cultural or religious dress
“This figure is wearing a beautiful hijab.”
TRY: Exploring diverse family structures
Show and talk about different ways families can look as you create families for the Little People® Friends Together Play House.
- A mom, dad and child with different skin tones
- Families with 2 moms or 2 dads
- Families with single moms or single dads
- Families with grandma and grandpa as primary caregivers.
TRY: Including figures of different abilities in the stories you and your child create.
Use the Little People® School Bus ramp feature for the figure in a wheelchair. If your little one is able to talk, you might ask them, “Do you know why some people use wheelchairs?”. This may give you a starting point to talk about other abilities (pretend one of the Little People® figures wears hearing aids, needs crutches, etc.)
TRY: Representing different genders in non-traditional roles.
- A female Little People® figure driving the Little People® fire truck
- A male Little People® figure taking care of babies
- A woman hero figure saving a man figure.
Different People, Different Settings.
TRY: Starting with a Little People® playset that represents a familiar setting (Little People® Everyday Adventures Airport, Little People® Travel Together Friend Ship, Little People® Food Truck). Then, add figures with a diverse range of skin tones to show all the different types of people we see in these settings.
WHY: Displaying interaction with figures of all different backgrounds in settings you and your child are familiar with is a great opportunity to display inclusion.
IT’S ALL FUN THAT FOCUSES ON: Imaginative play, fostering curiosity, understanding differences, acceptance and inclusion.
Remember, play is a great way to connect with your child. These tips can help you turn that play into teachable moments as you and your little one explore differences, empathy and acceptance. together. Have fun!
More conversation-sparking play tips to try
TRY: Providing your child with books and other media that feature characters from diverse cultures, or races, with different abilities and genders.
WHY: Media is a great way to expose your child to our big, beautiful diverse world! It can also affirm your child’s identity through positive representation.
FUN THAT FOCUSES ON: Fostering curiosity, Developing acceptance
TRY: Having a dance party with music from all over the world!
WHY: Listening to music in a different language and experiencing a new beat is a fun way to explore and celebrate other cultures.
FUN THAT FOCUSES ON: Fostering curiosity, developing acceptance
TRY: Exploring playgrounds outside of your neighborhood.
WHY: Meeting new children will expand your child’s play group, some of whom may look, dress, speak or even play differently than they do. You might even find your child feeling a little like a stranger in a new “world”, which may create an opportunity to talk to them about empathy.
FUN THAT FOCUSES ON: Friendship skills, Empathy, Acceptance
TRY: Involving your little one in cooking (and tasting) foods from all over the world.
WHY: Trying different fruits and vegetables—and being intentional about learning where they come from—is a delicious way to bring a taste of diversity to your whole family.
FUN THAT FOCUSES ON: Fostering curiosity
TRY: Finding a coloring book depicting people. Then color together—using crayons with different skin tone colors.
WHY: Coloring people with different skin colors (and using different crayons to do it) is a concrete way to help your child recognize diversity and to help you start a conversation about it.
FUN THAT FOCUSES ON: Recognizing and celebrating differences, creativity