Use these five tips to have better conversations with your child about diversity and celebrating differences.
Use crayons to talk about skin tone
Talking about differences in skin tone can help your child to have a positive view of themselves and the diverse world in which they are growing up. Let your child know that it’s perfectly okay to notice skin color and ask questions. Make multicultural crayons available in your home to represent different skin tones. Author and expert Dr. Beverly Tatum shares her explanation of skin tone to her young Black child, “Your skin is brown because you have something in your skin called melanin. Melanin is very important because it helps protect your skin from the sun. Everybody has melanin, you know. But some people have more than others. At your school, you are the kid with the most!”-from her book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
Diversify your toys and books!
Be intentional about the books and toys you choose for your child. Choose books and toys that include persons of different races and ethnicities. Give your children the opportunity to see, interact, and learn about many kinds of people, families, and cultures. Find new books on this Diversity Diapers list from Daniel Boone Regional Library and, read more tips on teaching your child about race here.
Make a Craft Stick Puppet
Decorate craft sticks using markers, stickers, google eyes, paper, & glue to make your own puppets! Ask your child about the character they made. Point out the unique features of each puppet. Encourage your child to make the puppets talk, tell stories, or perform a show!
Talk about differences and similarities
As Daniel Tiger sings, “In some ways we are different, in so many ways we are the same! In this activity, help your child explore ways we are all alike and different! Have your child focus on something specific, like shoes, hair, or favorite foods. Ask your child questions, such as: Who in our family wears shoes? What kind of shoes do they wear? Who has the biggest feet? Who wears socks? Who doesn’t? Notice what differences they point out. For example, Dad has the biggest feet and wears shoes that tie. Younger brother has the smallest feet and wears shoes with velcro. Yet, they both wear shoes, and everyone’s feet feel good. Reassure your child that differences do not affect your love for them. Read more about Alike & Different activities here or watch a clip from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
Use Play dough to talk about feelings
Using play dough, people mats, and crafty accessories, your child will explore their unique qualities, feelings, and style in the fun “learning about me” activity! Our Reflections of Us kits include laminated people & faces mats in 4 skin tones, along with play dough, glue stick, and decorative craft supplies. Send us a message to learn more & request a kit for your family! – OR – You can design this activity with items you have on hand at home. For printable people mats and play instructions: click here.