INSIDE: You will find 30 anti-racism activities for kids that you can do at home to help start the conversation of race and racism.
Talking to your young child about race and racism is hard but it’s important. Why? It’s important so that future generations of children can grow up in a world free of racial bias and anti-black racism.
Now I am not an expert of racial injustice but I am an expert on fun and easy learning activities for kids. So I went through Pinterest, Instagram and asked many of my kids’ activity blogger colleagues to send me their best all-about-me activities.
The result is this list of creative and easy to do activities that can be used to help you start the conversation about race and racism. It is through conversations like these that we can all start to truly raise anti-racist kids.
When to start talking about race
The short answer is now. You can start the conversation about race as young as 2 or 3 years old. Studies have shown that babies as young as 6 months can observe race-based differences and children as young as 2 years old can internalize racial bias according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is why it is important to read books at an early age (6 months) with racially diverse characters doing a variety of activities.
With preschool aged children a great way to start the discussion on race in a positive manner is through books, TV shows as well as the activities set out below.
What to say about race and racism
The conversation about race need not be complicated with young children. You can start by talking about what melanin is and skin is (largest organ in our body) and highlight that the essential differences between different skin colours are the same as different coloured eyes.
Additional, you can talk about how amazing it is that our world has so many colours in it and just like a rainbow each colour’s beauty can and should be appreciated and admired.
Don’t make talking about race a one time activity
Activities, conversations and books aren’t the only ways to create an anti-racist home. Ultimately it’s our actions that will speak the loudest. We all know our children learn most by seeing as well as doing. We need to model the anti-racist values, behaviours and attitudes we want our children to uphold. Every single day. Being anti-racist should become the new way we all live our lives.
How to use these anti-racism activities
Most of these activities aren’t specifically designed to teach anti-racism. For them to be effective you can use them as a tool to help get the conversation about race and racism with your little one started. Here are some things you can do before, during or after the activities:
- Read a book with a Black or Brown lead character.
- Talk about the physical differences and similarity between the characters and your child in a positive manner. Talk about thing like skin, hair and eye colour.
- Highlight the facts. Skin colour comes from melanin, the sun, and where your ancestors are from. Tell them that skin color does not determine what someone is or can be.
- If the activity is to create a self portrait, have your child create a portrait of themselves as well as one of the characters in the book or TV show that has a different skin colour as them.
Not Talking About Race Does Harm
The notion that children are colorblind is something that research has disprove. But its something you may have already noticed with your child. Children naturally want to sort and categorize their world. We encourage it when it comes to objects but shut it down when they apply similar ideas to people. Instead of shutting this down, starting talking about race before they start to make these associations.
Anti-Racism Activities for Kids
- Multicultural Family Portraits Sticky Wall (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- Diversity Beans: Anti-Racism Sensory Bin (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- All About Me Self-Portrait Collage (Fantastic Fun & Learning)
- Toilet Paper Roll Crafts for Black History Month (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- The Colors of Me Art Activity (Teaching With Haley)
- Paper Towel Roll Rocket Ship Craft for Mae Jemison the first black woman in space (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- Skin Tone Sensory Play (Mama’s Happy Hive)
- Rosa Parks Rocking Paper Plate Bus Craft (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- My Body Colour Sorting (Mrs. Plemons’ Kindergarten)
- Colour the Heart Sticky Wall (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- Diversity Craft (Fun with Mama)
- Mix and Match Puzzles – Free Printable (Kids Activity Blog)
- Cardboard Tube People (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- Family values printable for kids #BlackLivesMatter (Kiddie Charts)
- Cheerios Rainbow Craft (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- All About Me Sensory Self-Portrait (Fantastic Fun & Learning)
- Solidarity Sticky Wall (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- Crazy Faces Loose Parts Play (Pickle Bums) – Try and cut out facial parts from people with different races. Use skin toned coloured paper to create the faces.
- Diversity Art Project (Teaching Special Thinkers)
- Multicultural Children Art (Free Printable) (Hello Wonderful)
- Multicultural faces printables play dough play mats (Nurture Store)
- Painted Wooden Peg People (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- Celebrating Differences with Self Portraits (Classroom Freebies)
- Cheerios Self Portraits (The Chaos and The Clutter) – A fun way to create a self portrait and a portrait of someone of another race.
- DIY Felt Diversity Hand Puppet Craft (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- Exploring Hair (Carrots Are Orange)
- M&M Experiment (Crayons Freckles)
- Bean Self Portraits (Happy Toddler Playtime)
- School Uniforms Around the World: Printable Dress-Up Paper Dolls (Adventure in a Box)
- People Play Dough Mats – Free Printable (Pickle Bums) – These play dough mats are of an entire person.
- Unity Rings Craft – Happy Toddler Playtime
More Anti-Racism Activities for Kids
30. Colors of Us Craft (Polished Play House)
33. Skin Tone Rainbow Rice by Antiracisttoddler
34. Skin Tone Pom Pom Drop by Antiracisttoddler
35. Circle of Friends Activity by Antiracisttoddler
36. Kim’s Knotless Brain Threading by Creative_Mama_Che
37. Curl Love Tray by Creative_Mama_Che
38. Curly Haircut by Creative_Mama_Che
39. Paper Plate Emotions – DIY_Rosanna
Want to learn more ways to create an anti-racist home?
Check out these great resources for more ways to talk to kids about race and racism.
- Talking to kids about race – National Geographic
- Your Age-by-Age Guide to Talking About Race – Parents
- How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race – NPR
Want to diversify your instagram feed?
Representation on your instagram matters! Check out these posts for amazing and diverse parenting and kids activity instagram accounts to follow:
- 20+ Black Moms to follow on instagram who share kids’ activities
- 20+ Black Parents to follow on Instagram who instill a love a reading in their children.
Also check out this free guide about Talking About Diversity With Your Kids from Dr. Siggie, a PhD and Child Development Specialist.
Have an activity you think should be on this list? Drop me a message in the comments leaving your name and a link to the activity on Instagram, Facebook or in your blog.