How to Build a Diverse Playroom

INSIDE: Build a fun and beautifully diverse playroom with this list of 25+ toys and craft supplies to help create an anti-racist home.

In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist

by Angela Davis

As a black woman married to a white man with three bi-racial children, it was always important to me to make sure that the toys my children played with reflected them and their family. Since our family included, a diverse range of skin tones our toy room has always looked liked the world around us. But this is not the case with many toys rooms around the country.

It starts at home

There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race — scientifically, anthropologically.

Toni Morrison

Part of the work that needs to be done to combat racism and create a wholly anti-racist society starts at home with our children. The two most effective ways to bring up your child to be anti-racist is my having a variety of books and toys that reflect the diversity around you.

Not all in one day

To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.

Rosa Parks

As parents we all know that toy rooms aren’t built in a day, nor are diverse playrooms. It has taken me six years to accumulate the diverse range of toys, craft supplies and books for my children. So if you are looking to create a diverse play space for your children remember that you won’t be able to (and quite frankly shouldn’t) create one in a week or two weeks or even a year. It will and should grow with your child.

Furthermore, your diverse playroom should reflect your aesthetic and your child’s taste. Toys are toys whether they are black, white, brown, yellow or red. If you like wooden toys, look for diverse wood dolls and figurines. If your child is really into LEGO or Little People, try and include a diverse range of figurines.

List of toys to help create an anti-racist home

…’Black Lives Matter’ simply refers to the notion that there’s a specific vulnerability for African Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability

Barack Obama

First off, if you can find a local store that sell black and brown dolls, toys and books START THERE FIRST! Support your local community stores so that they will continue to bring in black and brown toys and dolls for all children.

If there are aren’t any local stores to shop from or if you are looking for specific toys, this list below will give you an idea of where to begin.

Toy List

Doll Family of 7 African American

Sargent Art Art-Time Multicultural Dough, Assorted Colors, 1 lb Tubs, Pack of 6, Multi

Baby Doll Car Seat with Toy Accessories, Includes 12 Inch Soft Body Doll, Booster Seat Carrier, Rattle Toy, Bib and 2 Bottles

Marvel Education Friends with Diverse Abilities Figure Set, Inclusive Doll Set of 6 for Ages 3 and Up

World People Set for Exploring Family Dynamics by LEGO DUPLO

Get Ready Kids Multicultural Famly Figures Set of 16, 5″

Melissa & Doug Doll Family [African American]

Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Family, African American

Manhattan Toy Baby Stella Beige with Brown Hair 15″ Soft First Baby Doll

Constructive Playthings Expression Babies Plush Dolls, Super Soft Baby Dolls Set

Little Likes Kids Fun Outside Jumbo Puzzle, 48 Pieces, Ages 4+ (15″ x 20″)

Hape African American Wooden Doll House Family

Creatable World Deluxe Character Kit DC-725 Customizable Doll with Black Braided Hair, 6 Pieces Doll Clothes, 3 Pairs Shoes and 2 Accessories, Creative Play for All Kids 6 Years Old and Up

Fisher-Price Little People, Dentist Audrey

HABA Cari 12″ African American Soft Doll – Machine Washable with Removable Dress, Embroidered Face, Brown Eyes and Black Pigtails

Anti-Racist Craft Supplies

Hygloss Products People Paper Cut Outs Culturally Diverse Family, Cardstock, 7″ Mommy-24 ct, 7-Inch, Assorted 24 Count

Crayola Multicultural Markers, Washable Broad Line Markers, 8 Count

Koalabu Natural Unfinished Wooden Peg Doll Bodies, Quality People Shapes, Great for Arts and Crafts, Birch and Maple Wood Turnings, Artist Set of 40 in 5 Different Shapes and Sizes

Crayola Multi-Ethnic Washable Tempera Paints, 8 Ounces, Assorted Skin Tone Colors, Set of 8

Crayola Multi-Cultural Crayons, Large, 7/16 x 4 Inches, Assorted Skin Tone Colors, Pack of 8

Multicultural Colored Pencils, 8 Assorted Skin Tone Colors

SunWorks 9509 Multicultural Construction Paper, 9″ x 12″, 5 Assorted Colors, 50 Sheets

Musical Toys

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⬅️SWIPE LEFT⬅️ 16 multicultural musical instruments for a diverse playroom🎹 / 16 instrumentos musicales multiculturales para un espacio de juego diverso🥁⁣ ⁣ “Music is food for the soul”. – Arthur Schopenhauer ❤️⁣ ⁣ When we talk about sensory learning, usually what comes to mind is play that stimulates the sense of touch. However, sound is an equally important system that receives information continuously from our environment.⁣ ⁣ Likewise, when thinking about creating a diverse play experience, we should strive to incorporate multicultural elements pertaining to different areas of expression and ways of life. ⁣ ⁣ Music should be part of our everyday life, as it is an important manifestation of human spiritual expression. Music ignites the soul, and learning to PLAY an instrument 🎻 and DANCE 💃🏼to music helps the body and the mind work together. ⁣ ⁣ Some of the incredible benefits of musical experiences in early childhood are:⁣ 🎹Mathematical Learning⁣ 🎹Learning Word Meaning and Sounds⁣ 🎹Gross and Fine Motor Skills⁣ 🎹Coordination of Movement⁣ 🎹Self-Expression⁣ 🎹Memory Skills⁣ ⁣ The musical instruments listed in this post each have rich history and cultural background. Apart from providing an engaging play experience, they can ignite meaningful conversations about our world.⁣ ⁣ I believe that creating a diverse playroom and home environment is a process! The objective isn’t to buy everything we see, but to have the awareness that these resources exist and can be used. ⁣ ⁣ ➡️You can find the links for all of the instruments by clicking the link in my bio, then “Multicultural Resources”.⁣ ⁣ What other instrument would you add to this list?🥁 Was this post helpful? Share and save it for later!🏁⁣ .⁣ .⁣ "La música es alimento para el alma". – Arthur Schopenhauer ❤⁣ ⁣ Cuando hablamos de estimulación sensorial, generalmente lo que viene a la mente es el juego que estimula el sentido del tacto. Sin embargo, el sonido es un sentido igualmente importante que recibe información continuamente de nuestro entorno.⁣ ⁣ CONTINÚA EN LOS COMENTARIOS👇🏼

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There is still more

Acquiring a diverse range of toys and talking about race is just part of the work that needs to be done to combat racism and to become anti-racist.

Check out these amazing resources:

Multicultural Toys to Celebrate Diversity by Toy Ideas

20+ Black Moms to Follow On Instagram Who Share Kids’ Activities

20+ Anti-Racism Activities for Kids

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NOTE: I know many of you are purchasing tons of books right now. Please avoid purchasing books from Amazon. Shop Indie and/or BIPOC bookstores. If you have a go-to Indie bookstore, @ them below please and feel free to shop my bookshelf using the link in my bio. Full Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Now, on to my top children’s book to teach anti-racism. Above you’ll find a variety of books to spark conversations specifically on race. There is no magic bean to cure racism. Reading a few books doesn’t equate to raising anti-racist children. There isn’t a quick fix for this and that’s where the work begins. Just like learning to ride a bike or playing a new instrument, it takes consistent practice, conversations, and action. When you are reading these books and many others, have INTENTIONAL conversations about racism, DISCUSS where it comes from, why it hurts people, what it’s based on, and how to actively fight against it. ANSWER your children’s and students’ questions and if you don’t know the answers, find out. Most importantly your children are watching you, your students are watching you, they see what you are or aren’t doing when they or others are suffering at the hands of white supremacy. Lead by example. If you don’t know where to start, Google “How to be Anti-racist”, read books, watch documentaries, educate yourself and your family. Make mistakes, learn from them, and keep growing like your life depends on it, because Black lives do.

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