Today, I received a wonderful question via this blog!
Hi Dr. Roberts,
Recently, I introduced my children to the concept of diversity. I chose your "What makes us unique? Our First Talk About Diversity" book to start our conversation. To further discuss this topic, I wanted to do develop some activities for young children to gain better awareness of individual differences. I wanted to ask you for some activity suggestions.
This question allowed me to pull together my favourite quotes, books, and activities in the form of a Pinterest board:
My most favourite activities included the play dough activity, where you make play dough from scratch. This activity allows children to see that even though the play dough is different colours, the dough is in fact made up of the same ingredients. To extend this activity, and make it multi sensory, you might want to add some scents (vanilla, rose, lavender, etc). The point to underscore is that even though the scents are different, they are each beautiful in their own way.
I also like the activities with apples. These activities show that although apples have different coloured skins, they all have the same core. I try to underscore this point in my book. We all want to be loved and treated with kindness and respect.
I think nature as a whole can be a great tool to teach children about diversity. I would start with the idea of an ecosystem, and show how ecosystems are strongest when there is biodiversity. Our society is another kind of ecosystem. We need diversity, and we need to respect our inherent differences, in order to be strong and healthy as communities.
I would also underscore the idea of culture. I would explain that we all have unique cultures, and each culture is interesting and beautiful. Encourage children to be curious but not judgemental about other cultures. Explore the music, food and customs of world cultures. Make the journey fun and exciting!
As children get a little older, I would introduce them to some of the world's great heroes who have inspired the world to embrace equity and diversity--namely Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou and Malala Yousafzai. I would share the teachings of these great role models and ask the children to find ways in their day-to-day lives where they can be similar role models to other children.
If you have any other ideas about how to promote inclusive attitudes for children, please let me know!