Children, as everyone knows, are like little sponges. They love to soak up all of the knowledge that they can, and society is responsible for providing children the knowledge they need in order to figure life out as they get older and get saddled with more responsibility. One of the biggest ways that kids learn, especially early on, is through the interactions that they have with their toys. However, toys are still pretty limited in terms of diversity and inclusion, which causes a massive underlying issue with how children are educated about the world. Consider the following reasons why inclusive toys are important.
They Teach Sensitive Subjects In Ways Children Can Understand
Sometimes, parents get asked questions that they are unsure how to answer, especially if the subject is uncomfortable for the parent or an easy and appropriate way to explain it to children does not already exist. Besides effective online lessons from educational sites like lessons.com.au that employ video and other techniques to handle sensitive topics, toys help facilitate conversations about such subjects by providing a safe visual. For instance, if a young child is asking about how the body functions, there are ways to explain it while using a toy that has organs without being gross or traumatizing. If you want to get really into it, you can make sure that the organs can be removed so you can explain each system or organ piece by piece instead of struggling to turn a model that is less interactive. Not every parent is going to go for a toy like this, but such a toy is incredibly educational.
They Tell Children that Different Does Not Mean Bad
When children look at the store shelves and only see their reflection looking back at them, it creates the subconscious thought that anything different is not normal and therefore should be treated with caution. This is something that they will experience no matter what they are actually being taught at home. Children are not born with inherent discrimination, but they are taught it early on through what is sold at the stores, as the implication is that what is sold in stores is what is socially acceptable. To prevent this, the toy industry need to shift so that all people can be given a voice.
For instance, take the Mattel transgender barbie. Mattel has been making barbie dolls for decades, and while dolls with different skin colors have been on the market for a while, it has always been a toy predominantly geared toward white heterosexuals, and until recently also promoted a strictly thin appearance for the girls and a muscular body for the boys. Only in the last few years have barbie dolls with a large variety of different skin tones and weights hit the shelves, and sales have never been higher because children and adults are finally feeling like their voices are being reflected on the shelves. The transgender barbie made a massive splash as well, allowing children to interact with a toy that reflects someone who they will interact with later in life and might even eventually become. While some parents think that it is in poor taste to teach children about transgender people, especially through a doll. That point can be negated in a variety of ways, and one specifically effective way is to remind those parents that the transgender doll, like all barbie dolls, have no genitalia, so it has no negative impact on children.
It Helps More Children Feel Heard
Children already do not feel heard by the majority of society most of the time. Therefore, they spend a lot of their time talking to their toys. If they have toys that reflect who they are, they are able to bond with the toy a lot better and it might help them express their feelings better. Everyone should be allowed to feel heard, and children are no exception.
As the world perspective shifts, so must the toy industry. Keep this article in mind so you can make sure your child’s wonderful self and voice are reflected in the toys that they have to choose from.