Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Parenting Pointers: The Importance of Toy Diversity

Mary Eubanks with Children of America Dolls is an ideal person to comment on how ethnic toys help develop self-esteem, social development and contribute to positive play.  She created a line of dolls specifically including all cultures and can explain how as a child she felt the need to have a “doll that looked like her.”  I had a chance to interview her about the benefits of having toys with racially diverse appearances.

Why is it important for children to have toys that reflect their culture?
All children should have toys that reflect their ethnicity/culture to consciously and unconsciously know that they are accepted and that they are a part of the whole spectrum of human beings.
What lessons can kids learn when playing with diverse toys?
The consideration of "normal"  that you accept yourself, you can accept others,  we do not all look alike and that that  is fine.....they know this because from their early beginning they have played and seen other children on tv, in books, in toys and perhaps at school!
What inspired you to create your line of dolls?
It was near the end of the 20th Century and there was still hardly any toy dolls or dolls period for the diverse number of little girls in California and other parts of America!  During my childhood there was not one African-American doll not to mention other groups represented in the toy division!  This is why I decided to create my own line after retiring from education.

As a mother of two blond-haired, blue-eyed girls, it's easy to find examples of toys that look like them. But I think it's still important to include a wide variety of toys with different body shapes, features, and colors to reinforce the fact that our world is so diverse. It must be working; when I remarked to my mother that my kids are growing up in a different world than I did, and my youngest daughter was the only Caucasian at her birthday party with a dozen guests, my older daughter overheard it and said, "Why is that anything special? V was the only Chinese girl!" It really does make a big impact on worldview to see all shades of skin colors as perfectly normal from an early age.

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