Family life

5 ways to build a more representative playroom

Being deliberate in the toys and games you choose for your kids to play with at an early age will have long term payoff.

We know that play is an important part of your kid’s development. To make sure they’re getting the most out of their toys, games and books, we’ve rounded up a selection of items that are not only fun to play with, but offer multiple perspectives on the world.

1. Expand your play food offerings

Let little ones explore the different flavours of the world with these play food sets that go beyond basic fruits and vegetables.

Sushi Slicing Play Set – Wooden Play Food

sushi wooden food play set

Photo courtesy of Melissa & Doug

Kids can cut their own rolls, practice their chopstick skills and dip their nigiri in soy sauce with this cute wooden sushi kit. $29, melissaanddoug.com

African Play Food Set

African food play set

Photo courtesy of Louise Kool & Galt

This colourful set includes, fish, okra, meat kebab, rice pancake with jam, peanut round, fufu and baked plantain. $34, louisekool.com

Hispanic Multicultural Food Set

hispanic play food set

Photo courtesy of Scholar’s Choice

Kids can serve up refried beans, yellow rice, tacos, avocado and flan for dessert with this pretend play kit. $33, scholarschoice.ca

2. Buy games that promote inclusivity

Games are a great way to get kids engaged and excited about learning. Here are some fun options that will help kids develop empathy, awareness and curiosity.

Friends and Neighbors Game

Friends and Neighbors game

Photo courtesy of Dilly Dally

By pulling tokens out of the “Helping Bag”, this game encourages kids build and foster emotional intelligence. $20, dillydallykids.ca

I Never Forget a Face Memory Game

I Never Forget a Face game

Photo courtesy of Toysense.ca

Kids learn to recognize and match the 24 faces of people from across the globe. $23, toysense.ca

Mudpuppy Little Feminist 500-Piece Family Puzzle

Little Feminist puzzle

Photo courtesy of Indigo

This puzzle is a great way to start the conversation about some incredible women throughout history, from Rosa Parks to Malala Yousafzai. $18, indigo.ca

3. Look for diverse dolls

The doll aisle in many toy stores used to be a sea of the same. But with way more options on the market now, kids can choose a doll of any skin colour or one that doesn’t conform to the gender binary.

Miniland Dolls

Miniland educational dolls

Photo courtesy of Minimono

These Spanish-made dolls are extremely lifelike and come in four different ethnicities. From $28, minimono.ca 

Creatable World Dolls

Creatable World dolls

Photo courtesy of Mattel

Do away with labels with this customizable doll kit, which allows kids to create more than a hundred different looks that show the full spectrum of gender identity. $40, mastermindtoys.com

4. Stock up on craft supplies in a variety of skin tones

Give them the right tools and kids can create art that’s representative of themselves—and everybody else.

Crayola’s Multicultural range of markers, coloured pencils, crayons and paint

Crayola multicultural crayons, paint, coloured pencils and markers

Photo courtesy of Crayola

These kits offer kids a variety of skin tones to choose from when they’re drawing or painting. From $1 to $43, crayola.ca

Pacon Multicultural Construction Paper

multicultural construction paper

Photo courtesy of Pacon

Similar to the drawing supplies, this coloured construction paper offers ten different skin tone options. $17, walmart.ca

5. Read books with diverse characters

Books are a great entry point for teaching your kid about the world outside of their home or neighbourhood. Take a look at your collection to see if you have books that offer a variety of experiences and have characters with a range of ethnicities and backgrounds.

Penguin Bedtime Classics

Bedtime Classics covers featuring Black main characters

Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

Classic bedtime stories are retold with Black children as the main characters. $11, knowledgebookstore.com

This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe

This is how we do it by Matt Lamothe book cover

Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books

Experience daily life through the eyes of seven different kids from across the globe. $27, adifferentbooklist.com