15 inclusive and multicultural toys to add to your child’s toy box
Representation matters—we know this to be true. When our children see themselves reflecting back at them in books, in movies, in the dolls they play with and the coloring pages they doodle on, they feel seen and validated. That’s why it’s important to have Hanukkah books and Diwali children’s books in children’s book bins because we know there is already a sea of stories about Christmas. And that’s why we should educate children about the dangers of ableism and work together to check our own assumptions that everyone in the room has the same abilities. When toys and activities are designed in a way that anyone and everyone can play, all children learn how to be fair and inclusive. And, they learn how much kinder and more beautiful the world is when we widen our circle to let new friends in.
Related: Mom shares powerful message about inclusive toys: ‘Representation matters!’
Because the truth is, for far too long the toy industry was dominated by and representative of one primary group—white, non-disabled children. And that meant children who didn’t fit that niche group spent their childhood playing with dolls and toys that didn’t look like them. Thankfully, that seems to be changing as more and more toy companies are committing to creating multicultural toys that reflect the vast diversity of the world, as well as inclusive toys reflective of various disabilities, skin conditions, and illnesses that kids everywhere experience—kids who just want to play alongside everyone else.
Related: This is Motherhood: Melissa Orijin of Orijin Bees on creating inclusive toys for her children
And as parents, we of course want to see our children happily playing with dolls and reading books that help them feel seen. However, we also want to raise kids who are loving, accepting and appreciative of children who look different than they do—like children who might have a different skin tone, live in a LGBTQ family, use crutches to walk or have a cochlear implant—even, and especially, if our own children do not. It is through playing with a diverse set of toys that young kids learn about these differences and also learn that despite the unique characters that define us, we all belong and can make the world better and kinder together.
15 inclusive toys we love that celebrate diversity and help children feel seen
Cre8tive Minds• $35.99
Basket of Babies Plush Dolls
Little kids love to dote on their babies, push them in strollers, pretend to change their diapers, and parent them just like they see their own parents doing. This adorable basket of diverse baby dolls will foster an acceptance of different ethnicities and skin tones from an early age.
Lovevery offers play kits for all ages, but do they more than that. This company also provides comprehensive disability support services that include one-on-one conversations with specialists who will help you, the parent, identify learning goals and choose the best toys and activities for your own child’s needs.
Truly Me Collection
The American Girl Doll store has made it their mission to provide diversity and inclusivity among their dolls, and the Truly Me Collection does just that. Kids can search for dolls without hair, dolls with crutches, and dolls who use wheelchairs, among other choices, to find a doll who truly looks just like them.
Fashionista Doll with Vitiligo
Barbie is another company who gets it—representation matters. Their fashionista doll with vitiligo is just one of their many dolls offering kids a chance to see themselves in the toys they play with.
Little Feminist Mini Memory Match Game
Foster an appreciation for the diverse range of powerful women who have changed the world with this memory matching game. Kids will see the faces of women like Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks, and Frida Kahlo, among others, as they work their brains to find matches.
Babydoll with Down Syndrome
This babydoll with Down Syndrome might just the toy a child needs to truly feel seen and validated for the beautiful person they are.
Little Biscuits• $13
We loved paper dolls as kids, and with good reason—they sparked creativity and were simply fun to play with. But imagine the impact of also providing a diverse set of options—like Koko, Enid, or Farah—as well as all the materials for creating personalized outfits. Dress-Me Notepads does just that.
Everyone is Awesome LEGO Set
Everything is awesome when all kids are accepted, and LEGO knows it. We want our kids to know they are awesome just as they are, which is why this rainbow LEGO set that celebrates LGBTQ kids and families is so important.
Selma's Dolls• $29.99
The Ameena Doll with Children's Storybook
Muslim children might struggle to find a doll who truly looks like them, which is why we love the Ameena Doll from Selma’s Dolls. She comes with her own storybook too, so kids can read and play and feel represented all at the same time.
Hearing Aids for Elf on the Shelf Doll
Do your kids love their Elf on a Shelf? Did you know there is a company on Etsy called ArtsyAntonelli who makes hearing aids for elves?! Well now you do, and you are about to change the life of a child with hearing loss.
My Family Builders• $56.95
32-Piece Set Magnetic Wooden Blocks
Celebrate all types of families with this magnetic block set by My Family Builders which allows kids to build their own family, a family down the street, maybe a friend’s family, or even their classmates at school, all the while celebrating everyone’s differences.
Black Girl MATHgic• $44.95
Monthly Math Subscription Box
Foster a love for STEM by subscribing to the Black Girl MATHgic monthly math box. Your child will have fun with math and honor her Black girl magic at the same time.
UNO Gard Game with Braille Modification
MaxiAids makes classic kids games like UNO, Go Fish, and Old Maid accessible for visually impaired children by adding braille to them. With a game like this, everyone can play, and that’s how it should be!
Teni & Tayo Creations• $24.99
Build Your Own Solar Powered Car
Support brain development and creativity with STEM-related toys like this solar-powered car. Or, sign up for a subscription so your child can experience even more. Teni & Tayo has all the options!
Crocodile Creek• $22.99
36-Piece Children of the World Jigsaw Floor Puzzle
The world is beautifully diverse and our children should learn about the many races, ethnicities and cultures it has to offer. Foster an appreciation for diversity and encourage your kids’ passion for international travel with this fun and engaging floor puzzle.