It’s that wonderful time of year, when the toy aisle is filled with the newest colorful bikes, action figures, dolls, playhouses and elaborate play sets. And if you’re doing your toy shopping online this year, right now is crunch time — you need to order as soon as possible to make sure everything arrives at your home on time.
But when considering exactly which toys to buy this year, think about how representation can play a part in playtime. Growing up, I remember being so thrilled when I would unwrap a birthday or Christmas gift to see a doll that looked like me, or a book with a main character on the cover who had thick hair that looked like mine (and a matching super-shiny, greasy forehead). However, I also recall walking down the toy aisle with my mom and being a little disappointed that there were only two Black dolls sitting on the shelves, usually placed behind the other dolls with whom I shared no features or history.
Every kid should be able to have toys they identify with, but there’s a lack of options for dolls, toys, books and puzzles showing different faiths, genders, languages and physical abilities. However, the toy industry is finally making strides to be more inclusive, as many small and large brands are putting out toys for everyone. The list below serves as a launching pad for discovering toys and activities that aim to do just that. From puzzles that feature images of kids of different races to handmade dolls wearing hijabs, these gifts reflect the world we all live in.
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