Making Toys More Inclusive For Children

By July 10, 2018
Making Toys More Inclusive For Children The Escapist

Toys are typically gendered specific. Pink for girls, blue for boys, slim blonde barbies for girls and macho action figures for boys. Dolls and figurines that were differently-sized, disabled or non-white were practically non-existent.

Now, as the society and social acceptance changes so do toys.

Barbie has just launched a new range of dolls that encourage girls an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These dolls are aimed at girls to aspire to careers that are typically undervalued.

From having blonde slim Barbie, Mattel is changing the way Barbie looks and is including a more diverse approach. In 2017, Barbie released a hijab-wearing Barbie in honour of American fencer Ibithaj Muhammad who became the first US woman to wear the headscarf while competing at the Olympics. and in 2016, Mattel released a line of curvy, tall and petite barbies to represent the different body types.

Lego has also developed a diverse range of toys. In 2014, 3 new figures portraying female scientists was launched. A palaeontologist, an astronomer and a chemist, all of whom were women. These were created to show that carers in science are open to everyone. 

Lego also released its first-ever disabled figure of a wheelchair-using character at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair in Germany.

Lottie Dolls, in North West Ireland, makes dolls inspired by young people from diverse backgrounds and their hopes and aspirations.

One of their dolls, Mia, is a wildlife photographer who wears a cochlear implant. Another is a "stargazer".

These dolls represent real people and Lottie Dolls are created to suit children from a variety of different backgrounds.

When buying toys for a child, take a step back and think about what it represents. Look for toys that are diverse, that are inclusive, where a child can show acceptance of differences.

"Six attempts to make toys more inclusive", BBC News, 28th June 2018

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 July 2018 14:15