5 fun activities to teach your kids about equality
When I look back at lockdown I think I will remember a time where more of us became activists and minority voices, which had previously gone unheard, were loud and proud and gaining traction. At City Kids we’re advocates of equality and we promote equality from every corner of the brand. Diversity and inclusion expert, Esther Marshall, has compiled five fun activities to teach your kids about equality.
Equality as a concept is one that you wouldn’t necessarily think a child would understand. However, in today’s society it is critical children grow up understanding what equality means and how it can affect them and others around them. Behavioural studies show us that by the time children are as young as 1 they can understand the world around them and by 3 they know the difference between genders. Small actions such as showing children non-stereotypical and non-limiting characters found in books, films and any other media, or ensuring that the cooking and cleaning of the house is divided up equally and calling out discrimination when you see it can redefine behaviour patterns for this and the next generation creating a more equal society and economy.
So how can we make this concept of equality something fun to learn for children? Here are 5 ways which will make the conversation about equality fun, authentic and exciting to talk about with your children.
You will need a globe, either one you have at home or a world map on a screen or you can print it off. Ask children to close their eyes and spin them round and then point to a country. Each time they pick a country you can talk about topics such as access to school, access to food and water, access to toys like them and access to opportunities like them. It’s a great way to show children that not everything is equal in the world and also a great way to teach children about other cultures. Each time they point at a country it’s good to look up the culture of the country and learn something about the children in that country. It can therefore be a game where both parents and children are learning about the world, in turn making them more worldly and culturally aware which will in turn seriously help them in understanding equality.
Get two sheets of paper. Label one Girls and one Boys. Then proceed to ask them to put the following words listed below into either the girls or boys side or both. Of course, add in any others you can think of.
- Different jobs e.g Police, firefighter, hairdresser, lawyer, doctor, nurse, pilot, zoo keeper, teacher, scientist, Dentist, Cleaner, Builder, Bus Driver etc
- Different sports e.g Football, ballet, tennis, swimming, basketball, netball, cricket, darts, hockey, rugby, rowing,
- Different emotions e.g sad, happy, anxious, crying, strong, smart, brave, afraid, nervous, confident
- Different objects e.g Bikes, Dolls, Scooters, trains, balloons, butterflies, cars, dogs, cats, comic books, reading books, cuddly toys, drums, fairies
- Different house work jobs e.g washing up, laundry, cooking, baking, cleaning, food shopping
Ask them why they put certain words on each list and let it lead naturally into a conversation as to why both genders can do the same things.
Go outside and get children to pick up as many different colour objects as they can find e.g. leaves, flower petals, sticks etc. Then get them to stick them down on a piece of paper creating their own garden. Explain that everything they picked came from the same soil and garden but grew in different ways and needed different elements e.g. sun/water to grow but if we didn’t have all of that in the garden or park then nature wouldn’t be as amazing as it is. It’s the same in society. Many people may come from different places and grow up with different cultures and customs but we all need to live together to make up the best society we can be – an equal one.
Get white card/paper and makes stripes of the rainbow. Then colour it in and stick it together. Take away one colour and then two colours. Explain that without all the colours we don’t have a lovely rainbow and that that is the same in society. We need all races, ethnicities and genders to be part of society in an equal way in order to get the desired outcome of a beautiful rainbow.
Diversify your book shelf. Only 7% of the children’s books published in the last 3 years have featured characters from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic Groups. Ensure that you take time out in your day to read to your children which show non stereotypical characters and characters that don’t look the same as your child. It will help to bring up the conversation and start to build up positive stereotypes to ensure your child grows up wanting to be part of an equal society. Some examples of books to get are Sophie Says I Can I Will, The Proudest Blue, Look Up, The Mega Magic Hair Swap, Ruby’s Worry, Ravi’s Roar, Pink is for Boys and All are welcome.
Esther Marshall is a Diversity and Inclusion expert, mental health activist and the author of the The Sophie Says children’s books series – which make life’s most important lessons fun to learn. For more educational content follow Sophie Says on Instagram @sophiesaysofficial