Yasmeen Kamrani Sallam
Invitation to Explore Our Skin
When we teach children about diversity from an early age it encourages them to value and respect differences. Opening up the conversation and awareness of how they are alike and different from others, and what this all means, in the context of a culture and society will empower them to develop understandings and form deeper and more respectful bond with one another and society as a whole. Laying the foundation early on about the beauty in our differences will give children a deeper appreciation of humanity and diversity for the rest of their lives.
Before setting this invitation reading the books Our Skin, The Skin You Live In, Shades of People, and Skin Like Mine are great books to continuously read with children to provide the language and content of the differences within people.
After reading those stories you can invite the children to play with toys such as My Family Builders that celebrate diversity. These people builders empower children to freely imagine and combine endless possibilities to showcase how everyone is unique. Toys that look like other people help to develop that empathy, and it helps give them a healthy idea of their place in the world.
Next you can set out a variety of paint swatches in skin tones to bring awareness to the different shades of skin along with Colors Like Me paint from Discount School Supply. Provide people shape cut outs and let the children paint what their skin tone is. They can mix the colors and through this process it teaches the child about their colors, how to create new colors, and how unique everyones skin tone is. Through painting it can really blossom their language, awareness, empathy, and be emotionally soothing, too.