Learning About Diversity

posted in: Parenting | 9

Learning About Diversity - a book -based activity We recently got the opportunity to a children’s book that was intended to spark conversation and awareness about diversity in our world.

The book, Beautiful Rainbow World #afflink, was inspired by song of the same name.  The three verse song has  been used around the world, and was written by by DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou).  Published by Multicultural Kids —  crowd-sourced, with a photo contest, and an additional verse written (by Suzee Ramirez), every book includes a free download of DARIA’s song.  Here’s the first verse and refrain:

Today I woke up to see

A beautiful rainbow world

Won’t you dream it along with me?

A beautiful rainbow world

Beautiful rainbow, beautiful rainbow

Beautiful rainbow world

Red, black, yellow, brown and white,

A beautiful rainbow world

We used the book in the context of a book-based activity to learn about diversity.  Toby loved the simplicity of the book, and I think we both found the song lyrics to be calming and contemplative, even when spoken rather than sung. Since our initial reading, this book has been read multiple times; Toby has enjoyed examining the pictures and talking about the people he sees.

And then, as an extension activity, we made popsicles.  Bear with me, this will make sense and relate to the concept of diversity in a minute.  I got these neat rainbow colored set of popsicle molds #afflink, and we filled them with raspberry kombucha.  Toby was thrilled and enjoyed checking on them in the freezer every few minutes (until I told him to leave them be for a while). As we waited for them to freeze, we read Beautiful Rainbow World and talked about how no two people look alike.  Everyone is different, some people have different colored eyes, others have different colored skin.  But despite our differences on the outside, that doesn’t change the fact we are still all people, we are all alike at our core.  Then, I pulled out one of the popsicles, and asked him — “none of these look the same, do they?”  After he agreed, I reminded him that despite their differences in popsicle mold colors, the popsicles inside were all the same flavor.  And that was our diversity lesson, simplified for a toddler.

I realize that diversity and acceptance are not a one-time discussion to be had with my child.  We talk about differences as the opportunity for conversation arises in real life.  Like when my son is intrigued by the grocery store greeter in a wheelchair.  Rather than just hushing his inquisitive nature, I’ve found it best to acknowledge his observation and help him understand that some people need help getting around.  Toby then proceeded to engage in conversation with this particular individual, and they talked about the wheelchair’s light-up wheels were neat.  Rather than trying to ignore the fact that this world contains diversity, I want my sons to realize and accept the diversity in the world around them.  I’m happy that we had the opportunity to review this book so that the topic of diversity can be incorporated into our reading routines.

Click on any image below to enter gallery view mode.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinons.

9 Responses

  1. Leanna @ Alldonemonkey

    This is just brilliant! I love the popsicle mold analogy – so easy for a young child to relate to! I’m totally going to use this!

  2. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Leanna! I was really fortunate to have this idea pop into my head. One of those “aha!” moments for sure. And I think my toddler really got the point, too!

  3. Bekki@a better way to homeschool

    I like the way you used pop-cycle sticks to introduce diversity!

  4. Chris Bournea

    I agree that diversity is not a one-time discussion with your child, it’s an ongoing education process for adults and children alike.

  5. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories

    Great idea! This sounds like a beautiful book. My kids are biracial and it has presented its own set of challenges in their cultural identity and the questions their friends have about their background. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday linkup as always. New linkup starts at 8pm.

  6. Betsy Finn

    Thanks! It seemed to make a lot of sense to my toddler, so I was really glad about that.

  7. Betsy Finn

    That’s so true, Chris. We adults tend to forget about it’s not an “issue” simply for children to learn about.

  8. Betsy Finn

    Thanks, Tanya. Yeah, talking with kids about diversity is interesting, sometimes it reminds me of the fairytale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” …as adults we often “pretend” there are no differences, thinking that our silence on the matter conveys acceptance. But kids see the difference, and ask questions. Embracing diversity sometimes means talking about those differences.

  9. […] (or simple) as you want it to be. Just make sure you have some popsicle molds!  We found a set of silicone popsicle molds ad used them to talk about diversity (the popsicle molds were all different colors, but inside […]