Our God is creative. When making people, He didn’t decide to create just one skin tone, but thousands, and He loves every. single. one. of us the same. It’s so important to teach this to even our youngest children on a day to day basis- not just during the month of February. The best way to do this is to make friends with a variety of people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds- I know…easier said than done in the middle of a pandemic, but in normal times it’s much easier. Before Covid, we would meet up with people from various ethnicities at library story time, at the playground, and in our own neighborhood, and many schools have a bursting variety of children from diverse backgrounds depending on where your littles go to school (if they do go to school). Another way to help your littles embrace diversity is to make sure the stories we read to them have a variety of characters that show all skin tones. In honor of Black History Month, we will be zooming in this week on the rainbow of people God has created, and their accomplishments in American history. Although toddlers are a bit young to dig into the terrible struggles of slavery and the civil right’s movement, we can still positively introduce them to the beautiful variety of colors God has created in His people and the contributions of African Americans to our society in the past and today.
–Multicultural bean sensory play: First, I bought like 4 bags of different colored beans (black, white, brown etc). As I opened and poured each bag into our sensory play cake pan, I talked about how God is creative so He made beans with different colors- and people with different colors too! As I mixed all the beans up, I talked about how people of different colors all live together in this world, and how God loves each one of us just the same and created us to be equal. Then I added some multicultural peg dolls I had painted to the pan along with some scooping tools and let my littles explore. I’m not sure if my littles really got it- but the different colored beans are a great starting point to talk about different skin colors- plus they love a good scooping activity and the beans look so pretty mixed together! I got this idea from Happy Toddler Playtime.
–Rosa Parks bus craft: I got this Rosa Parks paper plate bus craft from Happy Toddler Playtime. To make it, I folded a paper plate in half for each of my littles, then had them paint it (I guess the bus was actually yellow and green in real life- but we used grey and blue- my toddler ended up mixing the colors together anyway!) As the paint dried, I used our multicultural people cut outs from our 4th of July lessons to help my littles make mini Rosas. I just cut out hair and clothes for each one then had my littles glue them onto the cut outs. (if you don’t have any, you can make one by tracing a gingerbread man cookie cutter, or you can get a set on Amazon). When the buses were dry, I had my littles glue on windows and wheels. Then I cut a slit in the top to tuck the Rosas into. As they worked, we talked about Rosa’s story- I kept it simple for my toddler and basically said that she was told to give her seat to a white man, but she wouldn’t because that wasn’t fair and she got in trouble for it but because she stood up for herself now anyone can sit anywhere they like.
–Gold glitter trumpet craft: Real talk- this is going to make your house look like a glitter bomb! But the littles love sprinkling glitter, so we did it anyway! First we talked about how African Americans invented jazz music and listened to some Louis Armstrong. Then we made his trumpet- I drew the trumpet then filled the middle in with glue and had my littles shake, shake, shake some gold glitter on top of it. When they were finished I shook the glitter around the page to cover any spots they missed and let it dry! You can also have your little paint around the trumpet with watercolors for some added pizzaz- we just ran out of time that day! I got this from What Can We Do With Paper And Glue.
–Jazz dance party: This one was so simple, but also lots of fun! After making our trumpets, we turned Louis Armstrong back on and had a jazz dance party!
–DIY tap shoes: This was by far my little’s FAVORITE activity! First we talked about the invention of tap dancing and watched some videos on YouTube of some famous early tap dancers like Charles Coles (the inventor of tap dance) and Bill Robinson. My toddler loved these and watched them fully entranced then asked for more when they were over! LoL To make the taps, you just tie some large (we used 1 inch) washers to the bottom of your little’s shoes with string and let them have at it! SO cute!
–B is for Black History: I made a B is for Black History letter practice page for my little to do with a do-a-dot marker. He wasn’t really pumped about following instructions and “putting dots on the line to make a B” that particular day, but at least we talked about the letter and he kind of took time to practice it. (I mean- you have to roll with it sometimes when you’re teaching 2 year olds- am I right? lol)
- large washers
- gold glitter
- paper plate
- multicultural people cut outs
- multicolored beans
- cake pan
- scooping tools
- wooden peg dolls, painted