Why It's So Important That Kids Have Access to Inclusive Dolls

The toys our children play with matter. Each new toy isn't just a plaything — it provides kids with nonverbal education about the world. If a child only plays with one doll with light skin and blond hair, they're likely to think that this is the ideal version of beauty. This can create feelings of guilt or shame — all from a simple toy that's built for fun.

It wasn't that long ago that this kind of doll was the only type available, but we're excited to say that brands are branching out in a big way, offering dolls and toys that represent people of all skin tones, hair styles and textures, body types, and disabilities. And it's about time. Ahead, you'll find a few reasons why inclusive dolls are so important for children's self-esteem, education, and imagination.

Kids Should Be Able to See Themselves Reflected in Their Dolls

Representation matters. It matters in politics, at school, in books, and during playtime. That's why we love dolls by HarperIman, a brand that's dedicated to providing children with dolls they can identify with: dolls that share their same style and help them dream big about who they can be. Dolls like the Imani and the Yumi help promote a positive self-image for girls of varying skin tones and hair textures. There's also Healthy Roots dolls, which offer washable and styleable naturally curly hair.

Kids Should Be Exposed to Dolls That Look Different Than Them

It's certainly important to show children that there are dolls just like them, but it's also important to expose them to dolls that don't look like them, either — which helps them understand that there are people who look different outside their small school and neighborhood bubbles. With just a few toys, you can teach them about diversity and how we're all special, no matter what we look like or how we're abled. This can also encourage children to ask questions about others in a safe space.

It Starts the Diversity and Inclusion Conversation Early

Discussions about diversity and inclusion should begin at an early age. It's the best way to build confidence and positivity, get questions answered, minimize microaggressions, learn from our troubled history, and bring up a generation who have their eyes and hearts open.