15 Oct 2013

Children's toys: diversity matters (too)

My daughter owns this doll. 
It was the first doll we bought her when she turned 1. She loves it and has played with it ever since.  It is currently called Alexandre


Someone actually referred to it as her "politically-correct doll". Granted, we may have been making a statement when picking it. But why on earth does it matter? Why do people feel the need to comment about a little white girl carrying around a black-skinned doll? You can bet that each time she takes that doll out and about we get at least two or three comments. These comments are not always direct. More often than not, people will say something behind our back or when they think we can't hear. Never have these come from other children. They have always been from adults. Oh how I hate it! But at the same time, I love it. I hate that they feel the need to comment. Skin colour of a child and/or her doll should not attract comments. Luckily my daughter has been unaware of these comments so far.
There aren't that many dark-skinned people around where we live compared to other countries or cities. Maybe it is one of the reason. But even in the UK, we had a few reactions.

It got me thinking about toys and dolls in particular. I have been scouring the internet for other great ethnically-diverse toys. Here are some of my finds. 

Imajo dolls

Imajo makes some cute fair-trade rag dolls with different skin colours. You can buy them here for example. I bought one for my niece and she loved it and lasted a long time.

Hears For Hearts

Hearts for Hearts also makes dolls that look different and come from a particular country. I love Rahel from Ethiopia (above).

Yui - Haba doll

Haba, a great German toy maker, also makes great dolls. We have one in their collection (Paula) and she is a current favourite. Yui is available here (for example).

PlayBac colouring book: Ashna / Indian Princess

If you are not keen on dolls, but have a child who likes to colour, I found those great little books full of colouring pages (and sticker pages). They feature different world princesses. There are several in this series from PlayBac.

A Mighty Girl

In case, you don't know them yet, A Mighty Girl has a great selection of toys, books, etc for girls that are not all about pink! How about a girl ninja costume?

Check out also: Aisha the Indian Princess or  Culture Baby.

If you have other suggestions, please do share!

N.B. I was in no way compensated for writing this. The opinions are my own.


  1. And yet I bet if she was a black child carrying around a white doll nobody would feel the need to comment!

  2. Oh my, I love every doll and toy on this list! Thank you for some great ideas for Christmas gifts. Now if only my little girl were into dolls...


  3. Great post, thank you for the link too :) x

  4. What a fabulous range of dolls. Shame I have a son... hmmmm who can I gift one of these to?

    1. How old is your son? If he's not old enough to have received the message that "boys don't play with dolls", he might love one! My little guy took care of a baby doll for a while -- now he's more likely to be feeding a baby dinosaur :-)

  5. I was fascinated by this post and the issues that you talked about here. If people comment on your daughter's doll, it's probably a reflection of the general lack of diversity among children's toys. I suppose it also shows the narrow-minded outlook of those who make critical comments - like you suggest, why should all kids be of the same race and ethnicity as all their toys? It's great to see that there are toys out there that help kids to learn about different cultures.



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