When my daughter was younger, I would put together little baskets of random household items and toys for her to pull out and play with. Now I give her baskets a little more focus. I try to notice what interests her and put together a basket with materials on the theme. I call them Interest Baskets. And the first one I’ll share with you is about her love of diverse people!
I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t usually give her everything at the same time. All of these ideas I rotate out at various intervals. Sometimes she likes to sit in her highchair and look at things at the big table. Sometimes she sits on the floor. Other times she puts items into her backpack and carries them around. I don’t really limit her on what she can do with the materials, but I do encourage her to put them back in their place when she’s done.
Promoting a love and acceptance of diversity is one of my passions. We are a multi-cultural family and I strongly believe it is important for my children to see the diversity of humans in their world. It’s not a unit or a theme. It’s an everyday part of life.
[This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.]
We love books so that’s always my first instinct: to find a great book to enrich our learning. I remember my son loved staring at faces when he was little and that’s when I discovered Global Babies. For my daughter we bought Global Baby Girls, and got Global Baby Boys and American Babies from the library. All of these books are published by the Global Fund for Children and contain beautiful, diverse photos and positive, inspiring text. I don’t hesitate to recommend them!
Block Play People
I purchased a set of Kids Around the World Block Play People by Lakeshore Learning. The set contains 12 figures dressed in traditional clothing from around the world. I always try to buy toys that will grow with my child. Right now her interest is mainly just looking at them closely, standing them up and dumping them out on the basket and putting them back in. That’s developing her fine motor skills and her curiosity about her world.
As she gets older, I can think of about a million ways she can continue to use them. We can match them to their countries or flags, talk about their characteristics and similarities/differences, play matching games or just play people with them!
The back of the package contains a large photo of the figures and I couldn’t resist cutting them out and making little matching cards. I initially tried sticking them to paper, but she promptly peeled them off. So I just left them as they were.
She was actually able to do a little matching of the people to the cards!
This is the simplest idea in the world. You can get an inexpensive small photo album and put photos of friends and family inside. My mom made this one and sent it to us in the mail. Though we thought it would be more for my son who’s old enough to remember people and places, it’s actually been my daughter who looks at it all the time. She recognizes and names most all of the family now!
Faces Flip Ring
A more crafty variation of the photo book is this little flip ring I made. I just cut out cardstock circles and glued photos of people’s faces to them. I ‘laminated’ them with pieces of packing tape and punched a hole. Both of my children were interested in flipping through and finding people.
Not only is she learning her friends and family, but she’s working on those fine motor skills as she flips through. This is also super lightweight and can be tossed into a bag for an on-the-go activity.
I hope you’ve been inspired by these ideas. One of my favorite parts of teaching my children at home is following their interests and watching them explore.
Does your little one love to look at faces?