Not all families are the same.
So why, when visiting a toy store, are the shelves filled with rows upon rows of a generic family set-up: one dad, one mom, a boy and a girl?
One couple became so frustrated with the status quo that they’ve taken the matter into their own hands, creating a new set of toys designed with diversity in mind.
When looking for presents for his friend’s children, Ez Karpf and his wife struggled to find a multiracial doll set that resembled the family they knew.
After looking in several stores, they realised it wasn’t just race that was ignored in the doll aisle – same-sex or single parent families were also under-represented.
Ez explained the dilemma to some friends – and MyFamilyBuilders was born.
Now, the team of eight designers, psychologists, illustrators, and education specialists are working together to address issues of love and diversity through play, in the hope of making the world a more tolerant place.
They’ve created a 48-piece set of wooden building blocks, so children can assemble (and dismantle!) men, women and children, creating a range of families of all races, featuring straight couples, same-sex couples and single parents.
‘Everyday, the news shows us more terrible things that are happening around the world – the same world that these kids have to grow up in,’ he said, speaking to GSN.
‘We know that kids construct the idea of families at a young age, and thought that if we could teach kids to celebrate love and the values shared by all families, regardless of color, creed sexual orientation or culture, maybe there wouldn’t be so much evidence of hatred on the news.’
He added: ’I would love to see the toy industry stop making toys “for girls” and “for boys”. I would love to see toys for kids. No exclusions.’
As well as the 48-piece doll set, the team also plan to roll out a set of accompanying board games to help facilitate easy conversations about diversity between parents and their kids.
‘I would like to encourage parents to play with their kids,’ said Ez. ‘This is an impactful way to talk to them that is subtle but powerful.
‘Though it may just look like fun and games, children learn and internalize important values with toys that will affect their perception of themselves and the world around them for years to come.’
Watch the MyFamilyBuilders video below: