Yesterday morning we were watching Reading Rainbow (one of my favorite educational shows for kids, so we bought the seasons off iTunes). Out of nowhere my daughter asked, "Why does he have very dark skin?" LeVar Burton is still inspiring children to ask questions. :) I replied, "Because all people are different and we are different colors." This led to other questions and it became a discussion. I decided to turn the discussion into an impromptu theme for the day.
I took her to the computer (I love the internet!) and showed her many pictures of different races and cultures. I showed her pictures of mixed race families, which we happen to be! I am part Hispanic and my husband is Caucasian. My older daughter is tan with brown eyes and brown hair, where my younger daughter is fair with blond hair and blue eyes.
Ironically, she has never noticed or pointed out that our family is different colors, but she noticed it in someone else. My sister in law also pointed out how sweet it was that she doesn't view us as different colored people, but as her family. So precious!
This is when having a stash of colored construction paper is so nice. I pulled some out and fed them into my printer. I printed out several people outlines. We then cut out different color paper dolls and decorated them with eyes and hair. And we called them "Different Colored Friends." She was so happy with the finished product, she kept making more people afterward. She enjoyed making purple people with green hair, and orange people with black hair. It was a fun project and taught a sweet lesson. I believe that when concepts like this are taught early with sincerity and grace, children will grow up without the unnecessary fears and prejudices that existed before.