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Teaching a Toddler about Race

Teaching a Toddler about Race

Raising a racially conscious child is something that has been important to me even before my child made his way onto this earth. Being a teacher, it is a topic I’ve thought about often, in order to be responsive to the diverse array of students that come into my classroom and so that I can seek to give them all a platform for bringing their wonderings about this topic to the forefront.

Research has shown that children are able to nonverbally begin categorizing people by race and gender by six months of age (maybe even earlier) and that by ages 3-5 children not only categorize people by race, but even begin to express bias based on race (Winkler, 2009). To me, this brings two key ideas to the forefront – first being, that neither children, nor we as adults are “colorblind”. Colorblindness is more or less this idea of  “I don’t see color” or “I see everyone as the same”. But the fact of the matter is, we do and we should see color. We should be acknowledging each person’s uniqueness, personhood and experiences. It’s important. It matters. The second being, that we need to be talking about the concept of race and even racism, for that matter, with our kids long before they enter their school years. It needs to be something that we do on an ongoing, everyday basis through our everyday interactions.

This week I began to introduce some of the very basics of race to Asher. We read stories and did activities which enabled us to begin to have these conversations that I intend to continue and build upon as he grows. I want him growing up in a space where it is not only safe to talk about it, but it is encouraged and it is normal.

As those of you who have followed along with our weekly learning themes know, we also do a library haul to kick off our week. Above are some of the texts we read together this week, although I will admit, I had an additional bin full as it was just too hard to choose only a few.

On Monday, we read the book “Every Little Thing” , and as we read I shared and pointed out to Asher all of the different colors of skin that I noticed. We talked about how some of the children’s skin were lighter colors and some were darker, and how each child’s skin was unique. After reading, I pulled out several of our Crayola Multicultural Markers and gave Asher one marker at a time to color a variety of child-shaped cutouts. After he finished coloring, we took the time to talk about how all of the colors were different and even worked to place a few of them next to some of the characters in the book that had similar skin tones as those we colored.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we continued our discussion of diversity by learning about our hair and eyes. We read the book “Puffy” to launch our discussion on hair. I specifically picked this book as it gave Asher a chance to see examples of hair uniquely different from his own. After reading, we talked about different types of hair that children may have ie. curly, straight, bald etc. We then worked to match our cards with different hair types to those we saw in a variety of our stories throughout the day.

In discussing eye color, Asher and I first read a story where similar to what we did with noticing skin colors the day before, I took the time to explicitly point out to him the array of eye colors I noticed that the children had. After doing this, I shared 4 images of children with different eye colors with him, and we talked about what color their eyes were. Then I assisted Asher in selecting the crayon that matched that color so he could color a pair of eyes to match them to that color. In the days following, we were able to come back to the activity and have him work to match the eyes he had colored with the printed images to continue to practice as well.

Later in the week, we read one of my absolute favorite texts to launch a discussion on this topic, ‘The Colors of Us“. In the book, the little girl, Lena, makes note of all of the different colors and shades of people in her neighborhood using an incredible array of adjectives. She then goes on to paint portraits of these individuals keeping these descriptions in mind. After reading the story, I had Asher help me to mix some of his paints to make a color similar to his own skin skin and hair. I drew a face shape on his paper prior to painting and helped guide him to paint inside of it to create his face shape. I gave him a blank piece of paper for painting his hair color and let him have at it. I then later cut out pieces from the page to glue the hair on his head. Finally, once all was dry, I helped guide him as he glued on his eyes and mouth, and he watched as I labeled his skin, hair and eye color, and we talked again about where he could locate these on his body.

To conclude our week, I wrote this song for us to sing (it could certainly be used as a poem as well) to continue to review all of the concepts we had learned. It is called “Thank You, God”, and is meant to serve as a reminder that God created us all to be the beautifully unique people that we are. In English it shares “Thank you God for my skin, ….for my hair… for my eyes…, and that we are all unique! I am hoping it’s one we can continue to come back to time and again in our home.

Looking for more information on talking about race and diversity with your child?

Here are some of my favorite resources:

Book Ideas for Kids:

How to Choose Outstanding Multicultural Books

We Read Too App

Books, Toys and Activities for Talking about Race


Why I Teach My 2-Year Old About Race

Children are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race

Tips for Talking to Children about Race and Racism

How White Parents Should Talk to their Kids About Race


I’d love for you to share some of your favorites as well in the comments or via email, so that I can add them to the list!


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About Me

About Me

Hi, I'm Mrs. Happ! I love Jesus, Mr. Happ and being a mama to our little man. I live off of a steady stream of bone broth, kombucha, Spanglish & top knots. And when I'm not busy chasing a toddler, I love me a good creative endeavor. Welcome to our "HAPPy Healthy Casa". I'm so glad your here. Read More


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  • Just your typical morning tower building. 😋
#ad Not only do we enjoy crafting top notch towers over here, but we appreciate using top notch supplements as part of our daily routine as well. I started using @ancientnutrition Bone Broth Protein a few years back to support my gut and immune health, and I’ve only grown to love this company, their products and what they stand for more since. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In addition to our Bone Broth Protein, some other products we are loving lately include:
*Multi Collagen Protein Strawberry Lemonade 🍋: Supports skin elasticity and healthy joint function, not to mention it’s perfect for sipping in the summer time.
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So now I’m curious, if you could build a tower out of some of your favorite supplements, what would you use? #ancientnutrition
  • 🌱Asparagus Painting 🌱
I know I always say vegetables make the best paint brushes. But asparagus may be top dog when it comes to mimicking the real deal. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
We practiced some letter tracing today with this vegetable, and I let Asher pick out some all natural paint from the refrigerator to use for dipping.
His choices today: Organic Maple Syrup 🍁, @tessemaes BBQ Sauce and @sirkensingtons Chipotle Mayo. Quite the array 🤷🏼‍♀️. He dipped, traced a few letters, and then basically just went to town using his asparagus as a spoon to indulge in all of his “paint” selections 😂. Kinda figured that may be the case- and I was 100% okay with it as each time he snagged some sauce he also put that asparagus in his mouth and even ventured to try a bite. Plus it made for a great sensory experience as he was covered in it all by the end. .
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  • D is for Dates. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
(Or as we call them in our “casa” - Dátiles.)
We love dates over here and they are darn close to being called a staple in our home. We love wrapping them in bacon for mealtime. Stuffing them with nuts, nut butters or vegan cheese for snacks. And we love adding them into smoothies and treats if we are looking for a pop of natural sweetness. This fruit is chalked full of potassium and fiber and rich in antioxidants, and thus, I think it deserved to receive a day of recognition 😉. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This morning Asher helped me pit our dates and combine them with other ingredients like avocado, hemp seeds, coconut and cacao powder to create this “No-Bake Chocolate Avocado Bites” recipe from my incredibly talented amiga @thenaturalnurturer. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
After we created our balls, I asked Asher what he would like to roll them in. I told him he could choose three things, and I would choose three so we had a variety of different tastes. Asher chose to roll his in food-dyed sprinkles, cinnamon, and coconut. I chose walnuts, hemp hearts and beet powder for mine. And yes, in case you are wondering, they taste as heavenly as they look.
  • 📖 My Story: Part #2 📖 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Life seemingly went back to normal as I knew it after my health scare my junior year. (See Part #1). I was ready to move forward and enter into my college years and into my first career as an elementary school teacher. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Through that time I would notice on and off that when I ate certain foods they seemed to “run right through me”. And that my gut maybe wasn’t “pleased” with my choices. But, let’s be honest, it tasted good, and I wasn’t really gaining any extra weight, so it couldn’t have been that bad right?
Flash forward a few years into teaching, I came down with what appeared to be hives all over my chest, neck and face. The doctors thought I was having an allergic reaction and prescribed me steroids to calm it down. After a few days, it hadn’t gotten any better. In fact, it was getting worse. Which is when they decided to do a strep test and realized I had been misdiagnosed and actually had a case of scarlet fever, which is caused by the same bacteria as strep throat. Thus, after being on a steroid for several days, I was now put on an antibiotic protocol as well. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Needless to say at the time, I had no idea about how I could use probiotics, diet or supplements to support me through this. I just thought once I finished my course of meds I’d be good as new. However, what I learned the hard way was that after years of not caring for my gut the way I should, and after countless rounds of antibiotics in high school and now, my gut, and in turn, my body had finally reached their tipping point. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
To be continued...
Outfit: @fabletics Use the link in my profile to snag it or check out their other options to best match your shape and style. #myfabletics #moveinfabletics
  • Popsicles. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sticky fingers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sweaty hair. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
No pants. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This is what most days entail right now, and we are soaking it all in. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I spent some time this morning refreshing a blog post I wrote last summer about this time entitled “9 Front Porch Activities for Toddlers”. While we love getting out and about and exploring our community this time of year, we also love hanging right outside our own front door. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The post highlights different learning, sensory and family activities with minimal prep you can do alongside your little one on those day’s you just feel like laying low. And, while they are geared toward toddlers, all are still things that are certainly appropriate for preschool and even early elementary as well. {Link in profile}. .
#creativekids #toddleractivities #kidsactivitiesblog #kidsart #summeractivities #preschoolactivities #totschool #preschoolathome #teachermom #homeschoolingideas #naturalmama #unschooling #wildandfreechildren #freerangekids #raisingragamuffins #learningthroughplay #the_sweet_life_unscripted #themagicineveryday #alldaykids #let_there_be_delight #lifewithlittles #healthykids #homeschoolblog #celebrate_childhood
  • My two favorite refreshers during hot summer days:

1. Watermelon and cucumber water to hydrate 🥒 🍉 
2. Essential Oil “Cool Down” spray to sooth my skin 💦 
Here’s the recipe:
5 drops Peppermint
5 drops Lavender 
3 drops Eucalyptus

Add to a 2oz spray bottle. Fill the remainder with half unscented witch hazel and half distilled water. Shake er’ up, and it’s ready to go!
Spray Inspo: @byoilydesign .
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#ecofriendlyhome #holisticliving #parentingblog #healthylivingblogger #mombloggers #momblog #holistickids #healthykids #nontoxicliving #healthblog #healthbloggers #healthyfamilies #oilyfamilies #oilyfamily #plantpowered #nontoxichome #cleanbeauty #diybeautyproducts

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