Learning Activities to Help Discuss Race with Kids

Start the conversation of race with these kid-friendly activities.

As we continue to talk about race at home, many parents are focused on resources and books to dive into the subject. There are also other creative ways to start the conversation about race with your kids.

If you love crafts as much as we do, kids of all ages can learn about race with self-portraits, painting activities and even play dough. Try these hands-on learning activities focused on diversity and anti-racism.

Diversity Princess Activity

Photo credit: Ashton’s Laughing Place

Your Disney fans will love this activity, which explores race and diversity with their favorite princesses. Ask them to color in the boxes based on the best shade for each character’s hair, skin and dress. You can easily expand this learning exercise to include other diverse toys you have at home, too.

Get the tutorial at Ashton’s Laughing Place.

Kim’s Knotless Braid Threading

Hair Love is one of our favorite children’s books featuring the relationship between a Black father and his daughter. We love this activity promoting various hairstyles and you can have kids practice their fine motor skills by adding rainbow beads to the braids.  

Get the tutorial at creative_mama_che.

Matching Hearts

Photo credit: Happily Ever Mom

This simple activity introduces race with kids as they match skin-toned mini hearts with big ones using multicultural markers. Kids can color in the hearts or you can color them in advance. Don’t hesitate to mix and match the colored hearts to show that we all belong together.

Get the tutorial at Happily Ever Mom.

M is for Melanin

Photo credit: Teaching Little Sunflowers

This activity was created to introduce the word melanin to kids. Talk about the different shades or have your child find their own matching shade.

Get the tutorial at Teaching Little Sunflowers.

M&M Experiment

Photo credit: Crayon Freckles

Sometimes visual examples allow children to understand important lessons. M&Ms are used in a sweet way to discuss different races with kids and how people look differently. While the candy comes in different colors, they all look the same on the inside.

Get the tutorial at Crayon Freckles.

Painting Activity

Photo credit: Shelves of Color

While talking with kids about race, this hands-on activity lets them explore the different shades of brown. Follow the tutorial to see what color combinations make beige, tan, chestnut and more.

Get the tutorial at Shelves of Color

Paper Doll Dress Up

Photo credit: Mama & OG

You might remember making paper doll chains as a kid. Here is a great way to use this classic craft as you talk about race with kids. We suggest purchasing People Colors Crayon Pack when coloring your diverse set of paper dolls.

Get the tutorial at Mama & OG.


Photo credit: livinlavitanova

All you need is a mirror and some art supplies to draw a self-portrait. Then your child can draw what they see! This is a great observation for kids to see their own skin color and to teach them some self-love while talking about all skin colors.

Get the tutorial at livinlavitanova.

Shades of People Handprint Wreath

Photo credit: Make it Fun

This wreath features handprints cut out with multi-cultural construction paper. You can hang up the craft on your front door for everyone to see the powerful message or even pair it with a Black Lives Matter sign.

Get the tutorial at Make it Fun Mom.

Shape Portraits

Here’s a fun way to learn about race and shapes! Cut out different shapes where kids can either make a self-portrait of themselves or try out making portraits in other skin tones.

Get the tutorial at Keep Toddlers Busy.

Skin Tone Play Dough

Photo credit: Little Stars Learning

For kids who enjoy sensory activities, work together to make skin tone play dough. Use ingredients like Kool-Aid, food coloring and cocoa powder to recreate different skin tones. When done, you can store the homemade dough in an airtight container in the fridge to play again later.

Get the tutorial at Little Stars Learning.

The Colors of Me

Photo credit: Teaching with Haley

The Colors of Us should be on every child’s reading list. Pair the book with this activity as you mix paint colors to different skin tones. If you’re trying this at home, we suggest looking through the book to match the skin colors.

Get the tutorial at Teaching with Haley and you can find a similar tutorial at Polished Playhouse

Wooden Rainbow People

Photo credit: Mama. Papa. Bubba.

If you want to add more diversity to your child’s toy collection, use wooden pegs to DIY your own. These minimalist wooden people showcase our diverse world. Have your kids help with this craft to truly understand why these toys are painted with a variety of colors and shades.

Get the tutorial at Mama.Papa.Bubba.

Egg Cracking – Diversity Activity

Your child will have two eggs – one brown egg and one white egg. Talk about how different the eggs looked outside and then have your child crack the eggs into a bowl. Ask your child if they are the same and different on the inside.

Get the tutorial at HI Mama.

Cheerios Self-Portraits

Make a self-portrait using one of the most popular breakfast foods – Cheerios. All you need is a piece of cardboard (can use the inside of the cereal box) for the background, different flavors and hues of Cheerios and glue.

Gert the tutorial at The Chaos and the Clutter.

Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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