Inside: Celebrate differences and diversity with the Rainbow of Me free printable to help kids see how colorful our world is.
This year, due to the pandemic, we’re homeschooling our kids. And for the first time since they were super little kids, I am in charge of deciding what books we read.
So I’ve used this year to introduce them to some “heavy” topics about discrimination, racism, and how people throughout history use our differences to turn against one another.
This year, we’ve tackled The Watsons Go to Birmingham and To Kill a Mockingbird and The Diary of Anne Frank and Esperenza Rising and Wonder.
And with reading these books, we have had conversations about how powerful people…and not so powerful people…use our differences and “weirdness” to single out, hate, and terrorize others because of those differences: church bombings during the Civil Rights Movement and the annihilation of an entire people in the Holocaust, and racist treatment of others because “you can,” and severe bullying, discrimination, and harassment.
What we’ve “discovered” through reading and discussion is that people often hate what is different. They hate what they don’t understand. They hate what they’re scared of.
We have to take away the confusion around differences in order to take away the hate and the fear. One easy way to combat that in our day-to-day lives is to get to know others who are different than us, learn about them, and then appreciate them for their differences.
We have to celebrate what makes us all unique and different from one another: our different colors, our different languages, and our different heritages.
Because the world would be a pretty bleak and boring place if everything was the same: the same color, the same abilities, the same tastes in music.
Thank goodness the world is a colorful, diverse place to be.
But as parents and educators, it’s our job to help our kids notice the diversity around us… and then celebrate all of those differences.
And the Rainbow Colors of Me is a fun place to start.
Why celebrating our differences is crucial
There are so many incredible reasons to celebrate diversity.
Bullies single out kids who are different.
They’ll go for the only girl in a group of boys. Or the only Asian child in a group of white children. Or the child with disabilities. Or the teen who is LGBTQ+. Or the group of Black girls.
If we teach kids instead that not only is it okay to be different but our differences are something to celebrated, then different isn’t something weird that makes people stand out from the crowd. Our differences will be something to lift up and appreciate.
Older kids-and adults- tend to be scared of things they don’t understand.
So when we de-mystify our differences, we pave the way for understanding.
If you’re on Team End Bullying, Team End Hate and, Team Anti-Racism, then teaching our children to celebrate diversity is an incredible place to start.
Ideas to Celebrate Our Differences and Diversity
There are so many ways to intentionally celebrate our differences. This article is an incredible place to start.
Celebrating diversity and our differences is a great addition to any character education and sel curriculum.
1. We can read multicultural books that showcase and honor different cultures and traditions. Fill your bookcase with stories about people who are different than your children.
2. We can also read books about how It’s Okay to Be Different like these:
4. We can expose our kids to different experiences and different foods and different music.
5. We can introduce them to other kids who don’t look like them, or live like them, or learn like them.
6. We can learn about different holidays and celebrations like the Lunar New Year and Ramadan and Eid and Passover and Juneteenth.
8. We can partner students up who are have very little in common to get to know each other better.
9. And we can use this Rainbow of Me Printable to showcase how we’re all different, and different is beautiful.
How to Use the Rainbow Colors of Me Printable.
1. Download and print out the Rainbow Colors of Me Printable (download below).
2. Encourage kids to color each section with the color that best matches them. You’ll definitely want to offer multicultural skin color crayons.
3. If you’re a parent using this, your kids will most likely have a few colors the same in their rainbow…but show them that even in a family that has similar skin colors and hair color and eye color, you’re all still unique.
4. If you’re an educator, encourage the students to write their names on the back of their rainbows. Students can look at all the rainbows and see the beauty in the colors and the different rainbows.
And while it’s a perfect beginning of the school year project as you’re getting to know your students, it’s also perfect to hang up for Back to School Night or Open House so parents can try to find their child’s rainbow.
And it’s a great way to showcase and celebrate, all the colors of your students.