Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is important to keep in mind when you are running after school programming, camp, or extracurricular activities for children. Creating a space in which children, and their teachers, feel comfortable and safe is paramount to their success in your classes. Differences should be embraced, explored, and celebrated. (Want to learn more about how to foster diversity and inclusion in the classroom including how to use gender inclusive language? Check out our guides!).
If you wish to more actively teach about diversity and inclusion as it relates to your programming, we’ve outlined some of our favorite diversity activities for kids. We’ve even created a diversity lesson plan template that you can download and use in your classes!
Diversity activities for kids
Art projects about diversity
If you are looking to incorporate more diversity activities into your curriculum, art can be a great medium. When you are teaching art to children, keep in mind that art is all about creativity and exploration. Children should feel free to make mistakes, do things their own way, and go big with their art. Here are some art projects about diversity that you can add to your classes this year.
It might be difficult for children to fully understand what diversity means (and you could say the same about some adults!). Therefore, one of our favorite art projects about diversity is a family tree. Have the children prepare by asking their family members for guidance on building out a family tree. Then, when they have the information, they can draw and paint a beautiful tree around their family. Put these up around the room and have each child explore their peers’ families.
Create a peace quilt
Either using actual pieces of cloth or just squares of paper, have each child decorate a square and write a positive message for peace on it. Once they have finished, weave or glue the pieces together to create a peace quilt that can be displayed for all to see. Children might be surprised to see that they all have the same goals and wishes despite differing backgrounds, ages, and more.
Learn about different cultures through art
You can teach your students about different cultures through their art. Spend time learning about the artists as well as the time period when the art was created. Then, challenge them to discover more about that culture and then create their own versions of the pieces. Here are some great artists to get you started:
Multicultural activities for preschoolers
With younger children, the best way to think about teaching diversity is just to expose them to different cultures and ideas. That way, as they grow older, they recognize diversity as the norm. Try these fun multicultural activities for preschoolers in your classroom!
Try foods from around the world
Teach the little ones in your class about different types of foods and cultures and then finish each lesson by letting them try the food! Parents will love this activity for their preschoolers because it will also help them work on picky eating. Just make sure you are aware of any allergies in the room. Did you know that Sawyer gives educators the ability to ask custom form questions and then records that data right on their class roster so you have it when you need it?
Learn hello, goodbye, and thank you in new languages
Research shows that children are much more successful at language learning than adults. Even if you are not a language teacher, you can work with your students to learn hello, goodbye, thank you, and other simple words and phrases in different languages. During each lesson, teach the students about the culture or place, then go through the terms. It’s a great way to combine language learning and multicultural activities!
Make a point to choose diverse books for storytime with your toddlers and they will gain myriad benefits without even knowing it. There are so many great children’s books that cover important issues appropriately, tell different types of stories, and feature diverse characters. Choose these for storytime and both the students and their parents will thank you. Here are a few of our favorite multicultural children’s books.
- All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
- Sulwe by Lupito Nyong’o
- Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
- Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora
- The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
Diversity lesson plan
The key to any successful lesson is a strong lesson plan. Lesson plans keep you on track, help prevent your students from getting lost, and help you stay organized. To support you, we’ve outlined a diversity lesson plan to get you started.
What is the goal of this class? Will students learn about a new country or cultural figure, recreate an art piece, cook their own food, or something else? Make your objective action-oriented so you can easily measure if you’ve achieved it.
What will you need for this class? How much of each item will you need? Use this section of your lesson plan as a list and then check off each item when you have it. Not sure where to buy supplies? Check out our guide.
Lesson activities & timing
What will you actually do with the students to accomplish your objective? In this section, break down your class time into smaller activities that will help your students succeed in your goal. Make sure your activities are interactive, engaging, interesting, and doable based on your students’ ages and progress. Playing games can enhance classroom learning and Montessori teaching can help students discover their own interests and get excited about the topic. Consider incorporating these techniques into your activities.
Next to each activity, add a time estimate. Always give yourself a little buffer time at the beginning of class, between activities, and at the end. Prioritize your activities so that the most important take up the most amount of time and add a flex activity that can be done or skipped based on how accurate your time estimates were.
Use this space to take some notes during and after the class to reflect on what went well and what could have been improved. This will help you as you write your next lesson plans and map out your classes moving forward.
You can use our our full diversity lesson plan template Google doc below to write your lesson plans moving forward.
Get your editable diversity lesson plan template
We hope that this guide has provided valuable information to you as you prepare multicultural, diversity-focused activities for your classes and programs. If you are looking for guidance on managing and running your children’s education and activity business, the team at Sawyer is here to help.
With our suite of tools, like custom forms to record allergies and t-shirt sizes, flexible payment options like gift cards and installment plans, and seamless scheduling and registration on any device, Sawyer saves business owners 28 hours per month. If you are ready to spend less time on admin and more time doing what you love, see how Sawyer can help with a free trial or demo.