The Little People People Kind pack is a first for the brand and aims to encourage better pre-school representation on toy shelves.
Fisher-Price has, on World Inclusion Day today, launches a new inclusive collection for young children – the People Kind Figure Pack.
The pack includes Little People characters that represent six skin tones, different occupations (including a recycling collector, a baker, a mother, a photographer, a doctor). Different health conditions are represented, such as vitiligo, as well as a mix of abilities (wheelchair use), genders, different ages and a range of hair styles and colours.
The release comes following an independent piece of research for Fisher-Price into how parents feel about current inclusivity and representation in pre-school toys for their little ones. The study found that 80% of parents think it’s important for children to have access to inclusive toys, and over half (59%) say they would like to see retailers do more by stocking toys which are more inclusive and better representative of British society.
Further to this, 58% of UK parents agree there is a better need for inclusivity and representation in children’s toys with just over a third (34%) stating there are ‘few to no’ inclusive toy options readily available for their children.
The research among 1,000 UK parents of children aged 0-5, also found that over half (51%) believe that toys and games often set unrealistic standards for children, with disability (39%), a variety of work professions (33%) and ethnicity (32%) three areas where parents felt more could be done to increase inclusivity.
The top five areas parents feel are under-represented in toys are: Disability (39%), Body shape (35%), a variety of professions (33%), Ethnicity (32%) and Gender (32%).
Fisher-Price Play Lab’s Lisa Lohiser, Ed.D. manager, Early Childhood Development Research, said: “From a very early age, children start to notice similarities and differences all around them. Since play is a foundation for early learning, toys such as Little People figures provide a developmentally appropriate opportunity for kids to notice the uniqueness of each figure—and to explore and appreciate those differences that are reflected within their community in a really fun way.”
Over a third (34%) also believed that toys and games that highlight inclusivity and representation could have the power to tackle stereotypes in a way which children can understand, while 37% wish they had been available when they were growing up.
Uju Asika, an expert on diversity and inclusion and an author of two books on the topic, said: “Children are never too young to start learning and interacting with a world that’s more inclusive and diverse. That’s why this new play set from Fisher-Price Little People is so important, and I really hope this prompts more toy makers and retailers to address inclusivity in their toys.”
Kelly Philp, marketing director at Fisher-Price UK, said: “We have created the figure pack to help encourage a more accepting world through the power of play by helping toddlers recognise differences in people at a young age and lay the foundations for them to become more familiar with – and accepting of – the community around them. We want the pack to act as a call to action and encourage better representation in pre-school toys across the board, but we know there is much work to be done and intend to continue our work to improve inclusivity across the whole Little People collection.”