ToyLikeMe Movement Celebrates Kids With Disabilities

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Jan 2016
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Photo: Crowdfunder

Big changes are coming to play time! Yesterday, Barbie got curvy. And today, Lego introduced its first-ever wheelchair-bound figure that’s not an elderly person. The toy industry is finally working to represent more body types and lifestyles. But it’s been top of mind for Rebecca Atkinson for a year now.

The journalist and creative consultant noticed a complete lack of toys representative of disabilities among her children’s playthings. “When I thought about the level of exclusion that was being carried out by these powerful global brands, the pied pipers of childhood, my rage rolled," she tells The Guardian.

So she decided to do something about it. She launched the hashtag #ToyLikeMe on Facebook and Twitter, calling out to major brands to start representing the 150 million disabled children worldwide. And she recruited an army of other parents to help her in the process. In addition to regular social media outreach, these parents actually give traditional toys makeovers and post the photos online. Barbie may get a walking stick. An American Girl doll gets a hearing aid. A plastic Paw Patrol dog may become a seeing eye dog. You get the idea.

Some smaller toy manufacturers have gotten on board, but the big break came when Playmobil became a backer. And now, with Lego following suit, we’re looking forward to seeing what other brands join the growing #ToyLikeMe movement.

Want to get involved? Visit the #ToyLikeMe Crowdfunder page to help.

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