You may not have noticed but in recent years, there has been something of atoybox revolution. Toy companies have come to realise the importance of diversity when it comes to the toys they manufacture.
Racial diversity– the first step
1960s– Mattel release Francie and Christie as their first black dolls. Customers noted that although the dolls were darker skinned, their features were effectively Caucasian.
1979– Mattel release an official Barbie with black skin.
Further strides towards inclusion – representing children of diff-ability
Up until the twenty-first century, toy companies did little to create toys reflective of amulti-abled society.
“When I was growing up in the 80s, I never saw any deaf characters in toys, books or on TV. When I became a mum myself, I decided it was time things changed. I wanted the global toy industry to act, to better represent the 150 million children worldwide with disability and difference.”
Rebbecca Atkinson, ToyLikeMe
The need for representation
Reflected in Rebecca’s words is theunderlying isolationchildren must have felt when it came to understanding and accepting their own place in the world. Despite having little or no representation in the toys they played with, children with disability made up an increasingly large proportion of society. It was time for toy companies to step up!
Acceptance through play
“The ability to take the place of others is at the root of the development of empathy. This power of the imagination can be seen even more acutely when it comes to toy figures and dolls”.
Psychologist Sian Jones on the effects of playing with toys with disability on children without disability
Who is ToyLikeMe?
ToyLikeMe is anon-profit organisationwhich campaigns for diversity in the toybox. Frustrated at the lack of representation children were seeing in a £2.9bn global industry which was supposed to be workingforthem, ToyLikeMe sent out a call to toy producers to create toys that were more inclusive of the 150 million children worldwide who would be classified as being diff-abled.
Lottie Dolls answer the call!
Established in 2015,Lottie Dolls was one of the first doll makers to respond.Since our inception in 2012, we had created a range of dolls of which 25% wore glasses. It was a start, but we knew we needed to do more!
Breaking barriers – Wildlife Photographer Mia
"A great product has the potential to be life-changing”
2016, World’s first fashion doll to wear a cochlear implantis introduced by Lottie Dolls. Mia, Wildlife Photographer acknowledged in International Design Awards.
Cochlear implantnot Mia’s focal pointjust a small part of her story.
Mia’s hobby is photography encouraging children of all abilities to take an interest in nature and wildlife.
Loyal Companion Playset
This year, Lottie Dolls released the Loyal Companion Doll. Inspired by a Hayden Geraghty, the playset included an assistance dog, noise reducing headphones and light masking glasses. As with Mia, the Loyal Companion doll isn’t presented as an “autism doll”, but instead chooses to focus onHayden’s real passion – space!
Kid Activist Doll – Children’s Voices Matter
In 2018, we worked closely with Mari Copeny also known as ‘Little Miss Flint’ to create theKid Activist Doll. Aged just 8, Mari contactedPresident Obamaasking him to intervene in theFlint Water Crisis. President Obama later met Mari in the White House in a clip which has since gone viral.
Since then,Mari has used her voice to achieveremarkable things.Inspired by her story and her achievements, Lottie decided to design a Kid Activist Doll in the hope of inspiring other like minded children to take a stand and speak up for what they believe. The doll coupled with Mari’s amazing activism tells children that if there’s something they care deeply about, they can, like Little Miss Flint,make a huge difference.
Lottie Dolls – Because children’s lives matter
Since ourinception in 2012, achieving diversity in the toybox has been central to our creative decisions. Children’s lives are hugely important and the toys that they play with should tell them so. Lottie have released dolls of colour, boy dolls, and the world’s first doll to wear a cochlear implant among many others. We’ve done a lot - and we're looking forward to doing much more!
The Lottie Collection - A big leap for children!
Since our inception in 2012, achieving diversity in the toybox has been central to our creative decisions. We have released boy dolls, dolls of colour, the world's first doll to wear a cochlear implant among many, many others. We believe childhood is precious and that every day of it should be filled to bursting with imaginative and fun toys. Likewise, we believe that acceptance comes more easily to children than prejudice and that through play, children can gain understanding of issues which may affect their peers. We echo #ToyLikeMe in our call to other toy companies tofollow our lead!