Press Release: Historicons is Changing the Face of Toys, Games, and History
Changing the Face of Toys, Games, and History: A Look Inside Historicons’ Cutting Edge Diversity Efforts
Historicons introduces innovative play-based learning tools that educate and empower kids using diverse icons and lesser-told events of U.S. History:
- Designed to equip parents, guardians, and educators with fun and easy-to-use resources that guide discussion of America’s history, including topics of diversity and identity, in an age-appropriate way
- Created by a team of child development, education, and design experts to promote critical thinking skills, long term memory, empathy, and positive identity development
- Pre-order on Kickstarter now, to bring Historicons products to life.
11 November 2021
For immediate release
Contact: Rose Perry, Ph.D., Co-Founder | firstname.lastname@example.org
We were puzzled by the lack of diversity in our toys, so we did something
America’s student population has never been more diverse, with children of color making up over 50% of K-12 students in America. Yet, the toys and school curriculum that they are exposed to are not nearly as diverse as the students themselves:
- A 2020 report of one of America’s most diverse school systems—New York City—found that 83% of books used in the public school curriculum from 3-K through 8th grade were written by white authors, despite white students making up 15% of the public school population. Additionally, white characters made up the majority (51%) of book cover characters when compared to other racial and ethnic demographics.
- A study by the National Museum of African American History and Culture found that, on average, only one to two lessons (or 8 to 9 percent of total class time) are devoted to Black history.
- Even fewer class resources instruct on Disability history and LGBTQ+ history, among other diverse narratives of U.S. history.
- In a viral survey conducted by Historicons earlier this year, over 90% of parents reported wanting toys and games for their kids that reflect diversity, but only 60% of them reported feeling prepared to discuss topics of diversity and identity with their kids.
In the absence of a national curriculum, educators and parents are largely left to their own devices to ensure that kids receive a well-rounded education on American history. Historicons is taking the burden off of parents and educators, by providing learning tools that make it easy and fun to teach kids about the diverse historic events they should know about, even if they aren’t included in school curricula. Historicons’ debut collection of learning tools is available for pre-order now, for a limited time only here on Kickstarter.
Our Debut Collection
Our first collection of learning tools includes three puzzle-based learning games, featuring extraordinary historic events and the people who made them happen:
- The 504 Sit-In (celebrating Disability history)
- The Little Rock Nine (celebrating Black history)
- The Stonewall Uprising (celebrating LGBTQ+ history)
Designed to encourage inquiry and investigative group play, these one-of-a-kind puzzle-based games transform their players into a team of historians, on a mission to piece together the past as they work together to complete the puzzle. By deciphering clues hidden in each puzzle’s design, players search for the “Who?, What?, When?, Where?, and Why?” behind pivotal moments in history. When the puzzle is complete, players check their work using the provided key, to unlock the meaning behind each clue, as well as a full description of the historical event. Each game also comes with a glossary of terms, discussions guides, and resources (including lesson plans for educators), to help parents/educators break down the historic event, and related topics on identity and diversity, in an age-appropriate way.
Made by child development and education experts, Historicons games were designed to promote critical thinking skills, long term memory, empathy, and positive identity development. Suggested ages 5+ (great for adults, too!).
Our innovative approach
Historicons group puzzles were designed to be used how kids learn best, through play-based social interactions. And they were designed not just for kids, but for their caregivers too, by providing them with the tools they need to discuss complex topics on diversity and identity with confidence, in a developmentally-appropriate way.
“Children use play to process their lives and the world around them. By harnessing play, parents and educators can facilitate important conversations about diversity and identity in a developmentally-appropriate way.”
⏤Rose Perry, Ph.D., Developmental Neuroscientist & Historicons Co-Founder
Research highlights the importance of discussing diversity and inclusion with kids from a young age, but these discussions are not always taking place:
In a survey conducted by Historicons earlier this year, only 50% of parents reported that they began to discuss race, gender, disability and/or identity traits with their kid(s) by the age of 5.
Studies have found children can begin to show signs of racial bias by as young as 4 years of age.
Understanding and addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion can be challenging, which is why some parents may shy away from having these conversations with their kids.
History provides a particularly useful and powerful way to invoke discussions around diversity and inclusion with kids. By exposing kids to diverse narratives of U.S. history, Historicons is allowing kids to discover stories of people, just like them, who changed the world. In doing so, learning lessons of diversity and inclusion through history helps kids not just remember the past, but empowers them to transform the future.
“Learning about how people made choices in history can positively impact how you make choices in your own life.”
⏤Rajiv Fernandez, Published Children’s Author/Artist & Historicons Co-Founder
What the research says
Historicons makes historically diverse and inclusive games and toys, because representation matters for healthy child development:
- Research shows that multicultural education improves the self-esteem of students of color, and promotes a greater appreciation for cultural diversity in all students.
- Research also shows that when students see themselves and their experiences reflected in their learning tools and curriculum, they are more likely to achieve at higher levels, be academically engaged, and motivated.
- Students who feel a sense of belonging and identity in school are more likely to be engaged in society more broadly.
- Academic research has found that exposing children to stories and discussions about disability promotes a more positive attitude towards people with disabilities.
- Students in schools with LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum are 82% more likely to report that their classmates accept LGBTQ+ people than students in schools without LGBTQ-inclusive curriculums.
What Parents and Educators are saying
"With so many states passing mandates about teaching history from underrepresented groups, these puzzles have an opportunity to fill a need as an educational product." ⏤Charlotte Taylor, Educator
“This is a phenomenal resource to engage young learners about the diverse, robust world in which we live. I am building an anti-racist curriculum for my school. Having resources like Historicons is essential to build a world full of both windows and mirrors, for kids to see into different identities and have their own reflected back.” ⏤Rohini Ramnath, School Principal
“These colorful puzzles brought our family together! It was not only fun to construct but also led to a discussion about LGBTQ+ history and individual rights, and as a gay dad that was really meaningful.” ⏤Mark Bearak, Dad
Historicons was co-founded by Dr. Rose Perry, Ph.D. (Developmental Neuroscientist) and Rajiv Fernandez (Published Children’s Author/Artist). Growing up as a child with a disability (Rose) and a child of immigrants (Rajiv), we rarely felt represented in the toys or media around us, or even in our history books, giving us little exposure to role models who were like us. Recognizing that this remains the reality for many kids in America, we founded Historicons, an educational toys & game company that celebrates diversity by using historical events and icons to represent, educate, and empower kids. Thanks for following along, as we grow and collaborate with other members of historically excluded groups, to piece together a more inclusive world.
Rose Perry, Ph.D., Co-founder, is a neuroscientist who specializes in child development, and the Founder/Executive Director of the applied research nonprofit organization, Social Creatures, which uses science to promote social connection and inclusion. Born with a rare form of dwarfism, Rose has learned first hand how representation and exposure to role models can empower children from historically excluded groups and inspire allyship in others.
Rajiv Fernandez, Co-founder, is a trained architect and an artist under the moniker Lil’ Icon. With a belief that sophisticated design is for all, he has published two books that playfully illustrate the connections between kids and adults. Using his signature bold and iconographic style, his artwork responds to the political and social climate in which we live and has been featured in The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, and billboards throughout New York City.Deonna Smith, Education Specialist, is a school administrator and educational justice activist, helping educator create anti-biased and anti-racist classrooms. Before transitioning to leadership, Deonna taught students in Kindergarten-9th grade. As a teacher Deonna loved helping students develop their critical thinking skills through play and inquiry. A passion for social justice and love for teaching made Historicons the perfect match for Deonna. When she's not designing new puzzles Deonna enjoys baking, hiking, and working on her doctoral degree.
Kickstarter Campaign - LIVE nowOur Kickstarter campaign is live for our first collection of puzzles through November 24, 2021. Three puzzles are available for pre-order: celebrating LGBTQ+ History, Disability History, and Black History. Rewards range from choice of one puzzle ($25) to a classroom pack of 12 puzzles and lesson plans ($300). Here is a link to the live campaign: Historicons on Kickstarter.
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