When is the last time you played with Mr. Potato Head toys? Well, it is still around but Hasbro is officially renaming the toy line “Potato Head” without the Mr. and Mrs. labels. The intent of the rebranding is to allow kids to show the many different faces of family, gender, and inclusion – and of course all in its beloved potato format!
Hasbro is not actually getting rid of Mr. Potato Head, who along with Mrs. Potato Head will retain their honorary family titles. However, the company will repackage the toys into a “Create Your Potato Head Family” set with two large and one small potato bodies, along with 42 different accessories in new colors and more inclusive messaging. The change is viewed as part of a larger movement towards greater diversity and inclusion for children and families.
Hasbro is far from alone in revising its toy lines. In 2019, Mattel launched customizable, gender-neutral dolls called “Creatable World” to allow kids to create their own characters. Mattel also has new more diverse Barbie dolls as well, reflecting the changes in society and women’s roles. And, American Girl dolls now has an American Boy to round out its collection.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Divide students into groups. Have each group 10 of their all-time favorite toys.
- Build the list of toys on the board and challenge students to examine the list.
- Are these toys gender-neutral, or are they directed at boys or girls only?
- Show the Potato Head site and video: https://corporate.hasbro.com/en-us/articles/create_your_potato_head_family_launching_this_fall
- Discuss with students how toys can reflect society and cultures.
- Show American Girl dolls: https://www.americangirl.com/shop/c/boy-dolls
- Show Barbie dolls: https://barbie.mattel.com/shop/en-us/ba/barbie-dolls
- What other toys could use this approach?
Sources: AdWeek; New York Times; other news sources