We did it! We raised our initial funds to have our card decks available for the Fall. If you missed the campaign, visit our website for more info on ordering: www.playingwithpronouns.com
What is Playing with Pronouns?
Playing with Pronouns is an educational card deck for young children designed to expand gender while learning and playing games. It rose directly from our experience as parents. We needed ways to foster inclusion and respect that were fun and could easily expand into our everyday life.
Through simple games you can dismantle stereotypes, interrupt assumptions, acknowledge the pressure of gender conformity, embrace difference, include every body—all through pronouns!
Playing with Pronouns is about expanding the way we teach and talk about gender from the beginning! Not just for one kid or a select group of kids. Research shows that all kids in more inclusive environments develop greater critical thinking skills.
These versatile playing cards offer numerous ways to engage and give a fresh and gender-inclusive take on classic learning games. Adaptable for different ages, the card deck comes with 6+ game ideas but holds the potential for many more.
- Learning Uppercase and Lowercase Alphabet
- Matching & Memory Games
- Sorting & Organizing
- Sight Words
- Learning & Practicing Pronouns
- Writing & Spelling Games
Playing with Pronouns supports:
- Empathy & Depth
- Respectful Social Skills
- Inclusive Thinking
- Playful Engagement
- Reflection & Connection
- Letting kids be kids!
What's Included in the Box?
Playing with Pronouns includes 84 Circle Cards geared to ages 4+. Inside the game box you'll find:
- 52 GREEN Alphabet/Pronoun Cards featuring a kid, their name & an uppercase or lowercase letter on one side and their pronoun on the back.
- 15 PURPLE Sorting Cards that include both pictures and words for even the youngest players and are further grouped into broader "Hair" "Clothes" and "Accessories" categories.
- 1 YELLOW Wild Card that offers even more fun things to find in the cards.
- 4 BLUE Game/Practice Cards with game ideas as well as ways to practice using pronouns that don't rely on gender stereotypes.
- 12 Card Mini Deck for Adults to provide additional support for creating safe space, dealing with push back, things to avoid and more.
The cards are geared toward ages 4-9 because this is the time when standard pronoun use is formalized in a child's education. However, these cards can be adapted for older and younger ages and are useful for grown-ups too! (We also have a 0-3 set in development).
The Playing with Pronouns card deck is a powerful antidote to the rigid gender messages kids are getting every day.
No matter how consistent you are with providing alternatives, stereotypes are everywhere in children's media. Pronouns are one of the first ways that small children are taught to gender themselves and others. This makes them a powerful place to create lasting change.
The Playing with Pronouns card deck is a tool we use with our own kid not only to counteract the stereotypes they come into contact with in children's books and movies but also to create a free space for them to grow into and express their own unique self.
The cards also provide a hands-on tool to expand characters in other games and books in order to create reflection and provide trans and nonbinary inclusion.
Based on our experience, we've found it's time to Play with Pronouns when:
- We start overhearing damaging and inaccurate gender messages from our kid or kids around them, like "Girls have long hair, boys have short hair", "Girls wear dresses" , "Boys don't wear jewelry"
- We hear 'THE QUESTION' over and over on the playground - "Are you a boy or a girl?"
- A movie, game or book reinforced gender stereotypes and we need to provide a counter-narrative that is based in truth
- We want to practice seeing beyond a false binary of "boys and girls" and only "he" and "she"
- We want to celebrate our LGBTQI+ community and kids of color
- We just want to relax into the truthFULL beauty of children's natural diversity!
At Home, In the Classroom, and Beyond...
Besides playing with these cards at home, we've used these in educator trainings and tested them in a local Bay Area classroom. The response has been great!
One teacher wrote, "Kids love it and even started using the characters' pronouns as they talked about the characters" and we heard that their students were asking specifically to play with the cards.
In educator trainings, we've had very positive reactions with teachers appreciating the hands-on playful aspect and the potential for inspiring more inclusive conversations about gender and free expression.
Watch a time-lapse of Maya painting our new poster while talking about the importance of Reflection & Belonging!
Who are We
We are queer parents who homeschool/unschool our youngest child. A large portion of our work is developed "in the field" as we playfully and tirelessly work to keep our kid as free as possible especially in relation to gender.
We also are the co-founders of Reflection Press, a POC queer and trans owned independent publisher of radical and revolutionary children’s books. Our book, They She He Me: Free to Be, that inspired this card deck, received a starred review from School Library Journal and is used by HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools. It was recently featured in their Jazz & Friends Community Reading day in support of trans and nonbinary youth.
Maya is a Chicanx, queer femme artist, progressive educator and award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. She is also the creator of The Gender Wheel, a tool to express the dynamic, infinite, and inclusive reality of gender. Matthew's expertise comes from his own trans experience and having the privilege of being raised by gay dads.
As part of the LGBTQI2S+ community we are deeply committed to creating materials that pass on the beauty and resilience of our community to our children.
We are in the process of developing curriculum, trainings and educational tools based on The Gender Wheel. The Playing with Pronouns card deck is an educational tool we developed for Level ONE of the curriculum - Language Acquisition and Inclusive Practices.
To read more about the power of language and its connection to gender, check out this three part blog series.
Watch a short stop-motion film we made about pronouns using the Playing with Pronouns card deck:
#PlayingWithPronouns #TheySheHeMe #TheGenderWheel
Risks and challenges
The cards are designed and ready to play! We have some final updates to make for our 12 card adult mini deck and the final box design but other than that we're ready to go!
We want to use this campaign to fund the first run of at least 250 card decks. Our printer is lined-up and we've walked around all the turnaround times for finalization of the card deck. So once our funding is met we feel extremely confident in getting these card decks delivered by our expected delivery date of September.
Just in time for back to school, NOT back to the binary!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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