By Children’s Librarian Hal Patnott
Interested in facilitating conversations about self-expression and gender identity? Check out these two Discovery Kits about pronouns designed to help kids explore self-expression through play.
Playing with Pronouns kit
Wellness & Life Skills: Playing with Pronouns kit includes two dolls, They, She, He, Easy as ABC, and a game called Playing with Pronouns.
I love Playing with Pronouns because it offers multiple entry points for facilitating conversations that interrupt ingrained assumptions about self-expression and gender identity. The game comes with Pronoun Kid cards and Sorting cards.
Getting started with game suggestions
The three maroon cards (pictured below) provide six different game suggestions. The Quick Start Guide recommends beginning with Game #1 Friends Like Me! as an icebreaker.
Friends Like Me! uses all 52 letter cards spread out with the Pronoun Kid facing up. Each player takes turns choosing 3-5 cards that remind them of themselves and sharing why. After, everyone turns their cards over to look at what pronouns they use, identifying if any of the kids use the same pronouns as they do, and if any use different pronouns than expected.
You can watch example videos of Game #4 Alphabet Match and Game #6 Can You Find Me? on the Gender Wheel website.
Here’s an example of Game #1 Friends Like Me!
When I looked through the cards I chose Luna, Griffen, and Yoli, because I like to wear fairy wings like Luna, flower crowns like Griffen, and long cardigans like Yoli (pictured below).
Luna and I both use the pronoun He, but Griffen and Yoli use They.
Feeling stuck or nervous about having these conversations?
The game also comes with a Mini-Deck of Adult Support cards (pictured below). These cards are here to help you reframe how you think and talk about gender.
You’ll find advice on how to embrace exploration, stay gentle with yourself, practice consistency, make a space more inclusive, respond to pushback, and expand the lesson beyond the game.
Story Cube Kit
Another of our kits also features a game for learning about pronouns. In the Wellness & Life Skills: Pronoun Story Cube kit, you will find a copy of Melissa’s Story by Alex Gino and a set of story cubes. Check out our video to see an example of how to play.
Hal Patnott is a children’s librarian who specializes in serving LGBTQ+ young people and their allies. He is passionate about identity exploration through collaborative storytelling and imaginative play.