All Different All Equal is an activity to raise children’s awareness of diversity and equality. To encourage children to see diversity as something positive. It should help them gain an understanding that although everyone is different, everyone is equal, has the same rights and nobody should be discriminated against because they are different.
What to do
1) Hand out a paper plate with eyeholes to each child. Ask them to cover their faces with the masks
2) Imagine if everyone looked the same:
- How would it make you feel?
- Would you be able to tell who was who?
- In reality do we all look the same?
3) Then ask the children to decorate their paper plate mask. Ask them to think about what makes them different and decorate their mask to express their personality, interests and feelings.
4) Once the masks have been decorated, ask the children to walk around the room wearing the masks. Then bring them back together.
5) Show all your masks on the floor in the middle of the room.
Things to think about
- How did it feel to walk around the room the second time as opposed to the first time?
- Which masks best represent reality? The plain masks or the decorated masks? Why?
- What makes people different from each other?
- Can our masks change over time? Have you always liked what’s on your mask today?
- Is it positive or negative if we are all different from each other?
- Are people treated equal if they are different from each other? What about boys and girls for example?
- What happens if we treat somebody differently because we think they are different from us?
Pick out some of the features of the masks and ask if it is okay to treat those who have a particular feature, for example the same favourite animal, different to those who don’t?
Would it be okay if the people with this feature on their mask have special rights? Give examples; like would it be okay if those who like dogs get cake while everyone else will not?
Variations for All different All equal
In the second round the children could invent and draw a different person’s face on their masks (with a different eye colour, shape, hairstyle etc. from themselves). They could also have a mood in mind – is the person happy or sad? You can then swap masks around and try wearing a new mask. Then ask:
- How did you feel about your new identity?
- Did anyone treat you differently?
- What did you think of how you looked?
- Did you feel like you changed on the inside with a new face on the outside?
Adaptation for older children
Instead of using blank masks in the first part, you can ask them to draw an ‘identity map’ or ‘molecule’ on paper to describe the different social roles and social groups they belong to, before they design their own masks. After showing the masks, ask:
- What are the most common personal and social roles?
- Is identity like a mask that we can put on or take off?
- Do you think you will gain or lose roles over time?
- What stories are told about the roles you play?
- Are there stories you don’t agree with or don’t like?
- Where do you hear these stories?
- What stories you hear do you like?
How to make simple paper masks
Firstly draw and cut out a large dinner plate-sized circle from cardboard. Mark eyes, a mouth and a slit for the nose on the cardboard, then carefully cut these out. Decorate as desired. Finally either punch a hole in both sides of the mask and attach an elastic band or string so the mask can be worn, or tape a large smooth stick or paint stirrer to the back of the mask and use as a handle to enable the mask to be held in front of your face.
Take it Further
This is an activity from the IFM-SEI publication Rainbow Resources. It contains educational activities on issues such as identity, gender equality, heteronormativity, bullying, love and families in order to promote human rights education with children on sexuality and gender rights. A PDF of the full book is available here in a range of languages.
Think more about equality and identity with our activity Youth is not wasted on the young.