Howard University Alums Create Puzzles for Black Children
In 2018, Howard University alumni Matthew and Marnel Goins created Puzzle Huddle to address the lack of diversity in the toy market. The couple shared why they created the puzzles with “Because Of Them We Can,” a site dedicated to promoting black excellence.
“As a new father, my first two children were girls and I really struggled getting into tea time and playing with dolls. I eventually discovered my kids’ interest in puzzles and I probably went a little overboard buying puzzles online. After some time, I looked around and realized that none of the puzzles featured diverse characters. Although the puzzles were fun, they didn’t have characters that looked like our kids, our family, or our community.”Matthew Goins
Because of this, Matthew began to create puzzles out of cardboard and foam boards for his daughters, and eventually, he found an online manufacturer and created puzzles for children that displayed images of African-Americans. Puzzle Huddle showcases black children in career settings, bible adaptations, learning tools and cultural images. The puzzles come in four different sizes and are recommended by age group. Marnel Goins says it’s important that all children, no matter what race, are able to learn and see themselves reflected in their puzzles and toys.
“The puzzles are a manifestation of a much bigger idea where we want to inspire and affirm children toward education and high achievement. Kids deserve to have toys that match their skin tones and hair textures, which can provide them with a sense of confidence and value. We appreciate the opportunity to share positive images with families.”Marnel Goins
The Goins want to expand Puzzle Huddle one day. Their hope is to enlarge their puzzles to include designs that reflect the fullness of the African Diaspora, Latino-inspired designs and other types of career images.