All children love playing with dolls of some kind and there is good reason for this. Doll play forms an important part of early childhood development and helps them to develop skills and learn through play.
So what exactly are your kids learning when they pick up their dolls?
When your child picks up her baby doll and pretends to feed it or rock it to sleep, she’ll also talk to it, sing to it and repeat the way she’s seen you acting with a younger sibling or copy mothers she’s seen on TV.
Older girls will use dolls to act out complicated scenarios, talking as multiple characters and building storytelling and imaginative skills.
Talking like this helps language development and helps to expand their vocabulary and improve confidence in speaking.
Dolls are also great for learning the names of body parts as you can point to eyes, ears, nose etc and get your child to repeat the name. You can also teach the name of different items of clothing and basic sentences and language concepts like “baby sit”, “baby in the bed”, “baby on the floor”, “baby cry”.
Doll play also involves dressing the doll, changing nappies, brushing hair and manipulating the dolls limbs to make them sit, stand, hold objects and so on that help to develop fine motor skills.
It’s often easier for children to dress a doll than it is themselves and practising on a doll is a great way for them to learn how to put socks on, put on a t-shirt and fasten buttons and zips. This in turn improves their independence so they’ll be able to get themselves dressed more quickly.
pretending to feed a doll involves holding a spoon and cup and again can help kids learn how to hold these items to feed themselves.
Pushing around dolls in a pram helps to develop gross motor skills, build muscles and improve coordination. A sturdy wooden doll pram is a great toy for a baby or young toddler to help them learn to walk.
Potty Training and hygiene
A doll is a great way to help kids start potty training, particularly the dolls that can drink water and wee it out again.
Choose a doll that comes with a toy potty as well as nappies and show her that the doll can sit on the potty so it doesn’t wet the nappy.
Dolls are great for acting out any kind of activity such as bathing, brushing hair or brushing teeth that toddlers often have an aversion to. After acting out the activity on their doll, kids are much more relaxed about brushing their own teeth and being bathed themselves. Bringing a doll into the bath so they can was together is also great fun and an amazingly effective way to get a water-phobic toddler into the bathtub!
Dolls are often used by psychologists when evaluating and providing therapy to children as they are such a great way to re-enact situations and talk about their feelings. A child may often say that their baby is cross or sad when they feel that way themselves.
Nuturing a baby doll helps to develop empathy skills and learn how to care for others. You can talk about how baby is crying because his nappy is wet or his hungry and how feeding him, changing his nappy and giving him a cuddle will make him happy again.
If you’re preparing for a new baby in the family, giving the older sibling a doll to care for is a great way to prepare her for the new arrival and learn more about how to take care of babies and what to expect when her younger sibling arrives. Kids also love caring for their doll alongside the real baby, copying mummy in changing nappies, bathing and taking baby for walks. buying a pram or doll carrier that looks like the real one is a great way to make your older child feel included in this time that can often be quite difficult emotionally for them.
So I thought I’d mix things up a little bit with today’s blog post by asking my 5-year-old to guest post for me… well sort of! I originally started this site because of my daughter and she loves dolls as much as any little girl so predictably, her Christmas wish list consists of mainly dolls and doll accessories. If you’re stuck for ideas of what to buy a little girl around the same age this year, hopefully this list should give you a few ideas.
And just to balance things up, we’ve included a few requests from her younger brother and some unisex toys that both boys and girls will love.
Disney Frozen Royal Sisters Anna & Elsa Doll
I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a little girl in the western world who doesn’t love Frozen and my daughter is no different. So it’s not too much of a suprise that the first thing on her list is “Anna and Elsa dolls”. This set of two dolls is amazing value considering that the separate dolls often come close to the same price anyway.
They’re about the same size as Barbie dolls about 10″ tall (Elsa is a little taller than Anna) so they’re fully compatible with all your existing doll houses, clothing and other accessories. They come wearing gorgeous sparkly gowns and crowns.
There are lots of cheap Chinese knockoff Frozen dolls around that will soon loose their limbs, tear their clothing and have hair falling out but these dolls are actually very high quality and licensed by Mattel.
Frilly Lily Cloth Doll Nappies
My daughter just had her birthday and asked for a Baby Alive doll, which of course we got for her as she wanted nothing else (she’d been watching youtube videos featuring this doll for a long time). This is one of those dolls that you can feed real water from a bottle and it wees.
It came with a disposable nappy and you can buy packs of replacements but of course after giving the doll one bottle it’s soaking wet and there’s only so many times you can dry it out and re-use it before it starts getting really filthy and the tape loses its stickiness.
That’s why I’m going to stock up on these cute towelling re-usable doll nappies that are suitable for any 14-18 inch baby dolls like Baby Born and Baby Annabell.
They can be washed and re-used forever, the velcro fastener never loses stickiness and they come in a range of different designs. I like the one pictured because it’s cute but not too girly so great if you have some boy dolls.
My Little Pony Rainbow Princess Sparkle
Now my little girl doesn’t just like dolls – she also loves My Little Ponies, just like I did when I was her age. She’s been requesting a Rainbow Dash for a while. Now this isn’t technically Rainbow Dash but I spent a long time looking at all the My Little Pony figures (which is very confusing as they all have slightly different brand names so they look like knock-offs even when they’re not) and all the Rainbow Dash dolls were kind of disappointing – small, boring, or had stupid plastic wings that would snap off in 2 seconds.
I think she’ll like this Rainbow Princess sparkles much better as it comes with a cool shimmery cape, shoes (shoes!) and lots of different hair accessories.
LEGO Classic Creative building Box
Ok onto some more unisex ideas. This is top of the Christmas list for both kids this year and really, you can’t go wrong with lego. This classic set goes back to basics (no girly lego friends here) and includes 580 blocks and pieces like windows and wheels to make all sorts of models, limited only by your imagination.
Honestly, I think every kid should have a large selection of Lego bricks and this is a great way to start off your collection. I’m really enjoying the fact that my kids are now at an age where they can enjoy building things with lego and I can also have fun helping!
Hot Wheels 10 Car Pack
Now I don’t want to get too off topic as this is a site about dolls after all, but just so my boy doesn’t feel left out (and just incase his grandparents are reading – wink!) here’s one for the boys. My son like most little boys loves cars and his current obsession is hot wheels.
There are all sorts of funky hot wheels race tracks you can get but he’s still at the age where he’s happiest racing them around the room so this multipack of cars would be pretty perfect for him. I’ve bought him quite a few of these little cars over the years and the Hot Wheels ones are great quality and last a lot longer than cheaper versions. Plus this multipack is great value for money anyway.
We’re almost into the Christmas season and it’s time to start thinking about doing some xmas shopping! Toys follow trends and every year the most popular toys sell out fast and are impossible to get hold of unless you’re willing to pay over the odds on ebay, so it’s best not to leave your shopping until the last minute if you want to get your kids the toys they really want.
Dolls are always a great option for a present and there are new models out every year – your little girl can never have enough! Along with all the accessories like clothes, bottles, nappies, feeding chairs, cots, prams and so on, there are plenty of ideas if you need some toy shopping inspiration this year.
These dolls are current bestsellers and tipped to be the hot toys for Christmas 2015 so get them while you can!
1. Frozen Sing-a-Long with Elsa
Disney Frozen dolls consider to be one of the most popular toys for 2015 and beyond and this sing-a-long Elsa doll is new for this year. She comes with a microphone so you can sing along to Let It Go in a really clever way – when you stop singing, she’ll pick up where you left off. She also says 15 different phrases from the film.
The doll itself is very beautiful and comes wearing a long blue gown with snowflake print and icy blue slippers. Little girls will love to style and brush her long blonde hair. Her dress and necklace also light up.
Just be prepared to be hearing this song A LOT on Christmas morning!
2. Disney Princess Hair Glow Rapunzel Doll
The girls from frozen are not the only Disney dolls you’re likely to find under the tree this year. This Rapunzel magic hair glow doll is another toy tipped to be one of the most sought after for xmas 2015.
This gorgeous doll is wearing a dress that looks just like the one Rapunzel wears in the movie Tangled. She comes with a golden brush and when you brush her hair, it magically glows! She also sings I See The Light. Any little girl would love playing with this doll, whether or not they’re a fan of the movie.
3. Baby Stella Peach
Baby Stella Peach has been a bestselling doll for a good reason – she’s a great quality soft-bodied doll that makes an ideal “first doll” for babies and young toddlers. She comes dressed in a soft and cuddly outfit and has a dummy that attaches magically to her mouth (with the help of a magnet!)
This doll makes a wonderful first birthday or Christmas present and there are lots of great accessories available separately including a feeding set, a changing bag, various different outfits, a stroller, doll carrier and bath set. Baby Stella is also available as a boy version.
4. Baby Annabell Doll
Baby Annabell is one of the most popular dolls for little girls who have outgrown their toddler dolls and want baby who can really drink and wet. This is the 9th version of the basic Baby Annabell doll which shows the company puts a lot of thought into updating the product and that it sells really well!
This Baby Annabell comes with a whole load of accessories including bottle, dummy, bib and a pendant. There are also lots of different Baby Annabell accessories to buy separately like nappies and outfits and a whole range of Baby Annabel doll prams.
This doll not only really drinks and wets but she also cries real tears and makes gurgling noises just like a real baby. Her mouth moves when you give her a bottle and she makes drinking sounds. This model of the doll has a special rock to sleep function and is pretty much as close as you can get to giving your girl a real baby to look after!
5. Disney Frozen Elsa Toddler Doll
Another beautiful Frozen Elsa doll wearing a gorgeous lilac and turquoise snowflake dress and tiara. She comes with a brush for styling her long blonde hair and a little Olaf snowman doll.
Younger girls prefer the Frozen toddler dolls over the barbie type versions because they’re more like baby dolls and easier to dress and play with. They’re also a lot cuter looking and encourage pretend play. This doll is suitable for kids aged 3 and up.
6. Baby Annabell Learn to Walk Doll
This is another Baby Annabell doll that are extremely popular with toddlers and young children. The amazing thing about this doll is that it actually crawls, sits up, and even walks if you hold her hand.
Girls love realistic baby dolls so this crawling and walking doll adds an extra dimension that most other dolls can’t do. It’s also compatible with the full range of Baby Annabell accessories.
7. Baby Born Interactive Doll
This drinking, wetting, and crying doll comes with loads of accessories including a dummy, bottle, potty, bowl and spoon, sachet of baby food, necklace for the doll with matching bracelet for your child, and nappy. It also has eyes that close when lying down and can be taken in the bath, unlike most other dolls. A great choice for kids from age 3 and up.
8. Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll
This is the third Elsa doll on our list so I definitely think we’re in for a Frozen Christmas! This Elsa has a magic snowflake necklace – when you touch it she says phrases from the movie and her dress lights up. Raise her arms and her necklace glows and she sings Let It Go. Elsa also comes with her friend, Olaf the snowman.
9. Lalaloopsy Babies Diaper Surprise
My daughter has been watching videos of this doll on Youtube and has become quite obsessed with it. I thought she was making up stories when she first told me about it, but no – this doll really poos out surprise charms!
So this cute little doll comes with a bottle as well as a feeding bowl and spoon. Give her a drink from the bottle, press her belly button and then check her nappy for the surprise. The doll comes with 4 nappies, each of which includes a special charm. You can also buy additional nappies separately. Once you’ve collected the charms, you can wear them on the supplied bracelet.
10. Doc McStuffins Time for your Checkup Doll
This is actually two dolls in one as you get Doc and Lambie, so I think it’s great value. Doc Talks and sings Time For Your Checkup and you can check Lambie’s heart, ears and temperature with the tools provided. As you do this, Lambie will also talk! For example pressing the stethoscope to her heart presses a hidden button so you can hear her heartbeat.