Kids and dolls

Playing with dolls is one of the favourite pastimes of the great majority of little girls, and has been for as long as records have been kept on the subject.  Dolls are miniature humans, whether babies, adults or any stage in between, and the interaction with these pretend people is a source of great enjoyment as well as a valuable learning tool.

Beginning in infancy, dolls are a friendly comforting presence, and they help in developing coordination and grasping skills as well as providing sensory stimulation with different colours, textures and soft noises or music.  Children begin playing made-believe as early as 11 or 12 months of age, and ‘pretend play’ is part of a healthy development.

Toddlers with a baby doll to carry or push in a toy stroller, put to bed, talk to and cuddle get some good practice in assuming roles and interacting with another child.  They also begin developing the motor skills for a growing body, and social skills such as language and sharing.

Children imitate their parents as they learn, and little girls (and boys) will assume the role of parent with their baby doll, copying the actions of Mommy and Daddy in caring for, protecting, feeding, bathing and otherwise relating to the behaviour of adults.

Another important benefit of dolls and their accessories is the opportunity for children to create pretend scenarios based on actual events that may be stressful and even traumatic.  They can write their own script, so to speak, and replay the event as often as necessary to make it less threatening and more understandable.

Overall, dolls are one of the best learning tools for youngsters to develop cognitive and social skills, language and conversation, and values such as discipline, cooperation and responsibility.  Besides that, they provide many hours of fun for little girls – and little boys.  Though dolls for boys are usually labelled ‘action figures’, the benefits are basically the same.

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