Check Table of Contents
- What Age is Appropriate for Dolls?
- Benefits of Playing with Dolls
- What is Pretend Play in Child Development?
Dolls are top on the list of toys that children can’t have enough of.
While the love for dolls has remained unchanged over the years, one thing about them has changed. They’re now regarded as gender-neutral toys!
I love the fact that my son can play with dolls without being stereotyped!
In the discussion below, we will learn at what age you can buy your little one a doll and the benefits of playing with dolls
Affiliate disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means that if you visit a link on our site and make a qualifying purchase, we may earn a commission. This is at no extra cost to you.
What Age is Appropriate for Dolls?
At 18-24 months, children start to love playing “pretend”, which makes it the perfect time to introduce dolls!
At 2 years, children engage in more purposeful play, and they find joy in imitating the actions of people or things around them.
It is for this reason that children around this age love things to play pretend with, baby dolls and doll beds being top on the list.
Other age-appropriate toys for toddlers include toy phones, dress-up accessories, plastic animals, puzzles, pegboards, and balls.
For toddlers, you could also get them crayons (ensure they are non-toxic and washable), paintbrushes, building blocks, dolls with accessories as well as water play toys.
For Barbie Dolls, it is advisable to wait till your little one turns 3 years.
In the next section, I will let you know why you need to get your little one dolls.
Benefits of Playing with Dolls
1. Playing with Dolls Grows Empathy and Compassion
I can recall my sister and I playing with dolls in our childhood days, acting as ‘moms’ to our dolls. Oh, how we would take care of the dolls as if they were real children!
Playing with dolls teaches children to process emotions, be compassionate and empathetic to others. It nurtures them to grow up into people who care about others, people who express their emotions of empathy freely.
This is the major reason I personally support dolls being gender-neutral.
Boys too need to learn how to take care of others, because someday, even if they’re not dads taking care of their children, they will need to take care of other people.
Playing with dolls gives your little one an opportunity to rehearse their social interaction skills.
The kids learn how to communicate with each other, how to cooperate, and take good care of each other.
Interestingly, experts have found that the part of the human brain tasked with social processing is active when children play with dolls, irrespective of whether they’re playing alone or with their peers.
Don’t forget about the language skills that come when children engage in doll play with their friends!
3. Playing with Dolls Develops Motor Skills
Have you watched a child ‘feeding’ her doll using a spoon? Or dressing up their doll in their favorite toy coat, taking time to zip/unzip it?
Well, these are excellent opportunities for children to develop their fine motor skills. They exercise the muscles on their fingers and hands, making them stronger.
As they lift the doll and place them in a crib, or even rock the doll, they develop their gross motor skills.
Don’t forget about the hand-eye coordination walking while pushing a doll stroller!
4. Playing with Dolls Teaches Responsibility
Are you concerned that your little one does not value their stuff, even pets?
Well, before you complain about how irresponsible they are, get them a doll.
Most children take care of their dolls voluntarily. They learn to feed the doll, change it, wash it, wipe off the dirt, and tuck it in during ‘bedtime’.
This builds the attributes of independence and responsibility even in other tasks.
They learn how to feed themselves, dress and undress themselves and even take care of their hygiene.
5. Playing with Dolls Builds Imagination
Most kids can watch cartoons and get carried away by the characters and the story. However, it takes imagination to engage in pretend play.
While playing with dolls, kids exercise their imagination as they create imaginary situations, every now and then, with their dolls.
With dolls, children also engage in pretend play.
Don’t know about pretend play? Don’t worry. I got you.
What is Pretend Play in Child Development?
Pretend play is simply a type of play in which children experiment with playing different roles, imagining that something/someone is real.
It basically involves creating an imaginary situation and then acting as you would if it were a real-life situation.
or instance, being a superhero, being a mum or dad, going to a tea party, playing with dolls and teddy bears, etc.
Some people call it make-believe play, creative or imaginative play, or even fantasy play.
But why exactly should I encourage my child to engage in pretend play?
Pretend play builds imagination, making your little one more flexible and creative.
What’s more, their problem-solving skills also grow as they learn how to conduct themselves in different scenarios.
Engaging in pretend play also fosters kids’ language and social skills because they learn how to express themselves in different situations.