Few things in life are more appreciated than the toys we owned during our childhood. For me, it’s my collection of dolls that holds a special memory of the times when I was a playful, curious child who takes care of her dolls and their house. And I still remember how I got each one of them. The first doll was a gift from my grandmother.
She went out of town for a couple of days and it was the first time the two of us were separated for so long. I was sad and crying a lot, but when I saw her standing in front of our door and handing me a beautiful doll my world went back to normal and I was happy again. Only this time I had something that was precious to me and didn’t want to let go of.
My family noticed how much I enjoy playing with my doll, so they got me another one and then another one, and each one of them had a role in my imagined world. One was a mother, another one was a daughter, the third one was an aunt and so on… Even when I stopped playing with dolls, I still took good care of them and was proud of my collection. But the day when I moved out of my parent’s home, I had to leave them behind.
I didn’t think much of them until my daughter’s first birthday came. She got a lot of dolls for baby that day from friends and family members and I remembered my dolls, I was hoping that all the dolls my daughter got will bring her joy and happiness and she’ll love playing with them as same as I did. But then I read an article in some baby magazine about the importance of dolls in kids’ life, which gave me a new perspective on these toys.
Why Dolls for Babies are a Great Idea?
Dolls are some of the oldest kids’ toys and there is a good reason why they’ve been so long-lasting throughout centuries. Children learn by doing and dolls for baby are a great way to stimulate your children’s imagination and help them gain a better understanding of themselves and the people around them.
Playing with dolls can be beneficial for emotional development in children and help them create a safe environment in which they can play and see the world from other perspectives and learn empathy and interaction strategies. Very often, when children play with dolls, they use them to fill in for friends or create realistic worlds.
The great thing is that dolls these days are optimised and modernised, reflecting the world our children are growing up in. And it works because kids don’t need instructions to understand how to play them, but it comes naturally.
Benefits of Dolls for Babies
Today, I am a mother of two and I’m really focused on organising quality playtime for my kids. I learned that doll play has benefits for both boys and girls. Toy dolls allow our children to own and play with them during their toddler years and here are some of the benefits they provide to children’s growth.
Develop Cognitive and Fine Motor Skills
Dolls help children practice their cognitive and fine motor skills by applying them to something else before they start applying them to themselves. Typically, around the age of two or three, children begin to act as if their doll can interact with them, so they are changing the doll’s clothes, feeding it or putting it to sleep.
Getting clothes on or eating alone can be tough for children sometimes, but it can be easier to master these skills by practising on a doll first. When feeding their dolls, children practice holding and using spoons, bowls, bottles and other feeding items.
Moreover, pretend play gives them an opportunity to practice hygiene skills as well, such as brushing hair and teeth, washing hands and taking baths, even with pretend water. It can help them learn the steps taken during these activities and have more control over the experience.
Develop Social and Emotional Skills
Through play, children practise nurturing and caring skills and most often they repeat the moves they see a parent or caregiver is doing. I found this very helpful when my second child, my son, was on the way, to prepare my daughter for the coming of her little brother to our world.
By carrying, holding and feeding her favourite baby doll, we practised how to be loving to the baby boy that’s in momma’s belly. She was imitating whatever I was doing and it didn’t take long until she took the role of a caregiver for her doll. For me, it was a great way to see that she’s able to be in control over things in a safe way.
Develop Speech Skills
Lastly, having toy dolls is a great way to expand your children’s pretend play, so they can learn new words through play. It’s a fun yet effective way to use and practice their speech and language skills. Usually, it starts with teaching various body parts like eyes, ears, nose, fingers, hands, feet and more. This way the kids get an opportunity to practice their vocabulary and generalise it to the people around them.
As mentioned above, children can change their baby doll’s clothes, which is a chance to teach them the names of different clothing items like dresses, shirts, pants, socks, hats or else. Also, they can include other items in their play, such as a bed and blanket and can learn some basic concepts like colours or prepositions when the doll is in the bed or under the blanket, for instance.
The same goes for learning the words for the feeding items and verbs like eating or drinking. The easiest way to benefit from their pretend play is to as them different questions to work on their understanding of all those words at the time when they’re engaged in play. As you ask the questions, they can point to the right items, body parts or clothes.
Playing with dolls can help them learn appropriate social and pragmatic skills and is important for the emotional and cognitive growth of our children, regardless of gender.