Playing with dolls is fantastic for all children because, with them, they will learn about themselves and the world around them. Also, they stimulate play, fantasy, knowledge, care, and love.
When a child plays with dolls, he or she is acquiring a role that will help them put themselves in the place of others, thus improving empathy, teaching them to be more caring and responsible. Learning these characteristics from an early age sets the stage for the child to develop favorably.
Dolls offer children many opportunities to develop their cognitive, fine motor, and self-help skills. Children often find it easier to practice these skills on someone or something before they can apply it to themselves. They will even find it easier to express themselves through different types of dolls such as life-like baby dolls, Barbie dolls, monster high dolls, or the ugly dolls.[lwptoc]
The fine motor skills are predominantly concerned with children’s hand-eye coordination and can be challenging for some children in tasks such as eating, dressing, playing, etc. The dolls can help in these areas, for example:
Around the age of two to three, kids often begin to act as if their wrist can interact with them. They link various actions with the doll, feeding it, bathing it, or putting it to bed. This type of pretend play is an important part of his or her cognitive development.
Putting on and taking off clothes can be hard for some children, but it is much easier when they first practice on a wrist. Playing feed the dolls gives them a chance to develop their self-feeding skills. They will learn to use spoons, bottles, cups, and forks.
Children can play to give their doll a bath (simulating water if the doll cannot get wet) and with this, they will practice their sequencing skills (first fill the bathtub, put the shampoo, rinse the hair, clean the body with the gel). This play is also used to overcome the fear that many children have of bathing so that they get used to the sensory experience of water, shampoo, and gel.
Dolls offer a seamless opportunity for grooming and hygiene by acquiring skills such as brushing teeth, brushing hair, and washing hands.
Children learn a lot of language through play and playing with dolls offers them opportunities to use and practice their speaking and language skills. Some of the concepts that children can learn while playing with dolls are:
Body parts: Dolls are great for teaching different parts of the body: eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and hands.
Clothes: Playing at changing clothes for dolls will teach children the names of clothing such as t-shirts, pants, dresses, etc.
Basic concepts: play with dolls along with other accessories such as cars, blankets, and cribs. You can teach children concepts such as prepositions, colors, and size concepts.
Verbs and Feelings: Using the doll with other toys can teach verbs, feeling, etc. For example: is the baby hungry? We should feed him.
Answering questions: We can ask the little one's questions while they play with their doll, for example, where is the baby’s nose? Why does the baby cry?
Playing with dolls makes the world more understandable for children and helps them to develop confidence in their ability to solve problems and interact with their environment.
Regardless of the child’s gender, these skills are invaluable to his development. When they hold, feed, or swing a doll, children practice being loving and caring with others. Children copy parents talking on the phone, cooking, cleaning – the doll play is no different, it is the way they have to understand and begin to make their world by practicing everyday events.
Playing with dolls also helps prepare young children for the arrival of a new baby brother. Dads can teach how to touch and care for the baby, as well as, once the baby arrives, the older brother can take care of his doll with his parents.
In the market, there are a large number of accessories for dolls such as strollers, cribs, wardrobes that will allow the arrival of a little brother to be more bearable for older children. For example, with a stroller, children can walk their doll-like their parents will with the new baby. Playing with dolls at the end becomes a play of imitation. Also, with a dollhouse, children can imitate home for their beloved doll.
Today’s children stop playing with younger dolls and traditional toys. According to some studies, children abandon dolls and prefer to play with electronic items at the age of seven.
With their advantages and disadvantages, they will learn more about technology but spend a lot of time with games that do not interact, do not compete healthily, and then have difficulty communicate.
Children like to imitate the adult world they see around them, and since most of our lives are now dominated by technology, children are choosing mobiles, computers, tablet rather than toys. Today, traditional toys are on the shelves of rooms longer than in children’s hands.
There are many children who from 8 years old feel different to continue playing with dolls since the rest of their friends or schoolmates stop doing it or even the adults themselves tell them that they are older to continue playing with toys like reborn dolls.
There is no set age to stop playing with dolls. If this makes children happy, let them keep doing it, there are many benefits of playing with dolls, why do we have to cut those benefits? We live in a time when technology has sentenced children to non-participation, to lose their imagination and creativity with the disadvantages that this entails for their future.
It may seem like an easy enough task to choose a doll for your child and see their face lit up when they open the gift, but when you go to start shopping you notice that there are more doll options that you did not know, so how do you choose the right doll?
One of the most important factors is the age of the child. For a newborn child, the doll should not have small parts, long chewy hair, or too hard parts. For this age, rag dolls (or cloth) are ideal.
Over the age of three, the child will want a more versatile doll. They enjoy the activities and the fun of the game around what is familiar (lunchtime, nap, pets, visit the doctor, etc.). This game or play includes a lot of discovery.
At around 5-6 years old, children love to play who they are or who they want to be (dancers, princesses, doctors). They explore and observe their environments comfortably and excitingly. Playing with dolls and using your imagination never has to be limited.