Kids love cooing over their baby dolls almost as much as parents love those precious moments with their kids. Children often imitate the behavior of their idols and elders, so it’s no wonder that baby dolls have been a staple in children’s toys for decades. Even before the modern reiterations, kids of centuries past often carried around and showed off dolls made from whatever resources were available. Not only are baby dolls cute and fun, but they teach children valuable nurturing and caretaking skills. Using creative and imaginative play, children work through empathy and a basic understanding of what it means to be responsible for someone else as they feed, dress, walk, and tuck in their little buddies. Give them all sorts of imaginative outlets with these fun baby doll accessories. From cribs to high chairs to strollers to dress-up outfits, the options are endless. Giggle together as they “feed” their babies with the plastic food and bottle sets, or wrap them up, put them in the stroller, and take them for a walk around the backyard together. These accessories, furniture, and play sets are the perfect addition to any mini family.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Ergobaby Original Doll Carrier
- Encourages Make-Believe Play
- Melissa & Doug Time to Eat
- Cute, Kid-Safe 8 Piece Set
- Fisher-Price Everything for Baby
- Baby Care Essentials Set
Child Development in Toddlers
Kids toys can be viewed not only as fun kid things, but as tools to enhance your toddler’s development of skills and as people. In the 2 to 5 age range, kids start to notice noises and start creating their own vision of the world through their imaginative play. They build on their creativity which helps their own problem-solving skills and cognitive thinking. The kids begin to recognize that objects exist even though they are not in sight. So having doll accessories stimulates their imagination while teaching adult skills.
Toddler learning is all about building on skills learned previously. Kids are often joyful when they discover something new or finally put two and two together and suddenly understand a concept. Then they build on that concept and learn something new. So while babies and 1 and 2 year olds reach out and touch everything and put things in their mouths, the 3 and over crowd starts putting thoughts behind their learning of “what is.” Now they start learning the whys and wherefores, cause and effect, problem-solving, and emotions.
As kids grow older, they start having kids come over for play dates or maybe they have a sleepover. So, they start making new friends and forming relationships. They learn how to talk to others and learn to share their toys. Eventually, they learn to problem solve together, each inherently helping the other to reach the next conclusion.
Your child will go through some exciting times as she grows through the toddler years. She will build on her memory skills, learn to interact with others, use symbols to represent objects, and improve communications skills. And most of that is learned through her imagination and ability to make up new stories.
Of course, as a child grows, his or her body grows too, both in size and strength. When he or she is outside, your child exercises the gross muscles like in the arms and thighs. When the child is inside, playing with toys, it’s mostly those fine-motor skills that are being enhanced. That’s where the accessories for the dolls come in. As she picks up the dolls or the accessories and puts them down or turns them around, those tiny muscles get stronger.
Also, eye-hand coordination improves as she manipulates bottles, spoons and forks, and other small objects. Putting food in the doll’s mouth, washing the doll in the bathtub, buckling buckles and zipping zippers all contribute. As a child gets older, he or she can eventually use building blocks with great success. And the whole time, the child is building on those creative tendencies, too. Kids can learn a whole lot at one time. Much more than what we can teach at one time. And the doll accessories can spark the creativity kids need to build on that learning.
Toddlers learn about their emotions as well. They use play time as a way of expressing their emotions and working through the difficult ones. As they learn and grow, they learn how to control their emotions. Kids learn to push their boundaries and testing emotions out on others (parents). This is a time to make new friends and build relationships with others.
Parents can join in the play time to have fun with their kids, teach new skills, and strengthen their family bond. Teaching and laughing together helps family members to learn new things about each other. They learn to have fun together and have stories to retell so they can share memories later. Use the dolls and accessories as teaching tools to create and then retell these wonderful stories.
One of the best ways to teach kids about emotions is to instruct them about words that express feelings. Words like happy, sad, thrilled, delighted, tearful, are just examples of the many words that express feelings.
Teach them about showing compassion and caring for others by role playing and showing how to help when an old person drops her glasses or another child spills his juice. Maybe a little girl is crying and you can teach your child to ask if he can help or even just give her a pat on the shoulder. Kids can learn these things just by watching you and other people, but she’ll remember better if she can become a willing participant in these scenarios and be actively doing something.
What is so great about playing with baby dolls, accessories, playing house, and imitating parents doing “at home” chores, is that kids find joy in discovering how to do a task that adults may find mundane, like cooking, cleaning, and ironing. They discover that they can do these activities with their miniature versions of the real objects, and that gives them confidence that they will carry with them. The more adults can help kids feel confident doing a task, the better chance the child will have of becoming a successful adult.
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Baby Doll Accessories
Safety – Of course we are going to add safety concerns into the mix. This is the topmost priority for our toys. Kids need to be kept safe. We try to find toys that are made with nontoxic materials, and while this is not always possible, we do always keep it in mind. We want kids to have fun and learn, but to keep them safe is of utmost importance. We look for possible problems like sharp edges or items that might break easily and try to eliminate them from our lists.
Manufacturer reputation – We look for toy makers that have a stellar reputation for safety, quality toys, and customer service. If the rate of customer complaints is high, we don’t include the toy we were considering on our list. The higher the customer service rating, the better. If they are highly rated at the BBB, all the better.
Support child development – When we choose the toys on our list, we keep in mind that we want your kids to grow up to be the best that they can be, just like you do. The best way to accomplish this is to provide suggestions for toys that support your child in his or her growth and development. One of the most awesome ways to do this is to provide toys that support creativity. A child’s creativity comes from being imaginative and creating tales through imitation of adults. Creativity helps kids to learn problem-solving skills and helps them come up with more than one answer. This supports divergent thinking, which is a good thing.
Product ratings – When we choose toys for our lists, we go through a process of ranking them within our buyer rankings protocol. The best toys get on our lists, the worst ones do not. We choose the highest-rated toys in our category first. Those with the most reviews get ranked above the ones with the fewest. And when we read through the reviews, we find that the buyers have some very detailed comments and creative ideas on how to fix a problem or how to make a substandard toy work for them. Reading the reviews is the most fun part of creating our lists.
What Determined the Most Amazing Baby Doll Accessories on Our List
It was quite easy choosing from among the hundreds of possible items to include on the list of the best baby doll stuff. Our thinking was that dolls are like our children and our kids are like us. These dolls have to be cared for in a manner that we as parents care for our children, too. That said, we focused on the functionality of the different items in the market. There were a lot of instances when there were several products of the same type or genre of play thing. As such, we considered only those that had better customer satisfaction scores. For instance, if there were three products that are classified as feeding accessories, we only took the one with a higher consumer satisfaction rating so we can include as many possible types of products for you and your kid to choose from.
Once these have been shortlisted, we looked at the integrity of the design, specifically focusing on the safety of the materials used and the quality of the manufacturing or construction. Like we said earlier, it was imperative that these products serve a specific purpose that closely mirrors certain activities in real life. For instance, activities like changing baby diapers or even feeding little infants. These were crucial as what we would like these doll accessories to provide is the chance to practice or get introduced to real activities of daily living. This was a very important consideration that we simply cannot brush off easily.
Why You Should Encourage Your Child to Play with Dolls
In the past, young boys who were seen playing with dolls were taunted to be homosexuals. Gender stereotypes dictate that only girls can play with these types of playthings. However, as our understanding of child’s play and children’s growth and development widens, there is now a growing acceptance of the main reasons why kids should play with dolls. Science has also revealed many remarkable findings about the different benefits of doll play. And, in case you’re wondering why you should encourage your child to play with dolls, just consider the following.
- Fosters nurturing and caring skills – Scholars agree that kids who play with dolls grow up to become better-equipped at caring for other people. They are able to show empathy, caring, and nurturing behaviors that cannot be simply taught in any academic setting. Playing with dolls helps children become more compassionate and caring.
- Develops motor skills – Without a doubt, playing with dolls help young children master their psychomotor skills including fine- and gross-motor movement, balance and coordination, and even spatial awareness and kinesthetic sense integration. These are all essential skills as they grow.
- Builds cognitive abilities – Playing with dolls also helps build and enhance a variety of cognitive abilities such as simple problem-solving, memory recall and integration, and learning.
- Aids in the development of language skills – Each time your kid plays with his or her dolls, she or he eventually learns a new word or two. Your child can then integrate this into his or her vocabulary until such time that it expands well into conversational communication.
The Bottom Line
Playing with dolls is like playing with any other children’s toy. When used appropriately, these can bring a host of developmental benefits to kids. with the 10 best baby doll accessories in 2018, kids can now make full use of their respective dolls to fuel their imaginations and creativity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why can’t I just give my kids the pots and pans in my kitchen to play with?
A: Well, there is no rule that says you can’t. But you have to consider the safety of items you give to your kids. A couple of pots with a wooden spoon works fine, but metal silverware that includes forks and knives really doesn’t. And using a pot to give your little girl’s doll a bath can work, but giving her a nice pink plastic bathtub is more realistic and the pieces that come with the tub add the fun and can spark more creativity. Kids have to learn creativity. They don’t just have it, so they need you as the parent, and some realistic toys to lend a spark to their originality.
Q: How can I use all these doll toys to support my child’s emotional development?
A: Wow. That’s a huge question with lots of answers. Even in ancient times, children have had dolls of some sort to keep them comforted and to give them someone to talk to within their own little worlds. Dolls are great because they help children become clever about their role-playing behavior, and the accessories help to bring a bit of realism to their stories.
Parents can use dolls and the items that go with them to teach kids how to be empathetic towards others. A parent can show a kid how to hold the doll to comfort it and then hold their child too, emphasizing the behavior. Play act with your child about how to help someone who spilled milk, maybe is crying, or doesn’t know how to use a spoon yet. Use the doll tools to show how to do an activity like feeding or holding the spoon. Talk about feelings, use words that express feelings and teach them to your child. Praise and smile when your child does something right to increase confidence. These are just some suggestions. There are more in the resources below.
Q: What are some examples of motor skills that improve using dolls and their “stuff?”
A: Dolls are so great for motor development, and the accessories are not only the supporting cast, but can become the main tool. Manipulating bottles, silverware, soap, diapers, and such helps develop fine-motor skills. These skills are of major importance for your child’s hand-eye development, manipulating small objects, and building things.
Holding the doll, wheeling it around in a stroller or buggy, and putting the doll in a high chair support the growth of big muscles. These tools (stroller, buggy, etc.) can give some support to your child while she is learning how to balance. She can also become more agile and develop athletic skills.
Q: I have a young son. Should I let him play with dolls?
A: Yes! Boys need to learn parenting skills just like girls, and dolls help with that by giving kids a visual for reference. Boys also learn motor skills and emotional skills, the same as girls do, though perhaps a bit later. Boys need to practice fine-motor skills, and can do so by dressing the doll, using zippers and snaps, putting on a hat, pulling on pants and slippers. Just like girls, boys need to exercise their muscles so they can learn to pick up small objects and learn eye-hand coordination. They can do this by feeding the doll, changing its diaper, putting the doll in the high chair, and all of those other “take care of baby activities.”
Q: How can dolls help me teach my daughter not to be jealous of our expected new baby?
A: Congratulations on the happy coming event! Dolls can be tremendously helpful to you in preparing your daughter to become a great older sister. You can use the dolls and accessories to show her how to care for a baby, but also how to change the baby, how to appropriately touch and wash the baby, how to put her to bed and all those other baby activities. Once the baby arrives, you can keep your daughter involved in caring for her doll alongside you as you take care of the new arrival. This would help her to feel like she is part of your life and the baby’s life. That should head jealousy issues off at the pass.
Q: My daughter loves playing with her doll, but I’m afraid she will get bored. Should I buy another doll?
A: You would probably be better off buying some doll accessories based on your little girl’s interests. You could also set up some play time with other children and their dolls or an activity for several kids where they can all work around a water table and give their dolls a bath. Provide blankets and towels, soaps and lotions, and all they will need for bath time. This way your daughter will learn new relationship skills like having conversations, sharing, and taking care of others. The tribe of girls will learn nurturing skills and gain emotional expertise so they can play cooperatively together.
- Choosing the Right Toys for the Right Age, Web MD , ,
- Cognitive Development in 3-5 Year Olds, Informative Article, ,
- Back to Basics, PDF, ,
- Promoting Healthy Social-Emotional Development in Your Child, Article, ,
- Baby Doll Washing and Caring Activity, Blog Article, ,